In the NBC Control Room for the World Cup, the MPE team used Apantac KVM-over-IP to control computers and servers from a single console – display, mouse and keyboard.
National public television broadcaster ZDF produced and delivered the World Cup live in Germany on free-to-air television. Rather than travelling to Qatar to work on-site, production of the games was handled remotely at the National Broadcasting Center (NBC) located at ZDF in Mainz.
IP systems and their adoption within the broadcast environment have made KVM technology practical in many more scenarios than previously. IP connectivity brings significant advantages in terms of architecture flexibility and capabilities over traditional approaches. For this project, the Mobile Production Einheit (MPE), flight-case infrastructure that ARD and ZDF jointly develop and operate for complex, large-scale events, was used. The MPE’s flight-case racks are equipped with different components, depending on the application and can accommodate unexpected expansion and temporary integration of rental equipment.
In 2020, MPE was upgraded to full IP functionality in its core components so that the racks operate based on SMPTE 2110, SMPTE 2022-7 redundant, including NMOS (IS-04/IS-05), and are PTP-compliant. The 2022-7 standard’s redundancy works by duplicating the input stream and sending it via two different paths to the destination receiver, which combines them and reconstructs the original stream. Any packets lost on path 1 are taken from path 2.
The MPE technical team wanted to use a KVM-over-IP extender/receiver set-up so that they could extend and switch video signals, keyboard and mouse functions, plus embedded and analogue audio signals – all over IP. They purchased more than 150 KVM-over-IP transmitters (Tx) and receivers (Rx) and free flow software licenses from Apantac via Broadcast Solutions Produkte und Service, Apantac’s representative in Germany.
Apantac KVM-over-IP devices with magnetic bases make them straightforward to install.
Using the Apantac system, the operators are able to access all computers and servers on the network from any of the display, keyboard and mouse consoles. The receivers allow the incoming video to be scaled to match the resolution of the computer console monitor, regardless of the source computer resolution. The free flow licenses allow operators to control up to four consoles from a single keyboard and mouse, just by moving the mouse pointer across the different displays.
A custom piece of KVM-over-IP Transmitter Firmware has been designed for this project. The Firmware adds an extra 3840x1080 EDID (Extended Display Identification) to the Tx module, which addresses MPE’s need to display two computers (top and bottom) on a single 16:9 UHD monitor. The EDID is a signal transmission that transmits the display’s native resolution to the source device, and configures the video card to automatically match the display’s native resolution.
“Apantac’s KVM-over-IP system gives us a KVM matrix with a scalable architecture, without requiring a centralised configuration server,” said Patrick Jung, chief operator in the NBC, where remote production was underway. “It has been simple to install due to the magnetic base of the Tx and Rx modules, and straightforward to use.” www.apantac.com