ITV and Channel 4’s terrestrial Freeview channels float into the cloud

Certain ITV and Channel 4 channels have moved to cloud-based processing, following a multi-million-pound contract with BT.

The move by Digital 3&4 (a JV established by ITV and Channel 4) will see BT switch on ‘start-to-finish’ cloud processing for regionalised TV content across all the former’s Freeview channels to 28 regions across the UK. It’s described as a ‘landmark move away from legacy hardware to a smart broadcast network.’

It’s being done on BT Media and Broadcast’s new ‘smart broadcast network’ Vena, which it describes as delivering digital coding and multiplexing to combine multiple content streams into one before distribution regionally. This involved taking content from six playout centres and distributing it across the country.

We’re told this is the first time that cloud processing of digital terrestrial TV channels has been completed on this scale, and that the benefits of running it that way rather than through aforementioned legacy hardware are that it’s more efficient, cheaper, involves less energy consumption, and brings flexibility for production and distribution.

“This launch marks a major development for the TV industry as a whole,” said Faisal Mahomed, Director of BT Media and Broadcast & Portfolio Businesses. “It will offer more possibilities for broadcasters to connect and interact with their audiences. We have seen remarkable innovation and collaboration across BT, D3&4 and our partner Ateme to get to this point. The service, built on Vena, is only the start of what’s possible on BT’s smart broadcast network – as we continue to drive digitisation, and to innovate solutions to support TV delivery in the UK and across the globe.”

Greg Bensberg MBE, Managing Director at Digital 3&4 Limited added: “Our partnership with BT has enabled us to take a giant leap forward in delivering Freeview TV for 18 million regular viewers across the UK. This was a challenging project that required meticulous planning and execution, and we’re proud to have worked with a company that shares our passion for innovation and excellence. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with BT and driving the future of broadcasting in the UK.”

There was no mention of how much the deal was for, though it was described as a ‘multi-million-pound contract.’

Also on the theme of BT updating older architecture, the group today relaunched Digital Voice, a scheme to switch landline customers to VoIP telephony from analogue. Trials will start with a small group of lower usage landline customers who already have full fibre, who will be contacted four weeks before the switchover, BT said.


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