MediaStar System Meets Demands of Teletext
Dec 28, 2004 10:38 AM
Such is the demand for immediate and accurate information, Teletext, the TV and internet brand, last year initiated a major overhaul of its monitoring facilities to ensure it could check its own signals across multiple analogue and satellite TV channels.
The company, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2003, moved into new London headquarters in Chiswick. This, along with the installation of an up-to-date structured cabling system meant it would be easy to accommodate a solution providing access to TV channels and enabling staff to monitor the information they were uploading. Previously, data had been accessed via set-top boxes on individuals’ desks, which became very cluttered.
Teletext approached systems integrator, IVC, which designed a solution based on the Cabletime MediaStar Pro TV and video distribution system. This system has been specifically developed to deliver CATV, satellite and AV feeds, separately or simultaneously, depending on the requirement.
It was important to Teletext to be able to provide different levels of access to its users, to allow managers to oversee the activity and to use the system for billing clients.
Receivers and signal processors for all required services, including user dedicated digital receivers for selected groups and users, were centrally located within equipment cabinets in apparatus rooms on the building’s two main floors. All signal feeds from satellite and terrestrial sources were fed to these rooms where they were distributed to the receivers via cross connection panels for flexibility.
The two apparatus rooms provided two separate television headends, each capable of operating independently and providing up to 70 channels each. The signals from both of these headends were then distributed to MediaStar Pro hubs on both floors providing a flexible and highly resilient solution.
The hubs were allocated to serve a mixture of Teletext’s digital interactive users and static analogue users. MediaStar control software was used to assign the correct viewing rights for all hub ports and control access to interactive services.
The MediaStar system technology sends unmodified baseband video from the receiver or signal converter directly to the receiving equipment. This allows the use of standard teletext decoders for the analogue text services. Digital interactive text services were provided using the system capability to extend the infrared controls from the user via the structured cabling and MediaStar system direct to the receivers. The effect of this has minimised the equipment and cabling required at the users desks, reducing cluttering, and means that they can be easily cross-patched if they change location.
After a year using the MediaStar system, Teletext is very happy with the facility. Matthew Thomas-Stone, Teletext Systems Operations Manager, said: “It has been immensely useful and very stable since it was installed. Although we have the capacity to run up to 180 channels, we are currently running 80, and they are accessed by about 350 users. They share access across 160 screens and they find it easy and supportive to use. It has worked very well for us and has met all our requirements.”
MediaStar is used by hundreds of organisations of different kinds around the world, and is particularly popular within financial trading rooms, media companies, educational establishments, hospitals and sporting venues. Examples of installations in the UK include All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon, Scotsman Publications, Lowry Shopping Centre in Manchester and St Mary’s Stadium, home to Southampton FC.