Journey to the New World – Part 2
In the second of two articles, Tom Swan, Sales and Marketing Director at leading systems integrator dB Broadcast considers the challenges of the transition to a digital, data-driven world and reflects on how ready the industry is to embrace it.
For the full article see the attached.
In times of change, organisations need to embrace the new technologies and view them as an opportunity. Given the lack of standards, it will be large vendors who are able to provide a complete IP production ecosystem and drive IP production.
We can reasonably expect to see a range of hybrid products emerging by NAB 2015. In reality, multi-vendor, standards based IP production solutions may be some five years away.
dB Broadcast strongly believes that to be a successful SI in the broadcast industry it is essential to understand the operational and commercial needs of clients, and that can only be achieved through partnerships and working closely with broadcasters and equipment manufacturers.
Journey to the New World – Part 1
In the first of two articles, Tom Swan, Sales and Marketing Director of leading systems integrator dB Broadcast considers the challenges of the transition to a digital, data-driven world and reflects on how ready the industry is to embrace it.
dB Broadcast identified changes afoot in the broadcast market place several years ago, and formulated a five year strategic plan to focus on the new technologies now emerging.
The Challenges Ahead
Within their long-term strategic plan in place, dB have identified many emerging trends in the industry. These include: less bespoke traditional wiring; utilising the building wide IT/Data infrastructure (structured cabling); more configuration-type skillsets to provide operational staff with an easy to understand dashboard/user interface; more management of software touch points such as development of APIs and testing - all the way through to user acceptance testing and into real operational use.
The challenges associated with moving from specialised, dedicated hardware platforms to software based, (potentially) virtualised applications running on IP-connected infrastructure are substantial.
The need for change is driven by the need for cost savings and to deliver infrastructure that doesn’t have to be rebuilt as business needs change. IT infrastructure is relatively inexpensive, and benefits from the economies of scale of the larger market.
Today, whilst underlying IT technology may have reached sufficient maturity to support IP production, dB Broadcast believes that the broadcast industry has some way to go to develop the products, standards and skills necessary to realise this vision fully.
The full Part 1 article is in the attached file and in the second part of this article, dB Broadcast looks at specific issues in video and audio standards in the transition to the IP world.
Cardinal iMDU Selected for DAB Roll Out
dB Broadcast, the leading systems integrator, is supplying its Cardinal intelligent Mains Distribution Unit (iMDU) for the UK roll out of DAB transmitter systems, now under way and managed by Arqiva. Adoption of the Cardinal iMDU as standard equipment was made by Arqiva after a detailed design and evaluation exercise.
The Cardinal iMDU was selected for its ability to change over between mains supply and uninterruptable (UPS) supplies in the event of a power outage at remote unmanned sites. An additional valuable benefit is the ability to switch off non-essential devices selectively after a user configurable delay in the event of a mains supply failure. This feature enables essential equipment to be powered for longer by prolonging the UPS battery life.
The DAB roll out is already in progress, having started early in 2014 and planned to run for another year. DAB transmitter sites are widely distributed in sometimes inhospitable locations, making autonomous operation essential.
Other unique features of the Cardinal iMDU that were utilised as part of Arqiva’s system design include use of the iMDU as a GPI-to-Ethernet interface for telemetry, and its external temperature and humidity sensing for environmental monitoring of the DAB transmitter equipment rack.
Tom Swan, Sales & Marketing Director of dB Broadcast said: “We introduced the Cardinal iMDU in 2010 for just such high reliability applications as the DAB rollout. Its robust design is unique, and features include handling inrush currents of up to 200A at switch on combined with sophisticated features such as web user interface, full SNMP control and alarming plus e-mail alert messaging.”
dB’s Cardinal iMDU provides a comprehensive solution for remote control and management of power distribution to a wide range of broadcast equipment.
New HD Studio Facility Benefits Journalism Students
Students at City University London will now have access to the latest HD TV studio production technology, thanks to a major upgrade designed and implemented by leading broadcast systems integrator dB Broadcast. dB worked fast to upgrade the University’s studio and location camera facilities from SD to an HD virtual studio in time for the start of the new academic year in September.
The system is based around the NewTek TriCaster 8000 vision mixer, Chyron IP graphics and 3play 425 server; the students will be using JVC GY-HM650 ENG cameras.
“This HD TV Studio upgrade will give our Journalism students a ‘virtual TV studio experience’ and so a competitive edge in their broadcasting careers”, said Tony Phillips, TV Studio Manager at City University London. “They will be operating the latest TV studio production technology and ENG live location cameras that are now in current use at broadcasters such as BBC News, ITV News, Channel 4, Sky News, London Live etc. where our students will go to work.”
Says Tom Swan, Sales & Marketing Director of dB Broadcast: “We are delighted to have brought this important upgrade in on time for the latest generation of Journalism students to benefit. The studio project has been implemented as part of a resilient system to support the University for the next five years, providing a stable and reliable platform for users.”
After completion of the studio project, dB Broadcast will continue to work with City University, providing warranty support and other support services to ensure the facility can meet its demanding timetable and heavy use.
City University is located in the heart of London, where over the past 100 years it has developed into an innovative, forward-looking centre of excellence, with a well-deserved reputation in professional and business education and research.
Management Buyout Announced
dB Broadcast has announced a management buy-out at the company. This sees a new company structure put in place with twelve staff members becoming shareholders. The new shareholders own 75% of the business, with David Bird, the Founder, holding the remainder. No outside debt has been introduced into the group in this arrangement.
The new management-led ownership structure will contribute significantly to the long term stability and continued success of the business through the commitment of its employees. David Bird will remain as Managing Director, driving the business and supported by his experienced management team.
