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STUDIO KVM extenders and matrix switches in Broadcast Enno Littmann, managing director of IHSE discusses the importance of to many different fields of operation within the broadcast studio workflow and details some of the most effective and relevant applications of the technology. remotely-located servers and user workstations They permit centralised, secure processing and storage with instant switching between sources and near-zero latency of signals. Equally as important, the user workstation is divorced from the server: with a KVM switch, all users can have access to all source devices – subject to administrator-assigned rights and access permission. This means that the user can access post-production servers, scheduling computers and other sources at their own terminal and can instantly switch between them. How does a KVM switch compare with a video router? You can think of a KVM switch as a parallel device to the main broadcast video router. I The KVM Matrix Switch dynamically connects individuals to computing processes through a matrix, in much the same way that a video router connects services to content in the broadcast transmission chain. It facilitates centralised content storage and application processing whilst allowing ‘local’ access by users. The user, sitting at their workstation (which is just a video screen, keyboard and mouse) can access and operate a remote computer, associated with a central fi le storage system. They are unaware of the switch and continue to work as though the computer was located right by their desk. What is the background of IHSE? A KVM Matrix Switch can be easily integrated into the broadcast environment and controlled with the same broadcast system control software as the rest of the studio. So it can be seamlessly integrated into the workfl ow. How successful has exhibiting at IBC been in the past? BC 2014 marks the fifth successive year that IHSE has exhibited at the exhibition. Each year since 2009 we have moved to a more prominent position, increased the size of the stand and generated greater levels of interest amongst visitors. Many of whom have not previously been aware of the relevance of KVM technology in the broadcast industry. IHSE is approaching its 30th year of operation. From our base near Lake Constance in Germany, we have grown to become a leading developer and manufacturer of advanced KVM extenders and switches that are used throughout the world. They have been used extensively across a range of industries, from utility control rooms to government and military command centres, commercial enterprises and air traffi c control towers; to name a few. It is only more recently that the techniques and technology in broadcast have become aligned with our products. Why KVM in broadcast? In recent years, the broadcast industry has experienced a major shift toward fi le-based video strategies for content storage, post production and playout. This has resulted in an inevitable need to serve, manage and distribute fi les at all stages of the broadcast workfl ow. At the same time, server storage capability and the power of video processing equipment have grown radically. In any broadcast environment, whether playout or production, the emphasis has always been on centralised content management and security; which is counter to the computer-industry norm of localised processing and storage. KVM Matrix Switches provide the central switching capability that enables dynamic communication between In which types of broadcast environment are KVM switches used? KVM switches are used throughout the broadcast workfl ow. In broadcast TV and radio studios workstations can be confi gured according to presenters’ and producers’ needs and can be instantly changed when the broadcast programme changes. So studios can be multi-purpose and not designated to specifi c tasks. There are several options to control the KVM Matrix Switch which gives fl exibility in integration: it can be integrated into a broadcast control software package, controlled over a network using the Draco tera tool, managed through its own OSD or integrated with a third party controller through a serial interface. All these types of control mechanism are regularly used, depending upon the installation requirements and whichever is the most appropriate. In post production edit suites and cinema CGI studios assets can be held securely under normal version control procedures. While USB HID access is always available, content cannot be copied from the computer onto USB fl ash sticks if no USB 2.0 port is provided at the user workstation – of course this can be added if the capability is required. Licences for editing tools and other systems can be shared amongst users rather than provided to each one; saving cost and increasing fl exibility. 62 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 92 AUGUST 2014 TV-BAY092AUG14.indd 62 08/08/2014 15:29