Grass Valley helps German HD

Chris Forrester

German public broadcaster ARD has bought an automated HDTV playout centre from Grass Valley as part of its preparations for HD broadcasts of its prime channel Das Erste.

The new HD Playout Centre will first be used for transmissions from the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Berlin in August 2009. ARD says it will cover the event entirely in HD.

Placed by Hessischer Rundfunk on behalf of ARD, the new order includes system design, implementation, installation, commissioning, training, and a continuing five-years-plus service level agreement.

ARD, the national broadcaster of Germany, is a federal organization with individual broadcasters in each state, but with a national Playout center (ARD-Sternpunkte) located on the premises of Hessischer Rundfunk in Frankfurt. Grass Valley supplied the standard-definition transmission system for ARD-Sternpunkte in 2004.

Grass Valley K2 media clients provide the heart of the system, with HD Trinix routers and Maestro master control switchers. The playout automation system is from Aveco, with other key parts of the system from Miranda (multi-viewers and branding graphics), Dolby, and Tektronix. System design and integration is handled by the Grass Valley systems integration business unit at Thomson Systems Germany in Weiterstadt.

Test transmissions of the championships in HD will be hosted from the new facilities at ARD-Sternpunkte. Full HD programming on ARD’s prime channel Das Erste will start in February 2010 with coverage of the Winter Olympic Games from Vancouver, Canada.