In which types of broadcast environment are KVM switches used?
KVM switches are used throughout the broadcast workfl ow.
In broadcast TV and radio studios workstations can be confi gured according to presenters’ and producers’ needs and can be instantly changed when the broadcast programme changes. So studios can be multi-purpose and not designated to specifi c tasks. There are several options to control the KVM Matrix Switch which gives fl exibility in integration: it can be integrated into a broadcast control software package, controlled over a network using the Draco tera tool, managed through its own OSD or integrated with a third party controller through a serial interface. All these types of control mechanism are regularly used, depending upon the installation requirements and whichever is the most appropriate.
In post production edit suites and cinema CGI studios assets can be held securely under normal version control procedures. While USB HID access is always available, content cannot be copied from the computer onto USB fl ash sticks if no USB 2.0 port is provided at the user workstation of course this can be added if the capability is required. Licences for editing tools and other systems can be shared amongst users rather than provided to each one; saving cost and increasing fl exibility.
In outside broadcast trucks, operators at individual positions can connect to all available PCs and servers, so devices can be accessed and controlled anywhere, leading to total fl exibility within the vehicle.
In studios and control rooms, computer images and multiviewer outputs can be transmitted to video screens and videowalls as needed and changed around instantly. This saves cost and creates exciting new opportunities for on-set displays as well as bringing a new level of fl exibility to the overall distribution of computer-format (DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort) video data.
What examples are there of KVM switches in action?
At BT Sport in London, which is probably the largest, most recent broadcast system integration, two interconnected 288-port Draco tera KVM switches connect editors, designers and production staff to banks of Avid editing machines, Omneon storage devices, EVS servers, Chryon production tools and the host of other essential broadcast components. They provide the required delay-free switching between sources and workstations to create an end-to-end tapeless workfl ow; offering immediate access to incoming feeds and stored content throughout 20 edit suites or on any of the 200 producer desktops.
The ARD group in Germany has standardised its radio studio operation throughout several major broadcast stations within the group, including HR and NDR, on IHSE KVM switches. Presenter and producer workstations in general purpose studios can be quickly reconfi gured to access the computer systems necessary for the programme being aired. These include dira! On-air playout, AVT touchscreen-based telephone management system, traffi c and news computers, jingle and sound byte players and workfl ow management.
One of Hollywood’s most prestigious post production facilities, Sonic Magic Studios, uses a Draco tera KVM switch to manage over 250 TBytes of storage with instant switching to several sound stages and edit suites, allowing editors to use any studio with the equipment they need.
Videohouse’s newest outside broadcast van, OB14, has an onboard 32-port Draco tera compact switch to allow each operator position access to any of the system control servers, character generators, rasterisers, EVS servers and SloMo devices by hotkey selection, whenever they need it, with zero latency and no switching delay.
Images on a 36-screen, on-set, video wall in the news broadcast studio at Pink, in Belgrade, are selected and transmitted from a16-output mutliviewer system by an 80- port Draco tera compact KVM switch, enabling producers to select the images to be shown on the screens to suit the news story being related. The images are also made available for display on to 10 x 55” and 16 x 46” videowalls in the News Control and MCR rooms.
At the ZDF studios in Mayence, Germany, live broadcast servers and editing equipment are accessed and controlled through a 288 port KVM matrix switch, enabling live program viewing and monitoring on single and dual-screen displays.
What sets IHSE apart?
Our philosophy is to create products that perform their tasks reliably and incorporate functionality that is required by users within each specifi c industry; features that are essential in all applications, none more so that broadcast.
The key is reliability the matrix itself is a device that needs to work continuously, without failure or interruption. And if any problems occur, it must react automatically and not interrupt the broadcast operations it supports. So we pay particular attention to the quality of build and features that ensure 24/7 operation: for example, should the main controlling processor fail, the switch will maintain operation with the current confi guration. The normal levels of dual and triple redundancy of components found in the broadcast industry, combined with redundant routes for critical connections using Linkloss auto detection and switching, provide safety and security that ensure broadcast studios are not taken off-air because of system failure.
Flexibility is highly important. The ability to easily add to a system or reconfi gure it is essential and one that is achieved through Flexport: a method that allows each port to be dynamically confi gured as an input or an output.
We develop our products through interaction with users and there are many examples, particularly in the broadcast sector, where features have been added after user request that are now considered invaluable.
What are your expectations for IBC2014?
Judging by the previous shows, it is likely to be bigger and better. We expect that more broadcast professionals will stop at the stand and investigate the opportunities that KVM offers to them, and the ways that it can be used to streamline their operations and assist them in running today’s modern broadcast studios and editing facilities.