Red Bee Media, a leading global media services company, has selected the PRISMON multiviewer system from Rohde & Schwarz. It will replace life-expired SDI systems in its playout facilities in the UK, with a highly flexible, distributed, IP-connected multiviewer network.
Red Bee is the trusted delivery partner to some of the world’s strongest broadcasters and media brands, providing a complete delivery outsourcing service for broadcast playout and online streaming. From its broadcast facilities in London and Salford, Red Bee provides playout and disaster recovery facilities for more than one hundred channels in a variety of management and monitoring configurations.
To ensure that each operator can monitor the right signals, Red Bee requires a readily reconfigured multiviewer system, which led it to choose PRISMON from Rohde & Schwarz. PRISMON is a software-defined multiviewer running on COTS hardware, and capable of handling signal formats up to 4k Ultra HD, both for displays and for individual streams within mosaics.
Red Bee selected the SDM (Scalable Distributed Multiviewer) and the MCC (Multiviewer Control Centre) options. SDM, unique to Rohde & Schwarz, enables any input to any output, and allows PRISMON to share resources across a network, for instance to create a view with multiple Ultra HD signals, beyond the decoding capacity of a single system. MCC provides a single point of control for a network of multiviewers. This gives instant reconfiguration of multiple displays, either in response to the intuitive user interface or on command from a system-level automation system.
“Multiviewers are mission critical to our playout centres,” said Robert Luggar, Head of Broadcast Media Solutions and Platforms at Red Bee. “We need to monitor around 450 streams, so we need scale and flexibility. Today those streams are SDI, but Rohde & Schwarz demonstrated that the PRISMON configuration could handle that, but more important could easily be switched to IP in the future.”
Andreas Loges, Vice President Media Technologies at Rohde & Schwarz, commented “We competed fiercely for this contract against a number of other vendors. We won because we could deliver a drop-in solution, a direct replacement for the life-expired multiviewer, and because our software-defined approach is inherently a hybrid platform, supporting SDI and IP signals, in both SMPTE ST 2022-6 and ST 2110.
“Broadcasters around the world are facing the same challenge,” Loges added. “Existing multiviewers are reaching the ends of their lives and were built solely around SDI. Because of this hybrid capability, and the power of SDM, PRISMON is well positioned for many more large-scale playout centres.”
The contract was awarded in December 2020 and, despite the challenges of social distancing and staff protection, it was installed, commissioned and put into use in May 2021.