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Broadcasting Center Europe Goes Live with SAM’s End-to-End IP Infrastructure for RTL City Facility

Snell Advanced Media (SAM) has announced that Broadcasting Center Europe (BCE) has gone live with its end-to-end IP infrastructure at RTL Group’s new Luxembourg headquarters, RTL City.

The new system supports 24x7 operations for multiple channels. Current channel lineup includes; RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg, Chamber TV (Luxembourg), RTL TVI, Club RTL, Plug TV (Belgium), RTL4, RTL5, RTL7, RTL8, RTL Z (Netherlands), RTL9 and AB Groupe movie channels (France).

BCE wanted the new infrastructure to be both future-proof and able to adapt to new workflow challenges as needed. When BCE first began to assess SDI replacement in 2014, the available IP technology wasn’t suitable for real-world deployments or mission-critical broadcast use and most solutions were proprietary. The process resumed in 2015 with six months of intensive technical testing. Key was that the IP solution provide the same quality of service and reliability achieved with SDI. BCE wanted the same level of scalability, stability, propagation delays and synchronization.

At the end of this evaluation period, SAM was selected as the main IP technology supplier, in part because of its ability to demonstrate full SMPTE ST 2022-7 redundant hitless operation, with seamless recovery from interruption to one IP link. 

The system provides a clear on-air upgrade path from ST 2022-6 and VSF TR-04 to TR-03/ST 2110 with AES67 support throughout. SAM delivered 40GbE network technology and reliable fast SDI-level performance and clean (COTS IP) switching, without needing an SDN. SAM’s media flows and control system also exhibited the best up-times, reliability and fast error recovery. SAM was able to demonstrate the system at scale, with the final solution handling x960 2022-6 video flows, x1103 AES67 (each x8 AES3) audio flows using more than 1104 ports.

The installed system provides a comprehensive and intuitive user router control interface. The interface makes transparent to the operator whether the system is in SDI, IP or hybrid operation. This applies to both traditional software and hardware router panels. The system includes multi-level routing support with VSF TR-04 for audio breakaways. Interoperability with third-party control systems make it easy for users to control the routing in the system via SAM router controllers.

The IP routing system combines SAM’s Kahuna IP production switchers, IQ-Edge IP processing systems, IP routing control systems and IP multiviewers. The result is a flexible and resilient IP architecture for the future. The initial deployment is based around VSF TR-04 using SMPTE ST 2022-6/7 & AES67 redundant IP streams with a seamless migration to VSF TR-03.

The SAM IP routing system consists of the following equipment:

  • Redundant Arista 7508R and Juniper QFX10008 COTS IP switches both with 10Gbe and 40GbE connectivity
  • IP routing control system with full redundancy, direct interface to Lawo VSM (Virtual Studio Manager) control layer
  • Monitoring system for data collection from the IP sub-system, with a direct interface to the Skyline DataMiner monitoring layer
  • Edge devices with VSF TR-04 and ST 2022-7 redundancy support
  • IQMIX cards for IP-to-SDI conversion, and IQAMD cards for IP-to-MADI conversion
  • Audio XS software audio stream processors & IQ Edge video stream processors
  • Kahuna IP production switchers and sQ IP video servers
  • MV-820 IP multiviewers
  • Interfaces to 3rd party edge devices for IP streams input and output control
  • Grass Valley LDX 86 IP studio cameras
  • Studer audio mixing consoles
  • Harmonic Spectrum X and Electra X2 IP playout servers and encoders
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