A new era for 24/7 news over IP
Posted on Dec 22, 2023 by FEED Staff
A Sony Nevion solution has transformed the production infrastructure at TVC network news channel 3/24
A stalwart of the Catalan free-to-air broadcasting system, news channel 3/24 reached its 20th anniversary in September. Operated by TVC (part of public broadcaster CCMA) and the sister channel to TV3, 3/24 has also recently been the subject of a major renewal to its overall 24/7 news infrastructure.
It was the change in production format that provided the initial impetus for the project, but its scope soon expanded. “There came a point where the channel needed to upgrade to high definition,” recalls Anna Ochoa, specialist engineer at 3/24. Simultaneously, though, it was determined that the channel should also “make the transition to IP”.
Seeking out a solution
In assessing the most appropriate technology for the upgrade, the engineering team swiftly decided a solution based on Sony and Nevion Networked Live would be ideal. “On a 24-hour channel, it’s a high-pressure environment; there is no margin for error,” notes Ochoa. “We saw Sony/Nevion implemented this at other television channels, and their track record with this product was very convincing.”
Networked Live is a flagship of the Sony Professional family that unites acclaimed technologies from Sony and Nevion. It is an ecosystem of solutions, products, services and partners combining hybrid on-premises and cloud processing with network connectivity. By enabling resources to be connected, used and shared optimally and seamlessly in productions, it offers broadcasters the chance to transform the logistics and economics of mission-critical live production – 24-hour news being a case-in-point.
Specific elements of Networked Live Solution Ecosystem chosen for the 3/24 project include the Nevion VideoIPath media orchestration platform. Vendor-agnostic and highly scalable, VideoIPath blends network orchestration and broadcast control capabilities. The channel is also using the HDCE-TX30 camera extension adapter and Camera Control Unit (CCU).
In such a complex operation, the network orchestration aspect was always going to be vitally important. “Entering the IP world in television, carrying heavy signals that consume bandwidth means that the ‘information highways’ must be fast enough to transfer all this data,” says Ochoa. “Someone has to manage and govern this traffic. The need to use SDN [software-defined networking], or what is called a network orchestrator, is essential in an IP project.”
Oscar Garcia, Sony senior solutions architect, describes VideoIPath as an “SDN orchestration” solution, adding that its IP connection management capabilities “facilitate operations for broadcast technicians in their daily work. Using VideoIPath provides flexibility in utilising the IP infrastructure and also enables future growth, enhancing system stability for use across different locations with greater ease for all operators.”
Supportive and Flexible
The orchestration platform also allows support for prior control preferences. Garcia explains: “VideoIPath allows integration with existing broadcast controllers, letting operators reuse the UI they were familiar with from the previous system.”
Meanwhile, the HDCE-TX30 was specified to accommodate both IP and legacy SDI formats. “This allows us to make the most of all of our facilities, enabling different types of production and working with various standards,” says Ochoa.
Unitecnic Barcelona served as the systems integrator on the project, which encompassed equipment installation, putting the new systems into operation and devising a dedicated training plan for 3/24 personnel.
“Here, very different manufacturers have come together,” says Xavi Verd, director & CTO at Unitecnic Barcelona. “Some that the company already knew; others that we already knew. So we knew this was going to work, and that it was just a matter of time and effort.”
It is clear that 3/24 is delighted with the results of the upgrade, which both places it in the vanguard of broadcast production and ensures it is future-proofed for the long term. “This transition means we continue to be at the forefront of technology,” confirms Ochoa. “The hard work has been worth it because we can see the satisfactory results of the project, and the success of the transition to IP.”
Originally published in the Winter 2023 issue of FEED.