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Information, control and
automation But not as you know it.
by Sandra Squire
A ccurate clocks,
timing and cue
essential components of
any broadcasting envi-
ronment – directors, production teams
and presenters have always depended
on them for the delivery of broadcast
critical operations. This is still the case
today and very unlikely to change.
What is changing though is the way
that broadcasting organisations are
creating and delivering their content.
Budgets are tighter, competition is rife,
delivery channels more numerous and
technologies more diverse.
One of the outcomes of all this is
that facilities are now designed to be
multi-functional, catering for the needs
of many different users. It is now
very common for studios and control
rooms to be used by different stations
and their production teams, reducing
operational costs in the process.
Dealing with the complexities of these
new facilities means that we all have to
work and think much smarter and as
a consequence, Chief Engineers and
Specifi ers are looking more and more
for total solutions that can be operated
by non-technical staff, expanded as
requirements dictate and represent
good value for money.
Clock, cue lamps and alerts, multi-time zones, production timer
being deployed, in particular IP
networking and with good reason.
The advantages of IP networking are
signifi cant; it’s scalable, so it is easy to
expand; it’s convenient, making it easy
to install and it is future-proof, meaning
that it is very likely to ‘fi t’ with any
Exploiting these qualities has helped
IPE – a UK-based SI with over 30
years experience – design and develop
their own sophisticated solution
especially for the broadcast industry.
Designed with production teams
in mind but with much wider
applications, IDS is an IP-based
display and control system that
delivers bespoke information and
control interfaces to users via
networked display devices.
Take clocks, timing and cue
information for example. Traditionally,
these functions would have required
extensive wiring and sophisticated
logic to perform even the simplest
operation. Today, all of that
functionality and sophisticated logic
can be delivered and controlled using
modern off-the-shelf display devices
connected over their own IP network.
Gone are the ugly consoles and
But the journey doesn’t end there.
IDS is a very powerful multi-function
toolbox comprised of dedicated
software and hardware devices
that operate using a standard TCP/
IP infrastructure. Using its screen
designer and logic mapping software,
users can create sophisticated
displays and control interfaces for a
variety of key functions including:
Clocks and timing
Every device on an IDS network is
synchronized using NTP/LTC – clocks
(analogue and digital), multi-time
zones, up/down timers, production
timers, off-set time recorders and
tally interfaces. All of these time
sources can be managed from one
central location and delivered to any
display device over the network, from
a discreet desktop touchscreen to
large monitors around the facility.
Dynamic information based on custom
layouts and designs can be delivered
to any connected display device.
Information can include clocks, cue
lamps, scrolling text, control interfaces,
video streams, URLs, RSS feeds,
alerts, signage and branded media.
Import XML fi les, input data via
keyboards or interface with third party
control and automation systems.
Whatever the source, the information
derived is then displayed exactly
where it is required; studios, control
rooms, newsrooms and open areas.
Systems Integrators (SIs) have always
worked hard to keep abreast of
change and deliver solutions that
are fi t for purpose. Nowadays, it is
unlikely that you’ll come across a hard-
wired studio with all its cumbersome
equipment. And there is a very good
reason for that – making changes
to these old fashioned systems was
invasive and expensive.
Today, you are much more likely
to fi nd conventional IT practices
On Air warnings, clocks and arrivals boards – all via IP.
50 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 90 JUNE 2014