Designing today’s MCR for the next wave of broadcast operations

With more formats, platforms and channels to manage than ever before, master control rooms (MCRs), as the technical hub of all broadcast operations, have to be better equipped with technologies to streamline their operations.

At the heart of every broadcast facility lies the master control room (MCR), the technical hub where a pool of resources is installed for operators to make critical broadcast decisions. Today, as consumers are increasingly engaged with content across a diverse range of platforms and devices, broadcasters and media companies are required to deliver more services while driving increased operational efficiency.

To meet viewers’ shifting demands, channels need to transition to a mix of linear and digital services, suggests Raed Al Tikriti, vice-president, playout, Grass Valley.

He tells APB: “Rapid growth in the number of channels, and increasing costs due to the issues of managing and monitoring services, place added pressure on operational costs. More channels mean more people to monitor the playout operations, which is costly.

“MCRs need to be flexible and agile enough to manage monitoring and playout across more platforms. IP-based infrastructures deliver this flexibility and agility, allowing more channels to be added more cost-efficiently. Additionally, with IP-based systems, the need to change playout hardware as formats evolve is eliminated.”

In a typical MCR, the hub comprises all equipment required to prepare multiple channels for playout, from signal receivers to monitors, servers, and branding and graphics engines through to playout and automation systems. And in most markets, Al Tikriti points out that many of the MCR applications have transitioned from a hardware-based environment to a software-based ecosystem.

Read the full story in the September issue of APB.


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