ZDF Bases Flexible Virtual Studio News Operation Around UTAH-400

SALT LAKE CITY — Sept. 8, 2008 — Utah Scientific today announced that ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen), Germany's national public television broadcaster, has deployed the company’s UTAH-400 digital routing switcher at the core of a new studio facility ...
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SALT LAKE CITY — Sept. 8, 2008 — Utah Scientific today announced that ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen), Germany's national public television broadcaster, has deployed the company’s UTAH-400 digital routing switcher at the core of a new studio facility in Mainz dedicated to 24/7 news broadcasting. The routing system was sold and installed through Utah Scientific’s German distributor and systems integrator SHM Broadcast, GMBH. The facility uses virtual studio technology and a highly flexible routing architecture to allow production crews to switch quickly between sets for ZDF’s flagship news programs, including “Heute News,” “Heute-Journal,” “Mittagsmagazin,” “Wochenjournal,” “Logo,” and “Blickpunkt.”

For maximum flexibility, almost all of the studio’s components — including studio cameras, video mixers, chroma keyers, linear keyer, and graphics and monitoring systems — are routed through the UTAH-400, which is configured with 400x576 crossover points, upgradeable to 576x576. The system architecture avoids direct connections between equipment in the studio, building in the potential to not only switch very quickly between setups for each news program, but also to create new configurations easily for future requirements. In the event of a failure of any studio component, production staff can quickly cross-mix; for example, rerouting all the inputs to the video mixer or outputs to the graphics system, or connecting the equipment of one studio with another.

“ZDF’s new studio will be in operation 24/7 to provide the station’s news coverage,” said Juergen Helscher, managing director, SHM Broadcast. “It’s essential that production crews can not only switch between operational setups quickly, but also be assured of trouble-free performance of the entire studio. By basing the studio architecture around the UTAH-400, ZDF has laid the foundation for an extremely flexible and versatile facility that can respond instantly to unexpected events.”

Consisting of modular blocks, the UTAH-400 provides the high degree of redundancy that allowed ZDF’s technical staff to design the facility around a single router. Each block has dual power supplies and dual controls for the crosspoint cards, allowing ample capacity for continued operation should any block fail.

“ZDF’s studio design, with virtual set technology and the UTAH-400 at the core, makes for a very efficient use of resources,” said Scott Bosen, international sales manager of Utah Scientific. “It’s an endorsement of the robust performance and built-in redundancy of the UTAH-400 that broadcasters like ZDF are able to design innovative facilities around it.”

The UTAH-400 digital routing switcher family includes HD and SD digital video switchers and AES/EBU digital audio switchers in all matrix sizes. Specifically designed to address the growing requirement for large switching systems, the UTAH-400 is based on an innovative matrix architecture that greatly reduces system complexity, resulting in commensurate reductions in rack space and power requirements.

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About ZDF

Based in Mainz, ZDF is Germany’s national public television broadcaster, reaching its viewers by cable, satellite, or terrestrial antenna, both in analog and digital format. As a public service broadcaster, ZDF has a remit to provide information, education, and entertainment in its programming, reaching viewers of all ages and in all parts of Germany. With a clear focus on news and current affairs, ZDF is also particularly successful with documentaries, fiction, and sports programs, and has proved able to defend a leading position in the highly competitive environment of currently more than 30 German public or commercial free-to-air TV channels.

About Utah Scientific, Inc.

Utah Scientific, Inc. is a leading manufacturer of analog, digital, and HDTV routing switchers, master control switchers, and related products including a full range of software for controlling and managing switching systems. The company has been serving the broadcast industry for 30 years with industry-leading products and best-in-class service and support as recognized by Frost & Sullivan with its 2005 Customer Service Leadership Award and demonstrated by the industry's first 10-year warranty. Additional information about the company can be found at www.utahscientific.com.