System Integrators have an Ongoing Role - After-sales Support
Many broadcast companies are aware of the advantages of using a system integrator (SI) at the outset of a new build or refurbishment project to review requirements, develop specifications and to manage the selected vendors through to delivery of the project. But perhaps fewer are aware of the advantages that an SI can bring after commission and during the routine maintenance and upkeep of mission critical systems. Tom Swan, Sales and Marketing Director of leading SI dB Broadcast here discusses some of the elements of a support agreement of the type that dB is increasingly asked to provide. The full article is attached.
dB offers customised support packages to meet customers’ specific needs; these include support services needed during training, go-live and on an ongoing basis for both the supplied hardware and installed cabling. An important feature is being able to fix problems and to provide technical support and project enhancements for the lifetime of the system.
The first advantage of a support agreement is that the client has a single contract to manage, taking some of the management burden away from the client’s internal team, providing greater productivity and reducing costs. dB keeps track of the various hardware vendor support contracts, expiry dates and what they cover – a sometimes complex task.
An alternative is remote diagnostics and monitoring of the system via a VPN. This will allow engineers to dial in and run remote diagnostics and checks, and in this manner, many simple faults can be quickly resolved.
Confidence is further achieved through preventative visits, perhaps involving a scheduled annual service review attended by the SI and the customer.
“Our clients can sleep better knowing that they have expert help on tap to keep their facilities up and running”, says Tom Swan.
Article on State of IP Technology within the Broadcast Industry
Over the years, broadcasters have had to cope with huge technological change: the shift to colour, digital and high definition to name just a few. So why should the move to IP based technology be any more problematic? While IP is perhaps not the obvious format for video signals, the sheer power of computer hardware and equally powerful data compression can deliver advantages that mean that the transition to IP is inevitable.
One of the main drivers behind IP adoption is cost reduction. Global investments in IT infrastructure are driving down the prices of large scale 10GbE network hardware, to the potential benefit of the broadcast sector. Broadcasters can utilise the economies of scale of both the hardware pricing from the IT industry, and the reduced need for physical cabling infrastructure and consequent cost of implementation.
The most exciting feature of a move to IP is the format-agnostic capability, believes dB Broadcast. So it is possible to provide a considerable degree of ‘future proofing’ infrastructure to cater for a plethora of formats such as: HD, 1080p, 4K, 8K etc., and not be concerned with yet another major technical refresh in the near future. A clear driver for IP-based systems is to allow 4K production.
Use of IP technology for broadcast systems is happening, but the question of absolute adoption is around emerging standards and confidence of the customers using these new systems in anger, in real world environments. As with any new technology within the broadcast industry, different vendors are backing various standards which makes integrating a ‘best of breed’ solution for the end user, utilising multiple vendors, a bit more tricky.
The full article is attached.
India Studio Built by dB Broadcast
dB Broadcast has completed a project to design, build and test a new studio in Jaipur, India for TV retailer The Genuine Gemstone Company (TGGC). This highly successful project has just gone live at www.gemporia.in. The leading systems integrator won the contract after competitive tender.
By implementing a prefabrication stage at its headquarters near Cambridge prior to dismantling and shipping the hardware to its final overseas destination, dB was able to install, test and commission the studio, gallery and associated technical area in only two weeks.
The approach also ensured a high degree of reliability in the finished design, as well as allowing for system configuration and production of the ‘as- built’ documentation that was used in training prior to shipping.
The HD studio is based on Sony HXC-D70 cameras, Vitec pedestals, a Snell Kahuna vision mixer and Pyxis router, Pixel Power graphics and Grass Valley servers. Constructed as a 4-camera studio, the control room has been designed for operation by 3-5 people.
The studio design is similar to others that have been delivered to the directors of TGGC for other product channels, a design decision motivated also by the potential for ease of training and maintenance.
dB is experienced in completing projects in India. In the latest project, dB was responsible for the shipping of the goods from its factory to the customer site in Jaipur, including all paperwork – a process that went very smoothly, with goods taking less than 10 days door to door. dB has previously carried out projects in India for the Parliament and BBC World Service.
