M6 embraces Evertz IP technology for new playout centre

French broadcaster M6 has embraced Evertz’s new IP technology to transform its master control room (MCR), in order to create more space for future channel expansion.

The switch from SDI to IP (ST 2110) will allow M6 to easily incorporate new HD services, new delivery platforms and new video formats such as Ultra HD 4K and 8K.

Based in Neuilly sur Seine, M6’s new MCR now hosts playout for 11 channels including the broadcaster’s premium M6 channel and other popular channels such as W9, Série Club, 6TER, and Teva, to name a few.

Franck Martin, M6 technical manager, commented: “Investing in IP technology has made it much quicker and easier for us to add more channels and offer UHD channels in the future. We have also improved the monitoring and ergonomics of our playout centre by installing Evertz Vue software, which allows us to manage our video wall to turn on the screens when alarms are triggered. The black screen is less tiring for our technicians and its ignition on alarm attracts more attention, compared to a permanently lit wall.”

M6’s new MCR features Evertz EXE-VSR IP switch fabric, which provides 46Tb/s of switching capacity and delivers exceptional flexibility and scalability for video transport over IP.

The system installed comprises 11 sections, one for each channel path and all with similar sets of equipment. Common to each section is an advanced multi-image display processor with customisable next-generation Evertz image processing technology, an Evertz evBlade offering high-density FPGA processing nodes for audio, video and ancillary data processing, a high-density Evertz IP media gateway offering conversion between SDI and all common IP formats, and an Evertz advanced clean switch to protect the integrity of output video, even when faced with a catastrophic error and an Evertz ST 2110 to HDMI converter.

Fabrice Tauzies, chief engineer for the playout centre at M6, added: “We built the new MCR in the same location as the old one, so we faced some practical issues regarding space. Obviously, we couldn’t shut down and strip out the old MCR because that was still handling playout for all our channels, so we had to work around it. It was a challenge, but we took our time because we wanted to do it properly and we were not in a hurry.”

M6 migrated to the new system on a channel by channel basis, freeing up rack space for the next channel as it went along.

Robert Peter, Evertz’s vice president of international operations, said: “We are pleased to continue our relationship with the management and engineering group of M6 as they use Evertz IP technology in their upgrade and transformation project. As this was one of the larger IP / ST 2110 installations in Europe, we were able to work closely with M6 in all stages of the project from solution and design to the deployment and training. We are very excited to continue to provide local support for the deployment of remaining channels and participation in any future M6 projects.”

Having a solution that can be used for future projects was always M6’s plan, and there is now talk of building a second backup IP playout facility, although this is still some way off in the future.

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