STN Slovenia opens 100-channel teleport

For many companies in the West, this year is not a good one to embark upon a new venture. But family company Satellite Telecommunications Network (STN) identified an opportunity to build a teleport that could serve a large area that is currently poorly served by satellite distribution facilities. That area is Central and Eastern Europe, plus the Middle East.

STN started four years ago in leased premises in Ljubljana, the capital city of Slovenia. The original business provided satellite turnaround and playout facilities. With limited space for expansion, the Lovsin family looked for a new site that would provide the space to expand in line with their future business plans. The new site is set literally in a green field, and is some 10km from Ljubljana. Strategically located near to two power lines (the facility draws around 1MW), the new facility comprises a technical and office block and a dish farm set on a 20,000sq-m site.

The project started June 2008, and all services had been transferred from the old facility by the end of April 2009. It was officially opened May 11, and Broadcast Engineering had a tour of the facility. The site uplinks about 100 channels, with eight played from the facility and the rest being turnaround. Because clients use a number of languages, the company also offers DVB multilanguage subtitling.

The decoding, encoding and multiplexing equipment was provided by TANDBERG Television and can handle SD/HD encoded as MPEG-2 or MPEG-4. IRDs are TT1222/TT1260 and RX1290; encoders are the EN57xx and EN80xx series; and the MX8400 series in a 1+1 redundancy configuration provides multiplexing. Encryption is provided via the chosen platform of the client.

The baseband video is handled by the Miranda Densité range, and most audio is embedded into the video signal. SDI signals are routed via Network Electronics’ VikinX modular and Sublime series routers.

At the heart of the facility is the MCR. A wall of Miranda Kaleido-X multiviewers provides video monitoring, and when an audio check is required, a large pair of Genelec speakers can fill the room. To ensure signal integrity, Tektronix MTM400A analyzers are used to monitor transport streams, Harris Videotek waveform monitoring for video and DK Technologies analyzers for the audio. The entire system is monitored through the Miranda iControl system, linked in to the Kaleido-X multiviewer system. The system is configured to monitor by exception, so the operator is only presented with deviations from normal operation.

All incoming signals are synched to local timing reference. If standards conversion is required, the company can offer Snell conversion equipment in the signal chain. Evertz SPGs provides the master clocks locked to GPS, and there is a mix of Evertz and Miranda distribution amplifiers.

On the RF side, the many antenna use ASC TX/RX for C-, Ku-, K- (DBS) and Ka-band. STN uplink and downlink is provided via satellites including Intelsat, Eutelsat and Astra for distribution and DTH. The teleport is also equipped for occasional-use services. In addition to satellite connections, the facility is also linked via redundant fiber circuits to the Internet backbone, because some clients prefer to use IP over fiber contribution links.

The entire facility was designed by managing director Tomaz Lovsin. Through designing the facility to his own exacting standards rather than using a systems integrator, Tomaz has retained an intimate knowledge of every intricacy of the system. He is already looking at the next phase of the facility, which promises to add further to the services than just an STN can offer.

At the launch party, the company announced the acquisition of an OB company, Digital Video Broadcasting, which provides live event and SNG capability. A more in-depth feature about the system, with a focus on the control and monitoring, will run in a future issue of the Broadcast Engineering World.