The new shareholders are employed in all parts of the company, though naturally, as a systems integrator, many of the shareholders are highly trained engineers. There are no changes to the Board or to the management structure.
David Bird, Managing Director of dB Broadcast, said: “I am very fortunate to have such an exceptional team. I believe that this move will ensure the long term stability and continued success of the business." Our clients can know that the people they interact with are now shareholders with a personal interest in delivering the highest quality services and products and ensuring customer satisfaction.”
dB Single Camera Interview Positions
BBC News viewers can now enjoy higher quality live interviews from around the country thanks to a new system of ‘single camera’ interview facilities supplied by dB Broadcast. Designed for one-person operation, the new facilities allow interviews to be carried out rapidly and without the need for full camera crews or studios to be on standby.
Seven systems have recently been supplied for the south of England: in Oxford, Bristol, Southampton, Nottingham, Norwich, Tunbridge Wells and Plymouth. Typically the single camera positions are used when local dignitaries are interviewed, and this can happen several times a week at each location, depending on the news stories being covered.
Despite being simple to operate by non-technical reporters, the new systems do not compromise on quality or facilities: HD and SD are supported along with remote pan and tilt, blue and green switchable chroma key light ring and a low energy lighting system. The system is completely under BNCS control.
“Having these single-operator studio camera facilities on hand and ready to go at short notice gives the broadcaster a fast and economical way to create quality news reports and interviews”, said Tom Swan, Sales and Marketing Director at dB Broadcast. “These seven camera Newsroom systems follow similar facilities supplied to the BBC for use in London at New Broadcasting House and Westminster.
New State-of-the-Art Broadcast Facility for British Forces Broadcasting
Cambridgeshire, UK – dB Broadcast, the leading broadcast systems integrator, has been selected for the design, installation and delivery of a state-of-the-art production and transmission facility for the Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC), suppliers of the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) to the UK’s armed forces. The new facility will be equipped with highly flexible and workflow efficient solutions capable of handling current and foreseeable future TV broadcast requirements.
The new facility, encompassing both equipment rooms and operational areas, will be housed close to the current production centre at Chalfont, and will require a controlled build and migration process from the current on-air facility and production processes.
dB Broadcast won the project as they could demonstrate considerable experience in Workflow, MAM and Scheduling and Traffic systems, with a firm focus on the use of such systems to provide highly automated workflows. This eliminates repetitive tasks, minimises manual processing of media and optimises both equipment deployment and operator duties. dB Broadcast has long experience and ability in both broadcast engineering and proven product design.
The solution is a complete turnkey system, spanning both traditional broadcast technologies and network infrastructure. In highlight, dB Broadcast selected an ingest solution from Arbor Media; Traffic system from Provys; a MAM system from IPV to manage the workflows and media; Playout from Snell; a broadcast infrastructure based on industry standard products from Snell, Axon and Imagine Communications (previously Harris), new network infrastructure based on CISCO hardware with NetApp storage, and a Control and Monitoring system utilising a combination of Axon Cerebrum and Nagios XI.
dB Selects Snell ICE & Morpheus Solution
dB is continuing its long and successful working relationship with Snell for a new multi-channel TV playout platform solution being built in the UK. dB Broadcast was selected by the client to manage the project after a competitive tender process.
dB’s turnkey proposal included Snell Morpheus automation and ICE/ICE LE devices for the linear ingest operation and playout servers, incorporating on-air graphics and presentation mixing. dB’s selection of the Snell architecture was based on success in deploying similar solutions in several previous projects for UK-based playout providers. Snell’s system will work in conjunction with a 3rd party enterprise DAM solution for media and workflow management, also selected by dB.
The solution proposed by dB also includes external Network Attached Storage and a complete new Broadcast Network infrastructure, in addition to conventional baseband routing (Snell) and interfacing equipment (Axon).
Snell Morpheus automation is a proven, scalable, multi-channel solution enabling playout of up to 100+ channels. The Morpheus acquisition application supports VTR device and server port control for content acquisition and review. The highly reliable Snell ICE channel in a box solution supports both SD and HD playout including up and down scaling within the ICE device. ICE also features optional advanced 2D and 3D graphics functionality that integrates into the same ICE box and can be added as an upgrade if customer requirements change.
“We are delighted to be undertaking another Playout project in the UK and working in partnership with one of the industry’s leading vendors”, says Tom Swan, Sales and Marketing Director at dB Broadcast. “We have an excellent relationship with Snell as well as with other major playout providers including Grass Valley, Harmonic, Pebble Beach, Playbox and Imagine Communications (previously Harris Broadcast)."
DVB-T2 Monitoring Among New Products to be Shown at IBC
dB Broadcast is showing its latest innovative products and solutions at IBC2014, including the latest in the Hawkeye monitoring receiver range. Designed for DVB-T2 monitoring, the IQDBT105 is capable of continuous off-air demodulation and monitoring of both DVB-T2 and DVB-T signals, providing a future-proof solution for those looking ahead to the possibility of DVB-T2 networks. The IQDBT105 is designed in a modular package and eight modules can be fitted in a 3RU rack space.
dB is also launching the Hawkeye IQASI25 low cost ASI switched distribution amplifier module for continuously monitoring two MPEG-2 DVB ASI Transport streams (TS) and automatically switching to the five outputs. The two inputs are typically main and reserve. The module monitors various critical levels within the transport stream and the user defines which of these will effect switching and the alarms. These include the monitoring of catastrophic failures such as loss of carrier, no TS, loss of synchronisation and PAT loss. 16 modules can be fitted in a 3RU frame.
