RTBF moves towards HD with new DSNG vehicles

Belgium: Belgium’s national French speaking broadcaster, RTBF (Radio Télévision Belge de la communauté Française), has two new DSNG vehicles on the road which it’s kitted out with the Ateme encoding platform for video contribution from events such as the Belgian Grand Prix.

RTBF apparently evaluated encoders from several leading vendors but went for Ateme because of their superior interoperability and futureproofing. Interoperability with encoders and decoders from other vendors was the top consideration, reflecting RTBF’s need to cooperate frequently with broadcasters in neighbouring countries including France, Germany, and the Netherlands, according to RTBF Broadcast Engineer Kevin Preumont. ”What impressed us most about Ateme was the interoperability. We tested an Ateme contribution pair with equipment from American, European and Japanese vendors and it never failed. This is very important for us because we don’t know which equipment our colleagues will use for satellite transmission.”

A particularly important factor on the interoperability front was Ateme support of BISS (Basic Interoperable Scrambling System), which was developed and is promoted by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), and now being widely adopted for satellite contribution. This will make it easier for RTBF when it contributes pictures for events broadcast globally, such as the Belgian Formula One Grand Prix.

Flexibility and value for money were other important considerations in RTBF’s choice of Ateme. “The fact we can use these encoder/decoders not only for DSNG but also for temporary microwave links in the future is really attractive. This is possible because the encoders output both ASI and IP.” said Preumont.

The other major consideration was futureproofing and in particular the ability of the Ateme encoders to support the 4:2:2 10-bit H.264 encoding standard. Like a number of other broadcasters, RTBF will not be using 4:2:2 10-bit H.264 encoding immediately, but plans to do so in the future.

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