Siemens in digital TV partnership

Alongside the UK switchover to digital television broadcasting, Siemens is introducing digital production systems at ITV and the BBC

Alongside the UK switchover to digital television broadcasting which will take place between 2008 and 2010, Siemens is introducing digital production systems at ITV and the BBC.

Using the new systems, editors will be able to edit their reports on PC, access archives for research purposes, then cut and provide the finished report to production all from the same place. This will allow them to broadcast breaking news sooner and produce programmes more flexibly.

Major broadcasters have already introduced digital transmission technologies, including digital video broadcasting (DVB) and high definition TV (HDTV). However, production techniques are currently lagging behind, with many manual and analogue techniques and materials still being used, such as tapes, cassettes, cutting rooms and physical archives.

ITV has recently commissioned Bracknell-headquartered Siemens IT Solutions and Services to install a digital production system. The contract includes a central database and a video server linked to the ITV studios. This will enable the various production locations to exchange material in a matter of seconds, and make their production operations faster and more economical.

The BBC has pledged to digitise all of the Corporation’s processes by 2010, and first commissioned Siemens with the successive digitisation of the complete institution in 2004. This includes comprehensive solutions for end-to-end digital production, the technical equipment for a new transmission centre in Scotland and the establishment of a high performance network with a bandwidth that will be 400 times higher than at present. The BBC will be able to operate all of its IT services with even higher performance and cost-effectiveness.

Siemens will initially support the solution at ITV for three years, while the BBC contract, with a total value of around €2.7bn, runs for ten and a half years. To implement the digitisation process, Siemens has taken over running the BBC’s IT subsidiary BBC Technology, including its 1,400 employees.