Both of these new Hawkeye products have the added advantage of integration with Snell IQ Modular frames and the RollCall Monitoring and Control system.
dB Broadcast is also launching an upgraded version of their industry leading intelligent mains distribution unit. The latest Cardinal iMDU is now capable of handling inrush currents of up to 200A at switch on, and 60A per individually switched output.
The MERlin monitoring receiver, also designed for the demands of DVB-T2 and deployed throughout the UK transmission network, will be at IBC2014 and its new features will be demonstrated.
"We look forward to meeting up with current and future clients at the show and to discussing how we can help with their broadcasting challenges", says Tom Swan, Sales and Marketing Director.
New Hawkeye Module
dB Broadcast has launched a new ASI module in the popular Hawkeye range. The IQASI25 is a cost effective ASI-switched Distribution Amplifier that continuously monitors two MPEG-2 DVB ASI Transport streams (TS) and routes the preferred input to the 5 identical outputs.
The IQASI25 module monitors various critical parameters within the transport stream and their status will effect switching and alarms. These parameters include loss of carrier signal, TS Sync and PAT.
The internal switch enables the module to automatically route the appropriate input stream to the 5 outputs on the basis of the detected results. Automatic operation is configurable by the user and the switch may also be externally controlled via the RollCall Control and Monitoring system or external GPI's.
The IQASI25 is compliant to the ETSI TR 101 290 specification for Digital Video Broadcasting. It also supports ATSC transport streams and Packet, Byte & Burst modes.
The module is fully integrated into the Snell IQ Modular range and the RollCall system. The status of the two input streams and of the switch is indicated in RollCall.
“The new Hawkeye module is another example of how products work best when they are based on users’ specific challenges”, said Tom Swan, Sales and Marketing Director at dB Broadcast. “The IQASI25 incorporates advanced features with very high reliability built in. We shall be demonstrating the module at IBC2014 in September.”
New Mains Distribution Product from dB
dB Broadcast have launched an upgraded version of their industry leading intelligent mains distribution unit. The latest Cardinal iMDU is now capable of handling inrush currents of up to 200A at switch on and 60A per individually switched output. Both dual input and single input versions of the Cardinal iMDU now benefit from this improved design.
Modern high efficiency switch mode PSU's can exhibit very high inrush currents even though their steady state load may be just a few amps.
dB Broadcast recognised that equipment manufacturers are increasingly making use of switch mode power supplies and that customers need inrush current protection in their equipment rack mains distribution design. dB Broadcast have responded by incorporating an inrush limiting circuit that restricts the current at switch on to 40A and by fitting high inrush rated relays for the 12 individually switched mains outputs.
In addition to the new inrush current capabilities, the Cardinal iMDU provides intelligence for mains distribution with features such as an intuitive web based user interface to remotely configure and control outputs, SNMP traps and e-mail messaging that can send alerts when faults occur, including loss of supply power and blown fuses. The units have an error log to record events, GPIO handling and an optional external temperature and humidity sensor to monitor environmental conditions in the equipment rack.
dB’s Cardinal iMDU provides a comprehensive solution for remote control and management of power distribution to a wide range of broadcast equipment.
“The upgraded specification of the Cardinal iMDU range means it can now cope with a greater range of modern broadcast equipment. It is a great choice for system managers wanting to make sure their installations are ready for the demands made by current and future equipment”, says Tom Swan, Sales and Marketing Director at dB Broadcast.
dB Broadcast Shows New DVB-T2 Products
dB Broadcast is showing its latest innovative products and solutions at BroadcastAsia again this year. Best known as one of the UK’s leading systems integrators, dB also designs and manufactures a range of broadcast technology products for signal acquisition and monitoring, and supplies to customers globally.
This year, dB will be demonstrating on its stand the latest in the Hawkeye monitoring receiver range. Designed for DVB-T2 monitoring, the IQDBT105 is capable of continuous off-air demodulation and monitoring of both DVB-T2 and DVB-T signals. The IQDBT105 is designed in a modular package and eight modules can be fitted in a 3RU rack space.
This new product has the added advantage of integration with Snell IQ Modular frames and the RollCall Monitoring and Control system. Hawkeye IQDBT105 can be deployed in DVB-T networks, and so provides a future-proof solution for those looking ahead to the possibility of DVB-T2 networks.
The MERlin monitoring receiver, also designed for the demands of DVB-T2 and deployed throughout the UK transmission network, will be on show. This self-contained monitoring receiver is designed for high reliability applications - for use at remote transmitter sites for example. It occupies only 1RU space and monitors input RF modulation parameters and signal performance metrics including Modulation Error Ratio (MER) and Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) status.
The latest DVB-T2 signal acquisition and monitoring solutions can be seen on display at BroadcastAsia2014 at the dB Broadcast stand 5E1-02.
“We look forward to meeting up with current and future clients at the show and to discussing how we can help with their broadcasting challenges, through dB Broadcast’s extensive system integration experience and capabilities”, says Mark Barnes, Technical Specialist of dB Broadcast.
dB Broadcast tackles huge projects and delivers on time
dB Broadcast can lay claim to some of the largest broadcast projects undertaken in broadcasting in recent years. Nothing comes bigger than the UK digital switchover programme (DSO) completed in 2012, affecting everyone who watches TV. As one of the country’s leading system integrators, dB along with Arqiva, played a central role in delivering this critical upgrade on-time and on-budget.
