Consumer demand for local TV in the UK is growing. According to research commissioned by Ofcom, 90 percent of UK adults regularly consume some form of local news, information or other content. One of the most important initiatives in the UK broadcasting landscape is the imminent launch of local TV stations that will provide tailored regional television experiences for communities who have a desire for local content, reaching 12 million households across the UK.
Comux UK is the community-owned business selected by Ofcom to build, operate and manage the national infrastructure needed to support local TV, which launched at the Edinburgh International Television Festival under the brand ‘Local TV’. Nineteen local licenses have already been granted by Ofcom, the independent regulator for the UK communications industries, with a further 30 licenses under consideration for launch in 2014/15.
As it builds the distribution network in preparation for the first local channels launch in November 2013, Comux UK has selected Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) to enable it to efficiently package the content delivered from the 19 local TV areas – Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Grimsby, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Preston, Sheffield and Southampton.
Crucial to the selection is the architecture of the Ericsson multi-platform head-end system, a key component in enabling the 19 local TV licensees to quickly deliver new services and channels to UK viewers and providing Comux with the scalability and flexibility required to grow their infrastructure in the future. Core to the solution is the Ericsson AVP 4000 compression platform, powered by the company’s first-ever video processing chip. The dedicated software programmable engine guarantees that Comux can benefit from further video quality improvement in MPEG-2 in the future as well as the ability to upgrade to other resolutions and formats.
Ed Hall, Chief Executive, Comux, said: "The selection of technology partners such as Ericsson is a critical part of the infrastructure we are putting in place to support the launch of 19 local TV stations across the UK. After a thorough evaluation of a number of compression platforms, carried out jointly with our systems integrator Techex, the Ericsson AVP 4000 solution delivered the performance and support package that best meets our needs. The implementation of the Ericsson AVP 4000 solution ensures that we can continue to be innovative, flexible and responsive to the needs of the local TV license holders as the service develops and expands."
The Ericsson AVP platform eases integration, expansion, re-purposing, training, repair and upgrades, considerably lowering the overall cost of ownership by addressing all applications, codecs, resolutions and profiles. It offers the highest performance and broadest capability in the industry on a single platform across all applications, from SD to HD, 1080p50/60, 3DTV and Ultra High Definition TV (UHDTV), and all codecs, including MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC and JPEG 2000, with 4:2:0 and 4:2:2, 8-bit and 10-bit all supported.
"The launch of local TV in the UK is an exciting, ambitious project, and we are delighted that our partnership with Comux is helping to create the biggest addition to the UK’s TV infrastructure since the transition to digital TV," said Dr. Giles Wilson, Head of TV Compression Business, Ericsson. "The high performance of our latest video processing platform will mean that this new terrestrial network will benefit from the industry’s leading bandwidth management and enable Comux to meet consumer desire for high quality, regional content."
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