Digital TV switchover leads ABC to upgrade MATV system

Outdated broadcast analog to be replaced with digital TV and radio setup

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) current analog setup at Ultimo, Sydney will undergo a major overhaul to meet the government’s digital switchover deadline by the end of 2013.

The revamp will include the replacement of the broadcaster's current master antenna television (MATV) system, which only distributes analog radio and television channels within the ABC complex at Ultimo. The number and quality of channels and services carried is also limited due to the system's age.

According to ABC documents, the broadcaster wants a digital television distribution system that will carry a mix of digital and analog via 1500 digital distribution points using digital TVs, set top boxes and satellite services.

The new system will need to support between 100 and 150 television and radio channels with the capability of further expansion beyond 150 channels in the future.

“Television inputs will need to be in either analog or serial digital interface (SDI) format with associated stereo analog while radio services will need to be in stereo or mono in analog," read the documents.

The contract, which commences in April this year, will run for five years with the option of a two-year extension.

The switchover follows developments in May 2010 where the ABC looked to upgrade its news syndication with a “state-of-the-art” system allowing it to more quickly, and cost-effectively move files between its sites around Australia.

The system was intended to give the ABC the ability to transfer News and Current Affairs media between its Grass Valley K2 video servers located in eight ABC capital city sites, effectively sharing content on a 24/7 basis.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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