Planned to a fixed timetable, the contract involved installation of over 550 equipment bays at 90 key sites across the UK, connected by 500km of cable. These bays included routers, MPEG-2 analysers, SI managers, network and distribution equipment and more than 500 Hawkeye frames with over 2,000 switching and monitoring modules. Prefabrication of the systems ensured onsite costs were controlled, and the flexibility of dB’s designs allowed different system architectures to be built within common frameworks.
As if that was not enough, dB found itself managing another two flagship projects at the same time. One - with Sky Studios – was to install, test and commission studios and the core technical facilities covering the central technical areas and master control room within the new Sky Studio building at Osterley in the UK. As one of the UK’s largest systems integrators, dB proved it had the resources and facilities to take on multiple large projects.
Another huge programme was the ‘reinvention’ of BBC Broadcasting House for the 21st century in the new facility at West One. This involved building 13 studios simultaneously - at the height of the installation phase there were 20 dB Broadcast engineers and 40 wiremen onsite. The programme ran over 11 floors and 80 different rooms/areas, and so logistics were extremely complex. dB deployed ‘just in time’ deliveries so that London’s West End didn’t get jammed up! One BBC Project Director summed up his feelings about ‘the mammoth task’ in seven words: “On-Schedule, On-Budget and On-Air”!
Armed Forces enjoy High Definition Broadcasts
– dB Broadcast, the leading broadcast systems integrator, has completed the design and commissioning of a new HD TV studio for SSVC (Services Sound and Vision Corporation), on behalf of the UK’s Ministry of Defence.
The new virtual studio included three robotic cameras and a production gallery to deliver programmes to the British Forces Broadcasting Service across 17 countries from the Falklands to Afghanistan and onto HM ships across the globe. The project also required upgrades to the newsroom including a new HD camera system.
The project was won via competitive tender, and dB Broadcast was responsible for designing, detailing, testing and commissioning the facility as well as equipment installation and cabling. They worked closely with SSVC to identify and jointly source the best equipment for inclusion, including an IDS signage system, distribution and conversion equipment from Crystal Vision, router technology from Harris and a Trilogy intercom solution.
“The project had to be carefully managed from the start”, explained Tom Swan, dB’s Sales and Marketing Director. “It was critically important not to interrupt broadcast services, and the entire job needed to be completed within four months from initiation.
“Deploying our own permanent staff of engineers and wiremen gave us a tremendous advantage as the project meant working outside normal hours to minimise disruption, and to also ensure that we provided the best technical solution and finished the project within the timeframe available. We’re proud to have delivered on SSVC’s expectations, enabling their enhanced service to be broadcast to our British Forces personnel around the world.”
dB makes first appearance at ABU Digital Broadcasting Symposium
Cambridgeshire, UK – Leading broadcast systems integrator and products supplier dB Broadcast will be exhibiting for the first time at the ABU Digital Broadcasting Symposium in Kuala Lumpur next month. Although based in the UK, dB Broadcast has many customers around the world, and looks forward to demonstrating the latest equipment and services to its existing and new potential broadcast clients.
The company will be demonstrating a range of new products including DVB-T2 broadcast monitoring solutions, for example, the acclaimed MERlin self-contained receiver for continuous off-air demodulation and monitoring of DVB-T2/T signals.
dB Broadcast has recently completed a number of major projects, including the UK DSO digital switchover programme and have supplied the MERlin DVB-T2 monitoring solution both for relay site RF monitoring and for cost effective RF monitoring at main transmitter sites.
“Along with our regional specialist reseller, Light Way Electronics, we are interested to meet broadcasters and other companies needing standard or custom approaches to technical problems”, said Mark Barnes, Technical Specialist at dB Broadcast. “Our team in the UK loves a challenge, and we keep them busy producing cutting edge technical solutions.”
dB among the UK’s most exciting & inspirational companies
dB Broadcast has been included in a new league table of Britain’s most exciting small and medium sized companies. The listing, commissioned by The London Stock Exchange, names the 1000 most inspiring companies in Britain. This is the first such list and includes household names such as: Aardman Animations, Jack Wills, Addison Lee, Cath Kidston, Naked Wines and Moonpig.
More than 100 industry sectors were represented, including banking, retail, construction and wine. Businesses included in the ‘1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ list were at least three years old and based in the UK - with a turnover of between £6million and £250million over the last 12 months. They also had to show that over the last four years they had shown growth in revenue, number of employees, size of the workspace or new contracts.
The report aimed to highlight the sectors such as manufacturing that will shape the future of the UK economy. Three quarters of the businesses named were outside the London area.
dB Broadcast Creates Innovative New Signing Studios
dB Broadcast has completed the commissioning of two new automated signing studios for a leading broadcast media-management service company. The facility provides in-vision sign language captioning for hearing impaired viewers for both live and pre-recorded programmes. The signers, who communicate using a combination of mouth, hand and finger movements, have become familiar figures to their audiences.
The two one-camera studios with blue, green and black Chroma key screens each allow a single non-technical deaf signer to prepare their studio for operation without local assistance. This requirement was essential because the two studio floors were located in one building, with the control rooms and technical staff situated five miles away. This innovative approach provides greater flexibility, lower operational costs and enhanced operational efficiency
The new studios are joined to the control rooms with remote control connectivity and video feeds, and the signer can access monitoring and on-air tally information in live or recorded mode through the supplied reverse picture feeds.
All technical aspects of the studio had to be remotely controlled by the technical operators from two new control areas, but for efficient running the design had to allow for single person operation across both studios.
The studios were fitted with Arri L7-T low energy LED lighting, Sony PMW-EX3 camera, Autoscript prompter and Telemetrics robotics pedestals, and the control rooms were equipped with a Sony MVS-7000X mixer and Miranda Kaleido multiviewer.
