Upgrades to Bluebell multiplexer enable new 4K UHD conversion options
By: Fergal Ringrose
Friday, November 17, 2017 - 3:11 pm

Bluebell Opticom, provider of fibre-optic solutions for fixed and remote applications, has announced upgrades to its BN390 stand-alone interface that supports single-cable 4K UHDTV transport in broadcast studios and outside broadcast (OB) applications. Among other improvements, the BN390 multiplexer and demultiplexer modules are now capable of converting between all the various formats of 4K UHD (not just 12G-SDI) for both copper and fibre, and they come with an intuitive new software interface for easy remote configuration and signal monitoring.

The improvements come as part of Bluebell’s rollout of remote production tools and will be most helpful in OB trucks, stadiums, news facilities, and event venues, especially for sport applications.

“The industry has dictated that remote production is the way forward; therefore, remote access to hardware is key. In the past year, we’ve invested big in software that makes it simple to control our gear over the web or SNMP, and now that software is part of this highly sophisticated throw-down tool for single-cable transport of 4K UHD,” said Paul Felix McCann, managing director, Bluebell Opticom. “Between the simplicity of remote configuration and the new conversion capabilities, the BN390 makes it easier than ever to reconfigure workflow conditions to accommodate changing camera formats while using existing transport hardware and fibre networks for multiplatform broadcasting. Just plug it in, configure it, and go.”

The input on the original BN390 solution was fixed to convert four 3G-SDI signals to a single 12G-SDI output. The latest version can handle HD-SDI, 3G-SDI, 6G-SDI, and 12G-SDI and can be set for copper or fibre functionality. Because 12G-SDI doesn’t travel far over copper, the new BN390 units have optical ports as standard.

The BN390 can be set to configure itself automatically, or technicians can control it manually through an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI). Besides supporting SNMP access, each BN390 unit serves its own web page for management, setup, and configuration. An RJ45 port means the module can be connected directly to a laptop or hung on a network. The latest version maps the existing control software to Bluebell’s emerging GUI technology, built for simple hardware control during remote production. The GUI is a powerful, fast interface that controls the input signal format and the output format. It also works as a network monitor that reports signal loss and other error states.

“Remote configuration has always involved big, bulky, rack-based equipment. We’re changing that scenario with small, robust throw-down units that slot into a 4K UHD workflow beautifully,” McCann added. “This cost-effective, super-efficient, agile, and easy-to-operate multiplexer saves time and labour — and therefore money — for the operator.”