Tom Swan, Sales & Marketing Director of dB Broadcast said: "We are delighted to have worked once again with the TGGC team. Delivering such a successful outcome in a very short time was the result of careful planning and pre-fabrication in the UK.”
dB Responds to Sales Growth with New Graduate Appointments
dB Broadcast is responding to strong new growth in the business by taking on three new graduate engineers. The recruits will provide dB with increased engineering resources for project design, testing and after-sales support, as well as increasing the number of products that can be developed.
The three new engineers have already begun work and their roles are: Thomas Darby - Graduate Engineer, Ryan Hurt – Graduate Commissioning & Support Engineer and Daniel Atkinson – Embedded Systems Software Engineer for Product Development. Darby is a graduate from Middlesex University, Hurt has a Broadcast Engineering Technology degree from Ravensbourne University, and Atkinson is a Software Engineering graduate from the University of Central Lancashire who recently completed an internship for General Electric Intelligent Platforms (pic below).
Unlike many systems integrators, dB’s policy is to build its own in-house team of expert engineers, skilled in addressing the specific challenges of broadcast technology, rather than relying heavily on contract staff.
Tom Swan, Sales & Marketing Director of dB Broadcast said: "Our permanent, well trained workforce and dedicated in-house engineering teams ensure we achieve an excellent standard of design, combined with consistent quality and after-sales support. We are currently undertaking several major projects and these new appointments will help us to deliver them.”
Graduate Recruitment is Key to dB Broadcast Success
Systems integrators (SIs) necessarily work at the cutting edge of broadcast technology. Ensuring that they remain well informed and able to incorporate the latest thinking and techniques is naturally important. While many SIs will rely on contract staff to meet this challenge and to cope with fluctuations in client demand, one of the country’s leading SIs, dB Broadcast, has a different approach. For the last 18 years, it has maintained a policy of recruiting and training talent in the form of recently graduated engineers. dB’s policy is to build its own in-house team of expert engineers, skilled in addressing the specific issues of broadcast technology. This practice has been remarkably successful; in fact, some of earliest graduate recruits still work in company.
dB also recognises the importance of high level training, both internal and external, and allocates one day a month for this purpose.
Currently experiencing strong new growth in the business, dB has recently taken on three new graduate engineers to provide engineering resources for project design, testing and after-sales support, as well as to increase the number of broadcast technology products that can be developed.
Two new engineers have joined from Middlesex University and Ravensbourne University, and have begun work ranging from the design and test of new client systems to commissioning and handover of major projects. A third recruit, from the University of Central Lancashire, has joined a team developing high reliability broadcast infrastructure equipment, some of it of very high complexity. Over the longer term, dB engineers can expect to become involved with client portfolio of consultancy services.
After Sales Support – What to Look For
In this third article by Tom Swan, he turns his attention to the period after a successful broadcast system implementation. The SI role is not only to build systems but also to provide after-sales support options. Broadcasting often involves time critical applications, and periods of downtime just cannot be tolerated. So what is involved in after-sales support and what should broadcasters be looking for from their suppliers?
A basic requirement is to ensure that manufacturers’ warranties are in place and secure; these may be accessible either through the SI or direct. Customised warranty, spares and support packages can be developed to meet the customer’s specific needs; these will include warranty on the supplied equipment and installed cabling. To add further value, dB Broadcast has a policy of negotiating extended warranties on third party products to be passed on to the benefit of the customer.
External support to the customer will be important at critical operational periods. A clear Service Level Agreement should be in place, covering the range and metrics of services to be provided; these typically include onsite support during critical operational periods, telephone support, remote monitoring and diagnostics, product software updates and system enhancements. For example, dB Broadcast’s commissioning engineers can provide on-site support during a migration phase, go-live period or any other crucial times. dB's approach of maintaining a permanent in-house engineering team pays dividends here as the same personnel who undertook the project are used during these periods and have an intimate knowledge of system design and operation.
dB provides optional remote diagnostics and monitoring of installed systems via a VPN.
