In the early days of broadcasting, “the patch panel” was the only way to get sources and destinations changed that were otherwise hardwired to each other. It is difficult to credit the person who first came up with the passive mechanical patch panel, but they soon gave way to active devices that would permit one source to be delivered to multiple outputs. Thus, the routing switcher was born.
In the early days of broadcast routing, switchers just switched audio and video. More complex systems that would switch video, multiple channels of audio, time code and even machine control were soon developed. As digital became a part of the broadcast industry, and since all the bits representing each of these functions could be multiplexed together and sent down the same path, wiring became much simpler and easier.
One company capable of addressing all these configurations is Miranda Technologies, with their Network series of routers which offer a complete range of analog and digital, video, audio, high-definition and telecom routers in compact packages.
The goal in designing this equipment is to create a maintenance-free environment. Each router and control panel is equipped with its own local controller, thus ensuring overall system integrity and decentralizing the control of the system.
The routing switchers are compact so they can be easily mounted in the rear of a rack to maximize rack space. The routers can be configured for standard definition or high definition to meet each facility's digital configuration.
The routers offer eight levels of independent control. All models in the series can be combined with each other to form larger multi-level audio and video systems.
They feature a PC multi-user access control system, and single bus and X-Y control panels are also an option. The monitoring and control of the system is done by using iControl Web-based management software. Additionally, the routing switchers will interface with nearly any of the automation systems currently available in the broadcast marketplace.
Making sure that nearly 200 stations get what they are supposed to, when they are supposed to, is no easy task. An elaborate router system, driven by a specialized automation system, has to be in place to accomplish this. After significant evaluation, NBC selected the Miranda Network 8×8 serial digital router as the backbone for switching their new digital Skypath system and the associated integrated receiver decoders (IRD) at their affiliates to the appropriate outputs.
The model router NBC purchased is capable of up to 360 Mbit/s with equalization out to 300m.
The Miranda Network series routers feature the following options:
- FormatsThe Network series routers are available in wideband analog video (up to 250 MHz), analog audio, digital video (143 to 540 Mbit/s), DVB/ASI, HD from 143 Mbit/s to 1.5 Gbit/s, digital audio (balanced 110 ohms or unbalanced 75 ohms), telecom formats 34/45 Mbit/s and 140/155 Mbit/s, and in RS-422 data.
- SizesThe Network series routers are available in sizes of 16×2 up to 128×2, 8×8, 16×16, 32×32 and 64×64.
- Control PanelsA variety of push button control panels are available in sizes of 8×1, 8×8, 16×1, 16×2, 16×16, 32×1, 32×32, 64×1 and universal alphanumeric X-Y. Panels are also available with an optional GPI/Joystick/Tally interface.
- Multi-Level SystemsAll models in the Network series can be combined with each other to form larger multi-level audio and video systems.
For more information on routing switchers go to www.miranda.com.
Larry Bloomfield is a consultant in the broadcast industry.