ITV and Channel 4 Freeview channels head for the cloud

UK telco BT and broadcasters’ ITV and Channel 4’s Digital 3&4 (D3&4) venture have moved ITV and Channel 4’s terrestrial Freeview channels to cloud-based processing, in what the players describe as a major step forward for the TV industry.

The multi-million-pound contract between BT and D3&4 has seen BT switch on cloud processing for regionalised TV content across all of D3&4’s Freeview channels, ready for distribution to 28 regions across the UK.

The parties say that the benefits of processing digital terrestrial TV via the cloud include improving overall operational efficiency, cutting costs, lowering energy consumption, and enhancing flexibility for both production and distribution.

According to BT and D3&4, this is the first time that cloud processing of digital terrestrial TV channels has been completed on this scale.

The project was made possible through BT Media and Broadcast’s new smart broadcast network, Vena – which gives broadcasters access to applications that sit on top of a software-defined media network.

D3&4 is now using Vena to deliver digital coding and multiplexing, combining multiple content streams into one before distribution regionally. This involves taking content from six playout centres and distributing it to nations and regions across the UK via two of BT’s datacentres. In addition, BT is providing a full round-the-clock monitoring service from its International Media Operations Centre.

The new network also uses Ateme’s virtualised software video processing and delivery technology.

Faisal Mahomed, director of BT Media and Broadcast & Portfolio Businesses, said: “This launch marks a major development for the TV industry as a whole. It will offer more possibilities for broadcasters to connect and interact with their audiences. We have seen remarkable innovation and collaboration across BT, D3&4 and our partner Ateme to get to this point. The service, built on Vena, is only the start of what’s possible on BT’s smart broadcast network – as we continue to drive digitisation, and to innovate solutions to support TV delivery in the UK and across the globe.”

Greg Bensberg managing director at Digital 3&4 Limited, said: “Our partnership with BT has enabled us to take a giant leap forward in delivering Freeview TV for 18 million regular viewers across the UK. This was a challenging project that required meticulous planning and execution, and we’re proud to have worked with a company that shares our passion for innovation and excellence. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with BT and driving the future of broadcasting in the UK.”

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