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BCD expands radio webcasting range

Kevin Hilton 23 February 2011

A new low cost four-way webcasting control system for radio stations was launched at Broadcast Video Expo in London last week, with commercial stations the target audience, writes Kevin Hilton. BCD Audio already produces a six-way version, which is used at BBC Radio Five Live in London, with another 12 systems set to go into facilities at MediaCityUK (MCUK) in Salford Quays. The current system developed from a video installation at the Houses of Parliament. BCD’s managing director, Mike Law (pictured with the system), says that led him to think the technology could be adapted for radio situations, with cameras switched through a router responding to whichever mic is being used at the time. In the six-way version, which has been used at Radio Five Live in London for the past year, up to six camera feeds are received and synchronised by a vision switcher, with the SDI output routed to the relevant camera. Switching is triggered by either the microphones or from the mixing consoles. Radio Five Live’s operations are moving to MCUK this year and 12 BCD studio webcast systems will be installed in the BBC facilities there. Law explains that boards based on FPGA (field-programmable gate array) technology, featuring DSPs, will be fitted into the Studer on air desks to work with the vision switchers. The new four-way system shown at BVE 2011 is aimed at commercial radio stations on lower budgets. Law observes that £300 consumer camcorders can be used for webcasts instead of more expensive professional models, as has been the case with the six-way version.

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