The full article is in the attached PDF.
System Integration in a Time of IP-based Projects
Broadcasters know that an IP-based route is the future, but in many cases are unclear as to the best way for them to go. The sheer pace of change presents new challenges, as the products, standards and skills necessary to realise this vision fully are often not in place, requiring work-arounds and bespoke approaches – a challenge that SIs are uniquely placed to address. Broadcasters also require advice that is independent of particular hardware and software providers, yet which has insight into vendor roadmaps for the latest solutions.
As the name implies, an important part of the role of the Systems Integrator is to ensure that products work together properly, and where necessary to resolve any conflicts. This requires managed discussions between suppliers to ensure that each piece of equipment communicates with other equipment as required. Most often, any problems involve software issues between dedicated products or between software products. While standards such as 3G have been ratified, in other cases, manufacturers have nominated their own standards, either individually or as a group. In such cases, due diligence requires rigorous testing to verify that all equipment will work as expected. In a recent example, two products each specified as meeting the appropriate broadcast standard were still not communicating with each other; dB’s role was to ensure effective communication between the suppliers to resolve the problem.
Recent examples of SI services undertaken by dB Broadcast include a multi-site HD technology refresh, DPP-compliant file delivery workflows and 4K/UHD production/playout.
In summary, dB is a CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE for the delivery of modern day fit for purpose broadcast systems.
dB Broadcast to Showcase Breadth of Services at IBC
Consultancy services and after-sales support have broadened the portfolio of services offered by dB Broadcast, and at IBC dB will be on hand to discuss the opportunities this brings for clients. Rapid technology changes such as IP and virtualisation and new emerging standards have created a need for broadcast organisations to access up to date expert advice, independent of hardware and software vendors.
Consultancy services include analysis of business processes, technology and migration strategies, and proof of concept modelling. An understanding of the operational and commercial needs of clients is matched against a broad knowledge of available and upcoming products, and insight into vendor roadmaps. This is achieved through strategic partnerships, working closely with equipment manufacturers.
After-sales support is a fast developing requirement as organisations turn to external support as an alternative to maintaining their own teams at various levels. dB offers warranty, spares and support packages to ensure the smooth running of broadcast systems. Support agreements are customised for each individual client and may include onsite technical support during critical periods, working hours and out of hours telephone support, remote monitoring and diagnostics, updates, upgrades and regular maintenance. dB already undertakes after-sales support for a number of clients in broadcast and higher education.
dB is best known as a major player in systems integration, and has one of the broadest range of projects active in the industry.
Latest Products to be shown by dB Broadcast at IBC
Once again, leading system integrator dB Broadcast takes the opportunity of the IBC Show to demonstrate its latest innovative products and solutions. At the 2015 show, two new Hawkeye modules will be on the dB stand 10.A28, and product range enhancements to the Hawkeye and MERlin DVB-T2 products can be seen, along with changes to the Cardinal range of MDUs.
The Hawkeye IQDBT105 modular receiver and the MERlin 1RU monitoring receiver both now support the latest DVB-T2 standard, version 1.3.1.
The Hawkeye modular range has been expanded to include the IQSDA10 ASI distribution amplifier with 1 input and 7 outputs, as well as the IQASI25 low cost ASI switched distribution amplifier with 2 inputs and 5 outputs.
The Cardinal range of intelligent Mains Distribution Units, (iMDUs) remain popular due to their high inrush current capability, reliability and dual input changeover option. These iMDU’s have now been enhanced with an integral humidity and temperature sensor, which is more convenient and lower cost than utilising a separate external sensor. The number of GPIs on each unit has also been increased to 16, addressing customer requirements to monitor GPIO alarms from other equipment via the Cardinal iMDUs web pages or SNMP capability. Finally, a hardware reset button has been added to enable the iMDU control processor to be reset without power cycling the unit. This feature was added in response to customer requests for a way to reset the MDU control processor without disrupting mains distribution, as the product is used in broadcast critical equipment bays where power must remain available 24/7/365.