“We are delighted to have been able to provide this state-of-the-art facility”, said Tom Swan, Sales & Marketing Director at dB. “Our independent status and extensive experience meant we could deploy the best equipment for this SD and HD facility and get it up and running reliably in the shortest time.”
Cardinals Now Even More Intelligent
dB Broadcast has added new functionality to its Cardinal range of intelligent mains distribution units (iMDUs). An external humidity and temperature sensor is now available to monitor relative humidity between 5 and 95% and temperature from -20 to +80 degrees Celsius, providing environmental monitoring for peace of mind within complex system installations, especially in unmanned remote and harsh locations.
Cardinal iMDUs are preferred for their ability to provide up to 12 separately controlled outputs, SNMP interface, e-mail alerts and fail-safe operation. The web user interface and SNMP interface provide sophisticated remote control and configuration, and can be interfaced with clients’ own systems.
Both single and dual input versions are available. The dual input version enables automatic switching to back up supply on failure of the main power source.
While designed primarily for high performance broadcast engineering applications, the Cardinal iMDU range is also suited for general data centre operations, providing highly reliable performance in an efficient package. The product is tested against the most stringent European EMC immunity requirements (EN55103, category E5: "Heavy industrial environment and environments close to broadcast transmitters"), enabling remote control of mains distribution at locations such as broadcast transmitter sites.
“Humidity and temperature sensing has been introduced following customer feedback on the popular Cardinal range”, says Tom Swan, Sales and Marketing Director at dB Broadcast. “A software upgrade also allows our existing customers access to full humidity and temperature monitoring.
dB Broadcast makes Sunday Times Top 100
The prestigious Sunday Times Tech Track 100 listing is announced annually, and dB Broadcast has made this year’s list, making it officially one of the 100 top-performing technology companies in the country.
The Tech Track index ranks Britain’s fastest-growing private technology companies by sales, and dB was noted for its 42% sales growth over three years. Only two other companies in the East of England achieved a place on the list.
“This is tremendous recognition of all the hard work our team has put in over the last few years, designing and building some of the world’s most advanced broadcasting equipment and achieving high levels of customer satisfaction in one of the toughest industries”, said a delighted Dave Bird, Managing Director of dB Broadcast.
The Sunday Times accolade comes straight after dB Broadcast was recognised as one of Cambridgeshire’s Top 100 businesses in a listing compiled by accountants Grant Thornton in their ‘Cambridgeshire Ltd’ report.
dB Broadcast Appoints Finance Director
dB Broadcast, the leading broadcast systems integrator, has strengthened its top team with the appointment of Ross Amory to its Board as Finance Director with immediate effect.
Amory, aged thirty, joined the company two years ago, and is a qualified Chartered Accountant. Prior to joining dB Broadcast, he was responsible for financial reporting at office products company Spicers, part of FTSE 250 group DS Smith.
Prior to that, he gained experience of leading the finance team at CLS Diagnostics, and was also at Anson Packaging, before becoming a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in 2007.
Ross Amory joins Board colleagues Dave Bird (Founder and Managing Director), Tom Swan (Sales & Marketing Director) and Graham Pearl (Engineering Director).
“We are delighted to welcome Ross to our top team and we look forward to him becoming further involved in the decision making process”, says Dave Bird. “He was recruited as Financial Controller with the well-founded expectation that he would make a rapid contribution as we continue to grow to record levels of business. This promotion recognises Ross’s achievements to date.”
dB Broadcast was recently recognised as one of Cambridgeshire’s Top 100 businesses in a listing compiled by accountants Grant Thornton. The ‘Cambridgeshire Ltd’ Report is produced by analysing the financial performance of Cambridgeshire’s 100 largest companies based on information held at Companies House.
“The award is based on our strong financial performance over the last two years,” says Ross Amory. “We know the business landscape and how strong the competition is, and so were extremely pleased to be acknowledged and to join such a prestigious group.”
dB launches new Hawkeye DVB-T2 monitoring receiver
dB Broadcast, the Cambridge-based independent system integrator and product manufacturer, has introduced a new DVB-T2 broadcast monitoring receiver to its Hawkeye range. Called the IQDBT105, the modular product will be shown for the first time at IBC2013 in September.
A development from the successful MERlin and Hawkeye B105 receiver modules, the IQDBT105 is compatible with the Snell IQ range of enclosures and with the Snell RollCall control and monitoring system. The modular format allows high packing densities with up to 8 receiver modules in a 3RU frame.
Complex DVB-T2 transmissions require precise and reliable monitoring to ensure that network operators have the data required to maintain a high quality end user experience.
Features of the IQDBT105 unit include an SNMP interface that allows integration with Network Management Systems for monitoring and control - ideal for use at unmanned transmitter sites. The module monitors key RF signal performance parameters such as Modulation Error Ratio (MER) to give early indication of signal degradation, and Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) to determine the status of error correction.
Programmable user templates can be used to compare RF modulation parameters with the ideal signal. Transport stream ASI parameters are monitored including PAT conformance and PID presence against a user defined list of expected PIDs.
Tom Swan, Sales and Marketing Director at dB Broadcast says: “This is a natural development for our range as we take our leading monitoring and acquisition module and make it compatible with the popular Snell IQ Modular range. We look forward to demonstrating it to our current and new customers at IBC Stand 10.A28 and at the Snell stand 8.B70.”
Enhanced software release for MERlin DVB-T2 monitoring
Cambridgeshire, UK – Leading broadcast systems integrator dB Broadcast will unveil an enhanced software release for its MERlin DVB-T2 monitoring receivers at IBC2013. The new release offers enhanced Modulation Error Ratio (MER) measurement in Single Frequency (SFN) Networks and adds support for Mode B (Multi-PLP) broadcasts.
