SABC selects RTS intercoms for studio complex upgrade in Johannesburg
When South African Broadcast Corporation (SABC) decided to update the intercom system at its main television production complex in Johannesburg, it selected RTS equipment featuring OMNEO IP networking technology. As the state broadcaster for South Africa, SABC offers multiple terrestrial TV, satellite and Internet media distribution channels. Its Broadcast Centre studios produce a steady stream of news, live sports, game shows and soap opera programming for the residents of South Africa, positioning it as Africa’s premier broadcast operation.
Connecting directors to cameras, audio, floor managers, lighting operators and talents across a far-flung studio complex is a critical aspect of broadcasting, so the expansion of SABC Broadcast Centre to 12 studios was the perfect time to update its existing intercom system. Based on three RTS ADAM (Advanced Digital Audio Matrix) modular matrix frames installed in 1998, the system was still operational but the need to upgrade to a networkable digital infrastructure was clear.
SABC contracted with pro audio broadcast specialist and RTS partner Tru-Fi Electronics to consult on the update. With the goal of installing a technical platform capable of carrying production communications smoothly into the future, Tru-Fi recommended OMNEO IP technology from RTS. The system enables Audio over IP (AoIP), allowing Dante audio networking, using fibre to connect the three existing ADAM frames stationed roughly 300 to 400 metres apart in the news, production studio and master control facilities.
“Because we had an effective system already in place, selecting RTS equipment was not a difficult choice,” notes SABC Chief Technology Officer Tseliso Ralitabo. “RTS OMNEO technology provides full backwards compatibility with our legacy RTS and Telex systems while adding powerful networking capabilities. This met the goal of bringing our existing system up to date while enabling future network expansion. RTS provides seamless operation, both within the SABC studio complex and between there and remote locations across Africa.”
For the SABC project, Tru-Fi utilized RTS KP-Series rack mount hardware, including both the KP-4016 (16 key) and KP-5032 (32 key) keypanels as needed. A total of 157 new keypanels were added. These are fully integrated to work alongside an existing network of 21 WKP-4 wall-mounted keypads for additional system access.
For smooth communication between the various studios and remote news and sports correspondents across the nine regions served by SABC, the system utilizes four RTS SIP ISDN interface codecs and an eight-slot TIF-4000 Digital Hybrid Telephone Line Interface. The TIF-4000 facilitates a telephone hybrid connection to other regions or for remote correspondents. This enables full bi-directional communication between the intercom system and any standard DTMF (Dual Tone Multi Frequency) telephone. The system even provides access to matrix crosspoints and IFB (interruptible foldback) circuits via the caller’s telephone keypad. In addition, there is also RTS Vlink software for remote users to interface with the RTS matrix intercom via the use of iOS and Android smartphones. This enables full duplex communication between the intercom system and any standard DTMF (Dual Tone Multi Frequency) telephone. The system even provides access to matrix crosspoints and IFB (interruptible foldback) circuits via the caller’s telephone keypad.
“The single biggest factor that makes RTS the right choice for this installation is its flexibility,” says Richard Fulton. “Some of the studios stand alone with a core backstage crew, but this system allows SABC to quickly switch gears and tie in another studio or remote location at a moment’s notice. OMNEO IP technology ensures that all intercoms throughout the Broadcast Centre will continue to operate seamlessly regardless of the production’s requirements.”
About OMNEO IP technology: By utilizing both industry and open public standards, OMNEO provides future-proof technology with the highest level of interoperability, flexibility, reliability and resilience. OMNEO is based on two key technologies – the media transmission component Dante (from Audinate) and the system-control component OCA (Open Control Architecture). OMNEO enables a secure set up at competitively low system cost due to the use of standard IT components, along with lower installation and maintenance costs.
3x ADAM modular intercom frame
9x AIO-16 analog I/O card
5x OMI-16 matrix interface card
6x OMI-32 matrix interface card
3x TBX-Tribus triple bus expansion card
129x KP-4016 OMNEO keypanel
26x KP-5032 OMNEO keypanel
157x MCP-90-12 gooseneck microphone
21x WKP-4 wallmount keypanel
2x ARNI-s controller
32x Vlink device interface software