Consultancy Approach Pays Off in Addressing Complexity
As broadcast technology becomes ever more sophisticated, the decisions around system design become more complex too. The pace of technology change means that clients often look for external support and advice in evaluating and selecting the optimum technology architecture to meet their current and future business needs.
dB Broadcast is increasingly undertaking consultancy work to help its clients understand this changing environment and how best to leverage the benefits. Broadcasters require advice that is independent of particular hardware and software providers, and which has insight into vendor roadmaps for the latest solutions. Many now engage in ‘Proof of Concept’ testing before determining their technology strategies. An understanding of media workflows and the design of efficient migration strategies adds further value for clients.
To gather, define and rationalise overlapping and often conflicting requirements and drivers from all parts of the operation using business process analysis is an intricate task, one that the dB Broadcast team feels it is uniquely placed to carry out, based on its considerable industry experience across a broad range of disciplines.
Recent examples of dB Broadcast’s consultancy services include a multi-site HD technology refresh, DPP-compliant file delivery workflows and 4K/UHD production/playout. dB have recently been engaged as consultants for the re-location of a major international broadcaster, and for a green-field media facility based upon emerging IP standards.
According to Mike Bryan, dB’s Head of Solutions, and the man responsible for many of these projects: “We typically adopt a workstream focussed approach to managing the complexities of this type of project. This ensures that the correct resources with appropriate skill sets are assigned at the correct time in the programme”.
Ultra HD project
dB Broadcast has completed cutting edge work for an Ultra HD broadcast channel, which is still under wraps.
dB used its specialist knowledge of technologies available, and even some in development, to map out the project design, and complete its part of the work with its partners.
In some ways, this is typical of the projects dB is called on to deliver. Developments such as 4K and IP-driven systems require an understanding of the detailed operational and commercial needs of clients, achieved through partnerships and working closely with broadcasters and equipment manufacturers.
dB Broadcast Lands Major Contract for International Criminal Court
Cambridgeshire, UK – dB Broadcast has won a major contract to create the Audio Visual broadcast system for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
The Assembly of States Parties of the ICC decided that the ICC - a high profile independent organisation - should be provided with newly built permanent premises in The Hague and these are nearing completion.
Broadcast quality is a key criterion for the ICC, as the courts handle very high profile cases, and the ICC is called upon to provide broadcast feeds to many of the world's largest international broadcasters. dB has a proven track record and expertise in remote controlled camera systems where high end broadcast quality video pictures are required.
Audio Visual recording of court proceedings is also a key issue for the ICC.
For this project, dB is able to draw upon extensive experience of working on prestigious buildings, new-build facilities and relocation, including its work at Parliament buildings, and the new BBC facility in central London, which involved relocation from the old BBC Television Centre to New Broadcasting House.
Tom Swan, Sales & Marketing Director of dB Broadcast said: "We are delighted to have won this contract for the ICC. We have completed many such high profile projects to time and to budget for organisations such as the BBC and Sky, and look forward to supporting the ICC this year.”
dB Broadcast Unveils Latest Upgrades at BroadcastAsia2015
Cambridgeshire, UK – dB Broadcast will be at BroadcastAsia2015 in Singapore this year, and will be discussing its latest innovative product enhancements at Stand 5E2-04. Well known as one of the UK’s leading systems integrators, dB supplies customers in Asia with its broadcasting products for signal acquisition and monitoring.
This year, dB Broadcast’s product enhancements for DVB-T2 include upgrades to the Hawkeye IQDBT105 modular receiver and the MERlin 1RU monitoring receiver, which both now support the latest DVB-T2 standard, version 1.3.1. dB has been one of the leading suppliers of DVB-T2 monitoring receivers from the first network deployments in Europe, and is now bringing the benefits of this experience to customers in Asia where DVB-T2 v1.3.1 is being widely adopted for digital terrestrial television (DTT) roll out.
The Hawkeye modular range has now been expanded to include the IQASI25 low cost ASI switched distribution amplifier with 2 inputs and 5 outputs, and the IQSDA10 ASI distribution amplifier with 1 input and 7 outputs. These modules are fully integrated into the Snell IQ Modular range and the RollCall control and monitoring system.
