The latest assignment involved a company wanting to create a demonstration facility. This site would showcase their large-scale video/audio/data server systems for the broadcast industry.

The product line includes specialized video server systems for:

Additionally, the facility would include working systems of all of the company’s editing systems. These sub-systems would feed into the proper server system and demonstrate the media management capabilities of the appropriate software.
Together these would emulate portions of the complex requirements of a large broadcast facility.

In addition, signal source and routing equipment were required. This included:

As soon as a preliminary equipment list was formed, drawings were generated to document signal flow. These drawings were also used for approvals, to create cable labels, building checklists and as an aid in system understanding and maintenance by the in-house staff. As changes were made during construction, these drawings were continually updated.

I recommended early on that a modular rack mounting system for the equipment would ease installation and maintenance. The racks would also facilitate upgrades and replacement of the CPUs, servers and other equipment as new products were added and updated.

The racks were to be located in a glass walled machine room. This would overlook a large theater area with a 10’ x 12’ projection screen.

The projector for this room would be required to pass several different video sources simultaneously. These would include SDI, HDSDI in a number of formats and several flavors of VGA computer video. After several evaluations the Barco iConH600 was chosen.

For KVM routing an Avocent AMX switch was specified. The AMX5010 Switch can matrix up to 64 computers and 16 Users. Because the editing applications use two monitors, a second AMX5010 was installed. This provided for multiple monitors and future expansion.

The nVision NV5128 router with NV9000LS control system was chosen for the video/audio/data (deck control) router.

In addition to the Machine Room and Theater, there are three edit suites. The KVM router allows two monitor/keyboard/mouse set-ups in each suite to control any of the servers or editing applications. There are also several KVM drops in nearby rooms. During crunch time leading up to a major trade show, such as NAB or IBC, other departments can work on presentations using the equipment already installed in the racks.

To avoid the cost of a raised floor, cabling was run above the racks.


Between rooms, plenum rated cables were installed above a suspended ceiling.

Because the KVM routing and nVision controllers use CAT 5 or 6 cabling, paired wiring was extensively used in the interconnections. A typical edit station would have an SDI, HDSDI and audio cables for monitoring. There would be two CAT6 cables for KVM switching from the Avocent. In addition there would be another CAT6 cable from the nVision router.

During construction, the Demo Center was used several times, mostly for teaching seminars to familiarize the sales force with new product lines. In addition it was used extensively for NAB preparation. By the time we returned from NAB, customer demonstrations were already in progress.

By the time major construction was completed, the in-house staff was breaking down the systems to upgrade and utilize the latest products. This facility should prove to be an easily upgradeable system and keep pace with the evolving technology.

Jim Alfonse, owner of Tri-Sys Designs, is a Systems Integrator with twenty-five years experience in the Broadcast Industry. He's designed, built and commissioned installations from Satellite News Vehicles to Production Suites to OB vans. Jim has been involved with several equipment manufacturers performing video standards compliance and signal integrity testing.
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