Advanced Television

SWR deploys Pixel Power solution from Rohde & Schwarz

May 29, 2024

Rohde & Schwarz has implemented its Pixel Power graphics and playout solution at Südwestrundfunk (SWR), the regional German broadcaster based in Baden-Baden. SWR is part of the German federated ARD consortium and provides the primary playout facilities not only for its own channels but for other southern German broadcasters, including Saarländischer Rundfunk (SR), Hessischer Rundfunk (HR) and Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR).   

As its existing playout infrastructure reached end-of-life, SWR decided to move to a modern, software-defined solution. Central to its strategy was that graphics and branding must be an integrated part of the new solution.    

After intensive benchmarking, SWR selected Pixel Power, a Rohde & Schwarz company, as the preferred solution to meet its requirements. Pixel Power Gallium automation and StreamMaster signal processing are software-defined and can be configured to precisely meet the requirements of each user. Pixel Power’s long history as a company renowned for high-quality graphics was also a critical deciding factor.   

“In our search for a modern playout solution, we wanted a solution that is truly future-proof, flexible and highly scalable,” said Udo Fettig, Project Manager at SWR. “Gallium and StreamMaster are our chosen solutions providing all necessary information in one graphical user interface, without restrictions. We could lay the system out to suit all our operational workflows.”    

Central to SWR’s operational requirements was not only the ability to manage live events and schedule interventions but have the agility to add live graphics when required, from lottery results to severe weather warnings. The new solution also supports text-to-speech functionality to provide access to emergency alerts for visually impaired viewers.    

“Live content is absolutely central to linear channels,” said James Gilbert, CEO of Pixel Power and Director of Product Management for Rohde & Schwarz media solutions. “Thematic channels will ultimately be replaced by VoD: linear broadcasters must have the ability not only to integrate live events but also to react to changing situations,” adds Gilbert.    

Gallium and StreamMaster are software applications running on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware which can be configured to create the workflows required. The solution can operate on premises, in the cloud, or as a hybrid. It also inherently supports remote access, and SWR has already run its output with the channel controller from a home office location while retaining all the flexibility and interactivity around live interventions and unscheduled events.    

“We are happy that the system is expandable and can scale up easily to meet our evolving requirements. Playout needs can arise very quickly, and the system lets us be even quicker,” says Andreas Mungenast, Head of Playout and Media Operations Center SWR.    

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