These new products are available immediately and result from listening to customer feedback.
Technical Specialist Mark Barnes will be on Stand 5E2-04 and is looking forward to meeting visitors to discuss their technical broadcasting challenges.
At dB Bespoke needs can lead to New Standard Solutions
For systems integrators like dB Broadcast, an important aspect of customer service is taking on new challenges for which off-the-shelf products don’t yet exist. dB Broadcast offers custom units designed and built to overcome current and future problems.
“In many cases our product range was initially developed to solve a specific client’s challenge where there wasn’t equipment available on the market to meet their need”, says Tom Swan, dB’s Director of Sales and Marketing.
The MERlin DVB-T2 monitoring receiver development for Arqiva is a classic example. When the UK adopted the DVB-T2 standard during the UK digital switch over programme, a need was identified for enhanced monitoring at 800 transmission relay sites across the British Isles. “As DVB-T2 was a new standard there was no off-the-shelf product with the right features and price, and as one was needed on each of the 800 sites, the unit cost was critical,” says Tom.
In response, dB created MERlin; a self-contained receiver for continuous off-air demodulation and monitoring of DVB-T2 and DVB-T signals. The price of the unit enabled wide scale installation of the unit, and its high reliability means that the unit continues to lead the UK market today.
Tom sums up the company’s approach to tackling difficult technical requirements: “We actively encourage our clients to give us new problems to solve; today’s complex technical challenges lead to tomorrow’s exceptional developments. It’s all part of the service and the way we build long-term relationships.”
Cardinal MDU offers peace of mind
dB Broadcast’s recently upgraded Cardinal range of intelligent mains distribution units has proved popular by providing peace of mind and fully automatic operation.
Many modern PSUs used with broadcast equipment cause individual inrush currents as high as 30-120A, so the Cardinal iMDU range has been designed to avoid these high inrush currents at switch on.
The specification list is impressive, with single input and dual input changeover versions available - switching to the back-up input supply is automatic on power fail of the main source. Both versions are now capable of handling inrush currents of up to 200A total and 60A per individually switched output. 12 separately controlled outputs are available with sequential switching of outputs.
Also popular are the intelligent features such as the intuitive web based user interface to remotely configure and control outputs and SNMP traps, SNMP MIB based control and monitoring 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.
This combination of high inrush current capability, high reliability and changeover option ensures that demand for the Cardinal range is strong. Systems managers wanting to make sure their installations are ready for the challenges produced by current and future equipment can easily justify use of these 1RU units in the broadcast chain.
dB Broadcast Showing Breadth of its Range at BVE2015
dB Broadcast, the leading independent systems integrator and manufacturer, will be showcasing its widest range of products and services at BVE this year. dB’s scope of work spans the full gamut from studio to transmission, a broader offering than other UK SI’s. Examples range from Studios/Edit suites for the BBC to Transmission facilities for Arqiva.
dB invests in building excellent supplier relationships, critical to delivering complex modern broadcast systems.
Recent technology changes have meant that clients look for increasing support and consultancy when undertaking new systems. They want to take advantage of new technology for example, yet to manage the risks of performance and compatibility, in line with their current and future business strategy. By remaining vendor neutral, dB can provide this consultancy. Recent projects have been undertaken for a number of broadcasters that include: HD technology refresh, Access Services (File delivery workflow, DPP compliant), 4K production and the re-location of a major international broadcaster.
At the heart of dB Broadcast is design, build, commissioning, migration and support services for both traditional and new technology broadcast systems. Recent projects include a new state-of-the-art broadcast facility for British Forces Broadcasting and a number of single camera interview positions for the BBC.
On show at BVE will be Hawkeye modular monitoring systems, MERlin monitoring receivers, Cardinal intelligent mains distribution units and examples of the company’s bespoke products.
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.
Representatives from the dB team will be on hand throughout the exhibition to discuss any system or product requirements.
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.”