MERlin self-contained receivers provide high performance monitoring of RF modulation parameters including MER and Low Density Parity Check (LDPC), and the latest upgrade allows consistent, stable measurements even in difficult conditions where echoes are present or where signals are received from other transmitters operating at the same frequency. The enhanced MER measurement is field-proven to offer improved monitoring capability in difficult multipath sites.
This release also enables PLP selection in M-PLP broadcast systems. Mode B support enables a PLP to be selected from within a M-PLP broadcast for payload monitoring, demodulation and output of the associated transport stream.
The new release is available immediately and is shipping as standard with all new MERlin units, and as a software upgrade for installed equipment.
“This software upgrade further extends the performance and versatility of our MERlin DVB-T2 receiver”, said Tom Swan, Sales & Marketing Director at dB. “At IBC2013 Stand 10.A28 we’ll be showing the latest MERlin product with a demonstration of this new release”.
dB Broadcast to show extended Hawkeye range at IBC2013
Leading broadcast systems integrator dB Broadcast will be demonstrating an expanded range of broadcast monitoring receivers at IBC2013 this year. The range includes the newly-launched IQDBT105 monitoring and acquisition module and the ASI transport stream monitor/switch module IQASI82, both of which are compatible with the Snell IQ Modular enclosure range and Snell RollCall control software.
The IQDBT105 features a web-based SNMP interface for monitoring and control which is ideal for use at unmanned transmitter sites such as rebroadcast and gap-filler sites, and provide monitoring of parameters including MER (Modulation Error Ratio) and LDPC (Low Density Parity Check) error correction status.
The IQASI82 modules are capable of continuous monitoring and switching of two separate or related ASI Transport Streams, with each stream being monitored independently. Switching is described as ‘near-seamless’.
Both units can be mixed with Snell modules and packed in high density configuration - up to 8 modules in a 3RU frame, saving both space and cost.
Also on show will be an enhanced software release for the very popular MERlin DVB-T2 self-contained monitoring receiver. This release offers enhanced MER measurement for SFN (Single Frequency Networks) and at reception sites with difficult multipath signals. MERlin also adds support for Mode B (Multi-PLP) broadcasts.
“We are very excited about the new integrated range of products”, said Tom Swan, Sales and Marketing Director at dB Broadcast. “We believe they make a highly compelling approach to broadcast signal monitoring, and look forward to demonstrating the range to visitors at IBC on our stand 10.A28, and the Snell stand 8.B70.”
dB Broadcast Reveals Latest Major Projects at BroadcastAsia2013
dB Broadcast will be at BroadcastAsia2013 in Singapore highlighting some of the major projects they have recently completed.
The company has been responsible for delivering three of the most significant broadcast projects to take place in Britain over the past few years, for clients including the BBC, Sky Studios and Arqiva.
The BBC’s Broadcasting House development involved re-locating much of the Corporation’s news facilities. This highly complex and mission critical contract covered the design, procurement, installation and commissioning of all equipment for video production located within the studios, galleries, edit suites, graphic areas, newsroom and local apparatus rooms.
In another flagship project with Sky Studios, dB Broadcast was appointed to install, test and commission the core technical facilities covering the central technical areas and master control room within the new Sky Studio building at Osterley in the UK.
dB Broadcast has also completed a four year contract from Arqiva to supply and install Programme Input Equipment (PIE) as well as installing all cross-site cabling at 90 UK transmitter sites as part of digital switchover (DSO). The company was also selected to help with the Channel Clearance project to use the spectrum freed up by analogue switch-off by moving channels out of the 800MHz spectrum allocated for 4G services.
The dB Broadcast management team will be on hand at Stand 5E1-01 throughout BroadcastAsia2013 to demonstrate dB products and discuss any system or product requirements.
dB Introduces New High Performance Hawkeye Modules
Leading UK-based systems integrator, dB Broadcast will use BroadcastAsia2013 to introduce several new products to the Asia Pacific market, including an ASI monitoring and switching module, and the new DVB-T2 monitoring receiver module.
The new IQASI82 module is an ASI TS Monitor with a 2x2 near-seamless switch that provides independent TS monitoring of two input streams and automatic switch operation that is configurable by the user. The module is used to ensure broadcast continuity in the event of input stream errors.
The IQASI82 retains all the features of the well-established Hawkeye B082S module, with the added advantage of integration with Snell IQ Modular frames and the RollCall Monitoring and Control system. The module can also be remotely monitored and controlled via the Snell SNMP interface. First customer shipments of the IQASI82 module have already commenced.
The new DVB-T2 monitoring receiver module is called the IQDBT04 and is based on the successful MERlin DVB-T2 monitoring receiver. The IQDBT04 module receives an RF input signal and monitors key RF signal performance parameters such as MER and LDPC. Transport Stream integrity tests are also performed and the demodulated stream is available as an ASI output. The IQDBT04 module is expected to be available for delivery in Q3 2013.
The modules can be seen in demonstration at BroadcastAsia2013 at the dB Broadcast stand 5E1-01 and at the Snell stand 5D3-01.
dB Broadcast and Snell introduced new ASI module at NAB 2013
At NAB2013 dB Broadcast Ltd and Snell introduced a new ASI monitoring and switching module for the Snell IQ Modular frames, called the IQASI82 module.
The new module retains all of the features of the well-established Hawkeye B082S module from dB Broadcast, with the added advantage of integration with the Snell IQ Modular frames and RollCall Monitoring and Control system. The module can also be remotely monitored and controlled via the Snell SNMP interface.
