Grass Valley Technology Behind The World’s Largest SMPTE 2110 IP Network At BBC Cymru Wales

BBC Cymru Wales is broadcasting live from its state-of-the-art Central Square facility in Cardiff, leveraging Grass Valley’s end-to-end, open standards-based IP infrastructure and workflows.

The broadcaster’s new purpose-built national headquarters, which replaces the old Llandaff complex – home to the broadcaster for over 50 years – is the first BBC facility built completely around IP technology, and the world’s largest SMPTE 2110 IP routing system for broadcast.  

Featuring one of the largest newsrooms outside London, the new 150,000 square foot site – in which BBC Wales is co-locating with Welsh-language broadcaster S4C – will support content production in English and Welsh and playout across all platforms, from linear to mobile and social media.  The facility is going live in stages, starting with a Grass Valley playout platform.

Roger Crothers, Head of Technology at BBC Cymru Wales commented: “The world of broadcasting and media are changing at an unprecedented rate; our audience wants more content than ever before across an increasingly diverse range of devices. We need a facility that can remain up-to-date for many years to come, allowing us to easily adapt to new formats and services. IP is the only logical choice; it is format agnostic and meets our need for scalability and agility.”

Selected after a rigorous testing and evaluation process, Grass Valley’s IP orchestration and routing system, lies at the heart of a network capable of carrying around 6Tbps of live media traffic around the building. Grass Valley systems are also central to the broadcaster’s new playout operation, supporting BBC1 Wales, BBC2 Wales and S4C. IP enabled Sirius routers have been installed alongside a fully redundant Morpheus and ICE Panoplay system, with Morpheus deployed as a completely virtualised system.

BBC Wales has adopted a Spine and Leaf topology built around a Cisco network, relying on Grass Valley routing and control, Kahuna production switchers and IQUCP25 SDI to IP gateway cards. Grass Valley’s iControl supports system monitoring with signal processing handled by the  Densité 3+ FR4 Frame solution.

The Grass Valley team worked closely with BBC Wales and systems integrator dB Broadcast throughout the project.

“Broadcasters of all sizes are facing a spike in demand for rich, captivating viewing experiences across all screens. Audiences also want to engage with new forms of content services that are more personalized and interactive. IP paves the way to these new business models, delivering the scale and agility needed to efficiently create greater volumes of first-class content and allowing content creators to work in new and innovative ways,” added Tim Banks, Grass Valley’s vice president of sales, EMEA.  “This project with BBC Wales demonstrates Grass Valley’s commitment to working in close cooperation with customers to ensure they get the best solution for their current and future business and operational needs. We’re extremely proud that our solutions lie at the heart of this flagship facility and are helping BBC Wales create a blueprint for the future of broadcasting in the UK.”

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