Article Overview

Global Digital Solutions for the Media World - Broadcasting Center Europe

BCE Headquarter

Located in Luxembourg, Broadcasting Center Europe (BCE) is a major European player providing technical services in the fields of TV, Radio, Telecommunications and IT. BCE was founded in January 2000 as a result of the merge of different technical entities of RTL Group. With a high qualified and motivated staff of 210 people, BCE serves about 400 clients in various sectors, such as TV channels, Radio stations, film distributors, producers, advertising companies, telecommunications operators and public services. With its know-how at the crossroads of the media technologies, BCE is well positioned to support clients in all their projects concerning multi-media content production and distribution – including the complete High Definition workflow from acquisition to transmission.

High Definition is mandatory

Image quality will be a strong differentiating factor for the success of future broadcasters. High Definition is mandatory right from the start. It is high time to start preparing for HD, as the demand for these contents is rising. Thanks to its extended range of specific brand-new equipments and to the multiple competences of its expert staff in image and audio processing, BCE is able to handle all kind of production (studio, mobile) and post-production requirements. From the pre-production stage to final mass duplication, customers can rely on broadcast quality equipment and experienced staff. A fully equipped HD studio, an HD OB Van and SNG vehicles can be hired to cope with all kinds of High Definition productions. In addition toshooting and editing, BCE also supplies broadcast level graphics in High Definition, transfer and dubbing services, including film-to-tape, tape-to-tape and tape-to-file transfers as well as a large variety of format conversations. Currently BCE supplies services for the television channels of the RTL Group: RTL TVI, Club RTL, Plug TV (Belgium), RTL4, RTL5, RTL7 (Netherlands), RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg channels 1 & 2 (Luxembourg), RTL9 and M6 (France). BCE is the main media processing laboratory for broadcasters such as RTL Television and Universal. Similar services are provided for distributors such as CLT-UFA International, Splendid, FremantleMedia and several others. In addition, BCE is working with major US film studios and some European distributors on the development of a web-based tape less contribution system. The integration of all the BCE services under a single entity simplifies supplier/customer relationships and accelerates the delivery of the final product. BCE is managing the contacts with the distributors to locate the media, transfer the media to the BCE facilities and archive the films and tapes in secure vaults. The portfolio of services also includes quality control operations, telecine transfers, duplication, language dubbing, titling or subtitling.

Degradation-proof digital data

The first step in enhancing content value is to transform it into degradation-proof digital data. Since the year 2000 BCE has built up a powerful digitization platform with a yearly capacity of 70.000 hours of programs. The exclusive features are: - The digitization quality is on a world class level and at the top of what current technology allows. Broadcast quality standards ITU-R 601 and 656 are scrupulously respected. - Digitized media are stored in a central archive facility with a capacity of 1.2 PetaBytes. This is a capacity equivalent to approximately 120.000 hours of film. - From a data point of view the archive facility is totally secured thanks to total mirroring of the facility and numerous levels of redundancy. From a security point of view, the site is a physical vault, with 24/7 staffing and high security controlled access.


Digital Media Logistics (DML)

Among the range of Digital Media Logistics services offered by BCE, the company has pioneered a complete end to end tape less workflow to process A/V media using the MXF file transfer protocol. The exclusive features are: - Transfer and distribution of audio/video contents faster than real time. - The process has been fine tuned to reduce logistics and handling costs to a minimum. - Access to a dense telecom network with facilities in most western European cities, giving wide coverage over the entire continent and easy linkup to major satellite operators such as SES, Eutelsat & others. - Transparent transcoding of media, allowing broadcast quality "ready to air" delivery of content.

Broadcasting Services for Radio and Television

The original mission of BCE is to provide Broadcasting services for Radio and Television channels. This traditional activity remains the core of the services delivered by BCE to 15 TV channels and 8 radio stations, from its 6 transmitter sites in the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. This demanding business also implies round the clock operations, with a very high level of reliability, high redundancy of equipments and dedicated expert teams of engineers for operations, support and maintenance of analogue and digital systems. In addition to the mere technical broadcasting, BCE has been able to develop numerous competences and tools. It allows BCE to propose today a full range of services to any media, for pre- or post-broadcasting activities, for standard or customized features, from low-cost to high level operations. Whatever the level of sophistication required, BCE always uses full digital server-based solutions, enabling the re-use of digital video contents as many times as needed without any additional processing. For generalist TV channels, the complete package includes play-list management, logistics for handling the media, digitizing and filing, live-feed reception, MPEG-2 server-based play-out, final control of broadcasts with logo or character insertions, digital storage of content, signal quality monitoring, signal delivery to uplink points or to cable networks. Many additional services are offered “a la carte”: press bulletin preparation, production of trailers, quality control of delivered material, supply of archive material, teletext services, authors’ rights declarations, as run log monitoring, program grid design, etc... BCE offers as well flexible playout solutions for thematic channels: thematic niche channels often have a high number of repeated programmes. They can thus fully benefit from BCE's video-server based infrastructure to rapidly set up the new TV program and play over and over selected sequences of content, with the same perfect quality. Play list management can be kept extremely simple thanks to the use of in-house developed software tools. Signals produced are in strict compliance with the DVB standards. They can be encoded at the bit-rate of your choice, either free-to-air or scrambled, and be delivered directly to the main satellite or cable operators (SES Astra main uplink centre in Betzdorf or to EutelSat Hot Bird facilities in Luxembourg)


Over 20 years of Experience

With over 20 years of experience gained in launching and operating television channels and radio stations throughout Europe, BCE's Engineering and Consulting Department is uniquely positioned in bringing multimedia projects into a new dimension. BCE will recommend the most appropriate and cost-effective technology for their customers, from production to broadcasting, including archiving and storage. BCE’s expert knowledge of the industry allows them to advise customers on the right choice of local or international suppliers and products, because BCE is not tied to any particular manufacturer, customers can rely on their impartial and neutral recommendations.