Delivering a European first as part of TV 2 efficiency drive

Mediability has delivered an important part of Norwegian TV 2’s efficiency drive Greenfield Playout Program (GPO) with the opening in Bergen of Europe’s first IP-based playout centre.

The Playout centre is the control room from where all of TV 2’s programming is played out. So far this has been done through so-called SDI signals (Serial Digital Interface), which has been the standard for TV production since the early 1990s.

“With IP we are moving to a completely new system which is purely based on internet protocol, or IP, which means all sound and video is sent over the Internet,” says Senior Project Leader at Mediability, Terje Togstad.

The solution is based on the ASPEN standard, but will also support any future protocols.

A European first

This is the first time in Europe that a broadcaster switches to a purely IP-based playout centre.

The system delivered by Mediability represents an important piece in TV 2’s efficiency drive Greenfield Playout Program (GPO), which is considered to be one of the most comprehensive reorganisations in the broadcaster’s history.

Chose Mediability

In 2014 TV 2 chose Mediability over larger, international competitors when they were launching a major modernisation project of their TV production.

The agreement includes ordinary TV production for TV 2’s 10 TV channels as well as on-demand content on TV 2 Sumo.

“This is the greatest technology project in TV 2’s history,” TV 2’s Chief Technology Officer Håvard Myklebust told Kampanje about GPO.

Many advantages

The new IP-based playout system has many advantages compared to systems which have been used previously.

“It has of course been possible to transmit both audio and video as IP packages for some time”, explains Terje Togstad.

“But while you used to go via other signals before coding these into IP signals, this project uses IP signals throughout the production chain.”

This means you can transfer large amounts of signals using partly conventional network equipment in combination with specialised network equipment with a very high yield.

No more decoding and converting

ASPEN also allows you to treat the signals as a traditional SDI signal, while being in the IP domain.

This means you can change soundtracks or embed other sound in video without having to use conventional SDI equipment.

“This means no more decoding and converting, and TV 2 end up with a more efficient distribution and signal flow,” says Terje Togstad.

This also means you need less specialised and costly broadcasting equipment, because you can use ordinary computer equipment for more tasks.

Cabling becomes cheaper and installations far simpler.

Hope for agreement on new standard

Although different standards for IP transmission of video and audio have existed for some time, the technology has seen limited use in professional video production because no agreement has been reached on one single standard.

Now many in the trade hope major producers of TV production equipment can agree on a standard.

You can find a list over producers of equipment supporting the ASPEN standard here: http://aspen-community.com/.

Other initiative, like AIMS, are also supported by many producers: http://aimsalliance.org/. Several of the providers are to be found on both lists.