This one is close to my heart, because it involves the dear old British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Ah, the hours I spent watching their programs in my youth…
Anyway, I just heard that the BBC R&D Group and Xilinx are demonstrating a prototype camera-back device (Stagebox) at the National Association of Broadcasters Show (NAB), Booth #N4319. This Stagebox enables the transport of professional quality video over internet protocol (IP)-based networks.
The BBC R&D Stagebox can be attached to the back of any broadcast-quality camera. Due to the integration of more system functionality onto a Xilinx field programmable gate array (FPGA), expensive and cumbersome SDI/audio/talkback and ancillary cabling can be replaced with a single network cable (fiber or Cat6). The small form factor device effectively expands the reach of video networks to remote production sites and studios using IP networks.
“CoreEL’s H.264/AVC-I codec IP core combined with our flexible FPGAs allowed BBC R&D engineers to quickly and cost-effectively build and deploy an incredibly innovative solution to a longstanding problem,” said Ben Runyan, director of broadcast and consumer segment marketing at Xilinx. “The ubiquity of video in all areas of our society is pushing broadcasters and equipment makers to constantly develop new solutions to the challenges across the acquisition, contribution, and distribution broadcast networks to be consumed by an information-hungry public.”
BBC R&D’s Stagebox prototype camera-back device enables the transport of professional quality video over IP-based networks. The BBC R&D Stagebox (shown sitting on top of an Ethernet switch in this image) can be attached to the back of any broadcast-quality camera. (Photo courtesy BBC R&D)
In both sports settings and extremely hazardous news-gathering conditions, BBC R&D’s Stagebox technology will allow real-time video streaming to production crews and equipment far away from the action. Whereas HD-SDI cable reaches 100-200 meters at most, IP networks run all over the world. Using only a single network cable for all camera signals also lends enhanced mobility and simplicity for a camera crew and lowers operating expenses by reducing cabling challenges.“BBC R&D’s Stagebox is designed to work with our huge range of different programs, from live sports productions through to breaking news stories on the other side of the world,”
said Brandon Butterworth, chief scientist at BBC R&D. “By combining the many different requirements of a camera operator with CoreEL’s H.264/AVC-I codec and our own intellectual property we have been able to develop an incredibly useful set of technologies which run on Xilinx’s Virtex-6 FPGAs.”CoreEL Technologies
, a Premier Xilinx Alliance Program Member and system level products and solutions provider, along with its partner Leading Light Technologies
(L2Tek), will market the solution globally.“High levels of system integration were needed to design the Stagebox technology. By combining the Virtex-6 FPGA, CoreEL’s Codec and the BBC’s IP, we were able to develop a tightly integrated solution which will now pave the way for faster adoption of AVC-I Codec for video contribution applications,”
said Guruprasad M. Parthasarathy, director of marketing at CoreEL. “In addition to providing the single chip AVC-I Codec vital for the Stagebox technology, CoreEL will also produce and supply the modules to the industry further extending our offering to the OEM market segment.”“By using a Xilinx FPGA and CoreEL’s H.264/AVC-I codec IP core for BBC R&D’s Stagebox technology, we are able to combine emerging technology with shrinking time-to-market budgets and get a world-leading product to market very quickly and cost effectively, while maintaining the very high performance and quality needed for this application,”
said Mark Scott-South, director of sales at L2tek.
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