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VITEC Delivers End-To-End IP Video Infrastructure Solution At RBB

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Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) is a public broadcaster responsible for the federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg in Germany.

RBB is part of the broader ARD (Association of Public Service Broadcasting Corporations in Germany), and it contributes to several nationwide TV and radio channels and multimedia services. Based in Berlin and Potsdam, it produces and broadcasts one television channel and six radio stations and provides interactive multimedia services including websites, mobile, teletext and HbbTV-based connected TV services.

RBB works to contribute and distribute video signals primarily within Germany, although some pool signals – such as from sports events – come from other territories or are distributed internationally. With the growth in Secure Reliable Transport (SRT), RBB decided it should support the transport protocol as part of its offering. As well as contributing pool signals, RBB also acts as a provider of its own pool signals, such as for press conferences or local political events, which may be used by news outlets.

"We face the same challenges as other broadcasters within the ARD, and SRT was a topic for us," said Florian Hesse, systems engineer, RBB. "We had used different systems previously which had become expensive – they required a separate network and we had to pay for the service. In the IP world there are now easier and simpler solutions like SRT over IP, which we were keen to provide."

"We had a project to migrate to a new network provider for our internet traffic and also direct peering connections to cable providers. The idea was to have technology to easily connect cable providers and give them the option to connect via SRT. We wrote down all our issues on paper and sent them to different companies asking them for their solutions. VITEC responded to us and offered a perfectly suitable solution in this case, and the most competitive. As a public broadcaster we must be very careful to ensure we are getting value."

RBB invested in a quad channel VITEC MGW Diamond Encoder, four single channel VITEC MGW Ace Decoders and a VITEC ChannelLink IP distribution gateway to form a central routing platform at its Berlin premises. The RBB team dealt directly with VITEC and completed the install themselves. Despite the complex nature of handling increasing numbers of video feeds over various IP transmission links, the process went smoothly. "We were very pleased with the process. We didn’t really have any large problems – we bought the products, carried out the installation and the products performed well immediately, so we had no concerns. VITEC quickly responded to – and resolved – any issues we raised and accompanied the installation by providing excellent service.

"We use the VITEC ChannelLink system as the central managed platform for ingoing and outgoing connections via SRT, but also User Datagram Protocol (UDP) multicasts and Real-Time Messaging Protocol (RTMP). This is our central system – our ‘door to the world’ – so the encoders and decoders are on the inside of the network and all connections go through the ChannelLink gateway. Every single signal is important to us."

RBB now uses the stream ID feature of SRT to deliver 5 HD video streams over 1 SRT IP connection, making the IT set-up even more straightforward and giving cable providers the opportunity to utilise the content. "From our perspective, SRT is much faster, more stable, and much easier to configure, so we’re pleased to have this capability," added Florian. "It's especially key that we offer this for distribution for sports that are produced by RBB. This was previously carried out by BNS, SDI or sometimes satellite – so SRT is a significant improvement for us."

RBB uses SRT to contribute signals from media organisations such as EBU, PLAZAMEDIA GmbH, MTI and others, and it distributes SRT to names including RTL, ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, and others within the ARD.

There are also additional plans for RBB to further simplify its workflow. Its operators are required to operate many different systems and interfaces, so it plans to use central planning tools to control SRT signals automatically. RBB is aiming to create its own internal user interface to control its system via Application Programming Interface (API), which the VITEC ChannelLink is compatible with.

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