RTL Belgium

Draco tera KVM system enables total control and access of broadcast equipment

The Customer

RTL, formed in 1987 is Europe’s largest free-to-air broadcaster. With interests in 60 TV channels, 31 radio stations and online video services it reaches  audiences around the world with a ‘total video’ concept. The organisation is also a global leader in content creation, producing over 10,000 hours of programming each year for 31 countries, including leading prime-time shows for major broadcasters in almost every TV market in the world.

The Challenge

The RTL broadcast facility in Belgium recently underwent a major refurbishment, during which the decision was made to replace an old KVM system comprising two individual, unconnected, parts. The objective was to combine production and broadcast operations with one, larger, more responsive KVM system that would allow greater flexibility and enhanced operation and cover post production operations, playout and live and virtual studios. As with many well-established broadcast operations, a vast amount of legacy equipment encompasing a wide variety of signal formats was in daily operation that needed to be incorporated, together with a need to work with new and future equipment and broadcast signals.

The Solution

Local system integrator, Axis One, designed and installed a full system comprising a Draco tera 288-port KVM matrix switch which was installed in the central equipment room and connected via appropriate CPU units to 54 broadcast source devices. Two, inter-linked, 80 port Draco tera compact switches were also installed to provide additional redundancy links.

The switch system supports a multitude of different devices, including AVID servers for post production and editing, EVS playout devices, and various news production and reporting equipment, in addition to the general administration and programming PCs. All types of video signal had to be accommodated, including VGA, DVI, HDMI and SDI in single-and multi-head configurations.

Over 80 individual users around the building were provided with access to the sources through the Draco tera switch, allowing them to manage and control the broadcast devices from their own individual workstations.

Because of the large variety of tasks and roles supported, the KVM system handles several different USB-connected devices, including Vinten-Radamec joysticks and control panels, LCD touch screens, robotic systems for Ross-Furio cameras and Sony XDCAM controllers.

The Benefit

The KVM system provides a near-instantaneous switching time and allows the whole broadcast facility to operate as a single entity. Integral redundancy and back-up features within the Draco tera KVM switch provide total operational reliability and security in operation: factors that are essential in 24/7 broadcast operations. Extensive and flexible administrator control delivers the ability to create customized and secure user access; giving individual operators instant access to the devices they need, whilst restricting access to secure devices and computer I/O ports. The configuration is easily and regularly changed to meet the constantly changing needs of dynamic TV and radio production.

The IHSE system fully integrates the previously separate broadcast and production facilities into one operation, with the necessary level of reliability and backup to enable us to operate continuously. It connects more than 80 percent of our broadcast equipment to operators, as and when they need access, providing excellent flexibility, security and contro. – John Huybrechs, Senior Systems & Project Engineer at RTL Belgium SA

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