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Coventry University installs new broadcast studio driven by Teracue

The new Teracue broadcast solution is helping to ensure students gain a realistic experience of working in a live news environment.

Coventry University, which last year was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ by the 2011 Times Higher Education Awards, recently installed a new Teracue-driven broadcasting studio for its Media Department.

Offering a range of undergraduate and post-graduate courses in media, media productions photography and journalism, the department wanted to allow its journalist students to experience working in a live news environment. The aim was to bring in live news channels, such as BBC News and Sky News, and radio broadcasts to create live interactivity between both the news and radio studios. In addition, live video footage shot in the university’s own broadcast studios needed to be integrated into the broadcast workflow.

Live video and audio streams also needed to be viewable on multiple end platforms around the campus, including desktops, MACs, and iOS devices. Through set top boxes, the streams were also to be played out onto large screens.

Broadcast solutions provider Garland Partners was enlisted to design and install the new system. The team opted to deploy Teracue DVB gateways to ensure multiple news channels off Freeview (DVB-S) can be brought straight into the news press rooms. These DVB-to-IP gateways also provide the means to bring in radio broadcasts and outputting over IP infrastructure. In addition to being extremely reliable, these gateways are housed in fanless chassis with no moving parts – making them very quiet.

The live video content shot by the Coventry students in their broadcast studio provide an input to the Teracue ENC-200 compact low-cost hardware encoder to convert to high-quality H264-encoded video and output over IP. Typical bitrates used are 2Mbps for streaming around the campus. The budding journalists are able to switch between the various live feeds and simulate a live news production facility. Seven live streams are available from which they can choose.

To be able to stream to Apple iOS devices, such as iPad and iPhone, the Teracue MC-TRANS device is being used to transcode to the correct bitrates and allow HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) at around 700Kbps. Other parameters can be set, such as resolution, bitrate, bitrate type (CBR/VBR), or GOP structure (Group of Pictures).

To view the live content on large screens, Garland Partners provided Coventry University with three Amino 130 IP Set Top Boxes (STBs), which allow channel selection to be made through the Amino infrared remote control unit.

Playback on MACs is available through the same embedded HLS player used to support delivery to the iOS devices. Live streaming to different players is possible since everything is based on open standards.

“Garland Partners really had the ability to understand the needs and ambitions of the University,” said Greg Milligan, Media Co-ordinator at Coventry University. “They adapted their solution to realise the requirements of the project and they delivered in an amazing turnaround.”