The IQASI82 module is an ASI TS Monitor with 2x2 near seamless switch that provides independent TS monitoring of two input streams and automatic switch operation that is configurable by the user. The module is used to ensure broadcast continuity in the event of input stream errors. Any combination and mix of Snell IQ modules can be housed in the frame - saving space and money. The IQ frame, PSUs and any appropriate Snell modules can either be purchased from Snell or from dB Broadcast.
The product is available for immediate delivery.
Monitoring RF Signals with dB Broadcast Receivers
dB Broadcast Ltd have a range of solutions for receiving and monitoring RF broadcast signals. With solutions for both analogue and digital, DVB-T and DVB-T2, dB Broadcast have an industry leading range of products for transmitter site monitoring and off-air monitoring.
Monitoring of RF broadcast signals is a critical aspect of a broadcast network operator’s ability to ensures their customers do not experience signal reception issues. Effective monitoring equipment gives visibility across the network of both transmitter performance and configuration.
The industry leading Hawkeye modular range of solutions now includes a DVB-T2 monitoring receiver module. The Hawkeye B105 is based on the successful MERlin DVB-T2 monitoring receiver and provides equivalent functionality to MERlin, but in a modular form factor. The Hawkeye B105 solution is ideal when multiple DVB-T2 RF broadcast signals are monitored at a single location. Up to 14 modules can be installed in a single 3RU frame.
MERlin is a self-contained receiver for continuous off-air demodulation and monitoring of DVB-T2 and DVB-T signals. MERlin monitors input RF modulation parameters and signal performance metrics including MER and Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) status. The product is optimised for use at relay/repeater/gapfiller sites as it provides only the critical information required for remote monitoring.
The Showman 1000 Off-Air Receiver from dB Broadcast is a multi-standard analogue TV demodulator for professional broadcast applications and is capable of receiving RF signals from all terrestrial and cable analogue broadcast TV standards.
dB Broadcast welcomes Graham Pearl as Engineering Director
dB Broadcast, the Cambridge based systems integrator, has moved to further strengthen its management structure with the appointment of Graham Pearl as Engineering Director.
Graham, who spent a previous period with dB over a decade ago, returns with a brief to ensure the effective and efficient running of the engineering department.
In the short term, he will be applying his broadcast industry experience to the task of developing staff, including dB’s in-house wiring team. In the longer term, Graham will be helping to formulate and initiate a business strategy plan to allow dB to develop upon recent successes.
Graham will be supported in his role by a restructuring of senior positions within the engineering department. Mike Bryan will become the Head of Solutions with Gareth Evans taking the role of Head of Broadcast.
Since starting as an apprentice at Pye TVT in Cambridge, Graham has worked throughout the broadcast industry in a number of different engineering positions.
He holds an Electronic and Electrical degree from the University of Central Lancashire and has worked for companies such as Pro-Bel and IPE.
David Bird, MD of dB Broadcast says, “I am delighted to be able to welcome Graham Pearl to the board of dB Broadcast. I have known Graham since we were apprentices at Pye TVT and he will bring extensive experience and knowledge to our operations.
“I am confident that he will help the company to continue meeting the challenges of a demanding industry”
ASI Monitoring and Switching in Broadcast Networks with dB Broadcast Hawkeye IQ Series
The first Hawkeye module to be available for the IQ frame is IQASI80 series ASI transport stream monitor/switch module. The IQASI82 module has identical features to the well-established Hawkeye B082S module, with the added advantage of integration with the Snell RollCall system. The module can also be remotely monitored and controlled via the Snell SNMP interface.
IQASI82 is a dual ASI TS Monitor with 2x2 near-seamless switch. Two input Transport Streams are routed to the main outputs under the control of the integrated 2x2 TS switch. Near-seamless switching is a technique developed by dB Broadcast that minimises disruption to the output stream by maintaining TS synchronisation when switching between sources.
IQASI82 also provides independent TS monitoring of two input streams. Critical checks are performed on both Transport Stream inputs and the user can define which of these trigger alarms or switching. The implemented measurements are fully compliant with the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) measurement guidelines ETSI TR 101 290, (this standard is also commonly used when monitoring ATSC signals). The IQASI80 series supports 188 byte, 204 byte, packet, byte and burst mode ASI.
In conclusion, dB Broadcast have solutions for monitoring and switching in ASI networks that enable operators to ensure continuity of their broadcast signals. These solutions are now available for the Snell IQ modular and RollCall control and monitoring system, extending the range of applications supported by the Snell IQ modular system.
dB at Broadcast Video Expo 2013
dB Broadcast, will be using their presence at Broadcast Video Expo 2013, stand B8 to highlight some of the major projects they have undertaken over the past 12 months.
Over the last couple of years, dB have been involved with flagship projects such as Sky Studios in Osterley, the BBC’s Broadcasting House development in London W1 and Arqiva’s UK DSO (digital switchover) programme, three of the most significant broadcast projects to take place in Britain over the past two years.
With the Sky Studios project, dB Broadcast was appointed to install, test and commission the core technical facilities covering the central technical areas and master control room within the new Sky Studio building. These facilities, that included 400 bays and 35 desks, have enabled them to distribute their programmes to many platforms, including the traditional satellite feeds, new media streaming, mobile phone services and many more.
The BBC’s Broadcasting House development involved re-homing much of corporation’s news facilities. The contract with the BBC covered the design, procurement, installation and commissioning of all equipment for video production located within the studios, galleries, edit suites, graphic areas, newsroom and local apparatus rooms.
