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tpc Switzerland Builds Agile Studio Center Around IP Infrastructure From Imagine Communications

Posted by Imagine Communications

Swiss production and broadcast company tpc, part of the major Swiss public media business SRG SSR, is building a news, sport and technology center in Zurich. This all-IP center, built around the SMPTE ST 2110 family of standards, will use the Selenio™ Network Processor (SNP) from Imagine Communications to provide advanced IP-to-IP video and audio processing, as well as conversion between legacy SDI feeds and equipment and the newly built IP infrastructure.

tpc switzerland ag, the technical service provider for Swiss national broadcaster SRF/SRG, has embarked on a bold project in order to gain a higher degree of agility and multiformat compatibility — a level which can only be achieved with an all-IP and software-defined approach.

This brand new production and delivery facility, primarily used for news and sport, needs to be able to produce and finish programming in any resolution up to Ultra HD HDR, and to deliver, in multiple languages, to multiple platforms including broadcast, mobile and online services. 

Following on from tpc’s recently introduced outside broadcast truck, UHD1 — also built around Imagine’s IP technology — the Metechno project uses a substantial COTS hardware infrastructure that gives the organization all the performance characteristics and operational look and feel as a traditional SDI system, but with all the benefits of real-time IP connectivity and software flexibility.

“Our future as a business depends on us creating content in the highest possible quality and delivering it to our audiences, wherever they are and on whatever device they choose to watch,” said Andreas Lattmann, CTO of tpc. “The only way to achieve the level of flexibility we need in a practical, operationally secure and cost-effective form is to take advantage of software-defined systems connected over IP.

“Our new technical and editorial building could only be planned using a greenfield approach,” Lattmann explained. “The goal was to achieve a distributed, reliable, best-of-breed, standards-based, real-time backbone infrastructure that is format-agnostic and future-proof.” 

Lattman continued, “It was decided to go full IP on elementary streams with full SMPTE ST 2110. That meant we had to build an extensive COTS-based, real-time, enterprise-grade IP network that is scalable for future requirements. The experience gained through engineering the UHD1 truck led us to again specify solutions from Imagine.”

Imagine Communications and tpc had already collaborated on the large, new UHD1 production truck, where an all-IP architecture had been implemented. Based on this highly successful project, tpc selected Imagine’s SNP for the new center. It provides all the signal processing in the IP domain and acts as a gateway between the internal IP network and SDI sources and destinations. The result is a very flexible architecture, in which any format up to Ultra HD can be specified and exchanged at the individual signal path level and delivered as a single ST 2110 stream with clean switching (including Ultra HD).

Andreas Kotulek, director sales, Nordic, Central & Eastern Europe and Russia, at Imagine Communications, added, “We are very excited to be continuing our long association with IP pioneer tpc. What we have shown them in the UHD1 truck, and now in the architecture for the new studio center, is that our SNP is the most advanced IP processing solution in the market.

“Because it is based on open standards, it is fully interoperable with the products and control systems from many other vendors, which is critical for tpc’s Metechno Project,” Kotulek continued. “Finally, it is designed to deliver all this functionality in a form which is extremely processor efficient, ensuring we can achieve what the user needs in a very compact form factor. That saves space, power and air conditioning in the machine room: all very significant over the total lifetime cost of the system.”

The new studio and delivery center in Zurich-Leutschenbach is currently under construction and will be on air in late 2019.  

A showcase of the real-world implementation at tpc will be featured on Imagine Communications’ 2019 NAB Show booth SL1516.―BCS Bureau

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