Located in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, SwitchTV is a brand-new HD TV station wholly-owned by the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) which aims to be the most influential platform for educating and empowering the youth to solve humanitarian issues in Kenya, Africa and beyond. SwitchTV is a free-to-air channel that is widely available across the region via digital TV, set-top-box, live digital stream and VOD. With a mission to spice up the regional media landscape, SwitchTV is aimed squarely at the 18-35 demographic and broadcasts a lively mixture of news, sports, soaps, movies and local productions.
Broadcast Solutions Hungary (BSH), Ross Video’s Gold Preferred business partners, were awarded the tender by KRCS to design and implement the new station from the ground up, with a mandate to implement the latest technologies and workflows to enable cutting-edge content for the East-African region. The project therefore required the creation of the entire broadcast and IT infrastructure, from story creation through live studio production to post-production and playout; no small challenge when dealing with a tight deadline and a very talented but fresh local production and technical team located a thirteen-hour flight away from BSH’s offices in Budapest. Initial discussions with BSH began in March 2018 and the goal was to be on-air with live studio broadcasting by October – a challenging seven-month window.
SwitchTV wanted a studio featuring four sets - three physical and one green screen – with a combination of manual and remotely-operated cameras, as well as a newsroom and post-production system. In addition, office IT infrastructure was also required to support the broadcast operations. To save time and ensure a smoother on-site installation, BSH configured, tested and prebuilt all of the systems in Budapest before sending them to Nairobi.
At the core of the studio sits the Ultrix-FR2, Ross Video’s 12G routing/AV processing platform with integrated MultiViewers. The Ultrix-FR2 is an incredibly powerful product that can replace up to two full racks of traditional infrastructure products with one software-upgradeable 2RU unit. The fact that Ultrix is a software-defined platform gave BSH great security when designing the system because no additional hardware will be required in future; any additional features required can simply be enabled via a software key. This greatly simplified the system design and also dramatically reduced the cabling and power requirements as well as saving time and money when it came to installation. Commenting on the Ultrix, Mr. Tibor Samarjai, BSH’s Project Manager, notes “It was very easy to design and build the system with the Ultrix router; by getting rid of several additional components like the external multiviewer and glue products, it made the complete setup compact and yet very powerful.”
In October 2018, the new studio was formally handed over and SwitchTV began live studio broadcasting. The team at Switch are delighted with the results: “The compact video solution BSH delivered us is great to work with; we are happy that we listened to their advice and went for Ross Video.”