BBC Big Screens

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

BBC Big Screens is part of the BBC’s Public Space Broadcasting media concept – as they describe it – a unique collaboration between the BBC, cutting-edge video technology providers and UK city councils – the giant screen in Manchester’s Exchange Square was the first to be launched.

As someone who has no choice but to pay the UK Television License fee, which goes to fund the BBC – AND must say as a big fan of much of what the BBC do, I don’t understand what place the BBC have in playing in this space – most definitely IMHO not part of their ‘remit’ – I have a very similar, and perhaps stronger issue with their web site and online and book publishing initiatives but that is very much a different matter.

Anyway, the BBC’s Big Screen technology was recently put to an interesting use with the rare site of two Peregrine Falcons nesting atop a high rise building in the centre of Manchester being streamed through Cabletime’s MediaStar Evolution system to passers-by.

Interest in the falcons, which were being monitored by the RSPB, became more intense with the appearance of three eggs. A camera was set-up by the BBC and links created to the Big Screen.

To show the action live (their words not mine!), the BBC decided to run a trial using Cabletime’s MediaStar Evolution solution, which takes a feed from the camera, digitises it, and plays it out live.

William Jenkyns, Technology Development Manager at BBC Live Events, said: “We normally use the BBC Big Screens to show local news and weather and often include locally-sourced footage from university students or from events in the area. This was an opportunity to show the people of Manchester larger than life images of the birds, right down to the birth of the falcon chicks. The RSPB also had a stand just below the screen so that people could ask questions about the falcons. MediaStar was a very reliable hardware solution, and the whole project was a total success.”

It’s safe to say that Cabletime are not that well known in many parts of the Digital Signage industry but I have to say that if they really focused on the sector they could do quite well – however I am not sure they understand our industry that well just yet.

With over 25 years experience in developing hardware and software video delivery systems, Newbury, Berkshire UK-based Cabletime is the leading manufacturer of TV/AV and multimedia delivery products over Cat-5/UTP and IP infrastructures. Providing solutions for live TV, corporate communications, multicasts, music TV, training and digital signage, Cabletime has 3,000 installations worldwide with offices and distributors in the UK, USA, Asia, Middle East, Japan, and Asia Pacific.

Its MediaStar range of products include MediaStar Evolution for efficient delivery of video and multimedia over IP networks, MediaStar Compact, the unique way to distribute and manage TV/AV delivery for small office environments over Cat-5/UTP, and for medium to large sized companies, the ultimate answer to managed delivery of TV and AV using Cat-5/UTP, MediaStar Pro. The MediaStar system offers both off-LAN and IP delivery mechanisms and supports a variety of endpoints including plasma screens, monitors, televisions, touch screen controllers, and PC workstations.

Serving the retail, publishing, hospitality, sports, healthcare, educational, and government sectors, amongst others, Cabletime’s MediaStar range provides a unique and highly cost effective solution for every organisation requiring TV/AV and Multimedia. Cabletime’s MediaStar products deliver robust versatility and scalability in a comprehensive hardware and software solution.

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