Thomson Brings K2, Reliable HD to Europe

Thomson Grass Valley recently completed two large projects, installing K2 Media Servers with HD production capability for major Swiss and German clients.

ARD, Germany's leading federal broadcast network, called upon Thomson to upgrade their existing standard definition (SD) playout facility. Systems integration engineers from Thomson set up the new HD K2 Media Servers alongside existing Thomson Grass Valley Profile servers, avoiding an increased workload on the Play-Out-Center. The system integration allowed support to the extra channel without additional resource requirements, all within an impressive 10-week timeline.

"We have worked with the Thomson systems group in the past and were confident that they would meet those challenges," said ARD Play-Out-Center Technical Project Manager Boris Götze. "Our confidence was fully justified, as the team delivered an excellent HD capability, complete with monitoring and quality control systems. Their excellent project management also included the extension of our automation system to handle the HDTV channel without any disruption to our existing services."

The installation was part of an HDTV showcase for IFA, one of the largest consumer electronics trade shows in the world, and Germany's first open exhibition of an HDTV channel from a public broadcaster. The transmission increased awareness of HDTV's benefits while verifying the complete playout and broadcast chain.

For their transition to HDTV, Swiss broadcaster TSI installed a Thomson production platform in their Lugano facility, located in southern Switzerland. The platform is comprised of a 16-channel HD K2 Media Server and a Thomson Grass Valley Aurora production suite for ingest and playout.

"We needed to develop an HD studio production capability for the entertainment programming," said Marco Derighetti, a TSI engineering manager. "We considered a number of suppliers, but Thomson was able to deliver a complete, integrated solution that is scalable for the future (e.g. connecting other studios together while sharing resources), flexible in operation and sits comfortably in a file-based environment."

"What we are able to do with systems such as the one we have implemented at TSI in Lugano, is to help broadcasters through the transition to HD with solutions that meet their real workflow needs and are highly functional, yet fit into an existing broadcast installation because they are based on open standards."

The Thomson Grass Valley K2 Media Server brings together advanced IT technologies with state-of-the-art broadcast video server hardware, resulting in a cost-effective, adaptable, scalable and easy-to-use client/server architecture.

—Brian Smith