In 2009 dB won a 4 year contract from Arqiva to supply and install Programme Input Equipment (PIE) and install all cross site cabling at 90 UK transmitter sites as part of digital switchover (DSO). This project was completed at the end of last year
Representatives from dB Broadcast will be on hand throughout the exhibition to demonstrate dB products and discuss any system or product requirements.
dB Broadcast showing new Hawkeye modules at BVE 2013
dB Broadcast, the Cambridge-based independent systems integrator and manufacturer will be introducing a new Hawkeye module at BVE 2013.
In collaboration with Snell, leading innovators in the digital media market, dB have developed a new ASI monitoring and switching module for the Snell IQ Modular frames, model IQASI82.
The new module retains all of the features of the well-established Hawkeye B082S module from dB Broadcast, with the added advantage of integration with the Snell IQ Modular frames and RollCall Monitoring and Control system.
The module can also be remotely monitored and controlled via the Snell SNMP interface. The IQASI82 module is an ASI TS Monitor with 2x2 near seamless switch that provides independent TS monitoring of two input streams and automatic switch operation that is configurable by the user.
The module is used to ensure broadcast continuity in the event of input stream errors. Any combination and mix of Snell IQ modules can be housed in the frame, saving space and money.
The IQ frame, PSUs and any appropriate Snell modules can either be purchased from Snell or from dB Broadcast.
The module will be on show at dB Broadcast stand B8, BVE2013, which is being held at the Excel Centre in London from 26th-28th February. Representatives from dB will be on hand throughout the exhibition to demonstrate the products and discuss any system or product requirements.
dB Broadcast appoint Dave Allister - Engineering team
dB Broadcast, the Cambridge based systems integrator, has added further expertise to its in-house engineering team with the arrival of Dave Allister.
With over 50 full-time staff, dB Broadcast is one of the largest systems integration companies in the UK.
Dave joined dB early in 2012 and has been working on a London based project, where he is responsible for migrating a number of playout channels.
A former student of the University of Salford, Dave graduated in 2006 with a first class honours degree in Media Technology before taking a job as a proposals engineer.
During this time he gained specialised knowledge in all aspects of systems integration from large OBs, SNGs and studios, working with various customers such as the BBC, SIS Live and ITN.
In 2010, he transferred to project engineering and took on a series of projects including the design and build of the first HD satellite uplink for the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation.
Sales and Marketing Director Tom Swan says, "dB Broadcast has seen steady growth over the last few years and it is dB's policy to grow the business by employing in-house staff rather than relying on large teams of contract engineers.
“By using our dedicated in-house engineering team which is now 18, we ensure an excellent standard of design combined with consistent quality.
“With the support of our in-house wiring technicians, the engineering team are able to commit to completing large projects on time.”
dB Broadcast awarded major studio project at BSkyB
dB Broadcast, the Cambridge-based independent system integrator, has recently received a major studio order as part of BSkyB’s continuing development of their state-of-the-art production and broadcasting facility in Osterley, West London.
The Sky Studios building, initially comprising 5 studios, opened on the 30th June 2011 after dB Broadcast installed and commissioned the Broadcast Centre comprising MCR, Playout and its core shared technical facilities - 400 bays and 37 operational desks. For the remainder of 2011 dB continued to work closely with Sky personnel to migrate all the existing services to this new facility.
BSkyB continues to expand and dB Broadcast has recently been awarded a further contract to fit out two additional studio floors and one gallery brining the total to 7 studios. The final studio floor is being made ready for use with an OB van on an adhoc basis. This includes extending the studio infrastructure to the OB wallbox designed for this purpose.
In addition to the Studio installation, dB Broadcast is also delivering the expanded Master Control and core infrastructure systems to enable the integration of these studios into the wider campus.
dB's design team will work with the customer to develop and produce the design requirements and build information, including the purchase of critical-path equipment. dB will also be responsible for the desks and other operational furniture and at its peak, the team will comprise of four engineers and 11 wiremen.
Mike Bryan dB Project Manager says, "This is another fantastic opportunity for dB to work with Sky to deliver these next studios. We are really pleased to be more involved in the complete delivery from the design all the way through to commissioning."
dB at Broadcast Video Expo 2012 stand i53
dB Broadcast, the leading UK independent systems integrator and manufacturer will be showcasing the MERlin DVB-T2 receiver module at Broadcast Video Expo 2012. MERlin, which was launched in late-2011, has been designed for continuous off air terrestrial reception of DVB-T and DVB-T2 RF signals and 300 units have already been delivered.
Other selected dB products will be also on show at the exhibition stand.
Aside from product displays, dB Broadcast will be using their presence at Broadcast Video Expo 2012 to highlight some of the major projects they have undertaken over the past 12 months.
BSkyB continues to expand and dB Broadcast has recently been awarded a further contract to fit out two additional studio floors and one gallery brining the total to 7 studios. The final studio floor is being made ready for use with an OB van on an adhoc basis. This includes extending the studio infrastructure to the OB wallbox designed for this purpose.
Work is underway on the installation of the video production areas within the BBC’s Broadcasting House redevelopment in central London, W1. The contract covers the design, procurement, installation and commissioning of all equipment for video production located within the studios, galleries, edit suites, graphic areas, newsroom and local apparatus rooms.
In 2009 dB won a 4 year contract from Arqiva to supply and install Programme Input Equipment (PIE) at 90 UK transmitter sites as part of digital switchover (DSO). With DSO having already taken place in many regions this project will be completed later this year.
Representatives from dB Broadcast will be on hand throughout the exhibition on stand i53 to demonstrate dB’s products and discuss any system or product requirements.