In addition to being the first Russian satellite broadcasting company, NTV Plus was a trailblazer in bringing HD content to its audience, now totaling 2 million in Russia and the Ukraine. Today it offers more than 200 channels — both original and retransmitted — that include HD and 3D channels.
In 2009, NTV Plus launched its first end-to-end fully digital live production studio, “Sport-5,” which allowed it to perform HD broadcasting with 5.1 surround sound. Sport-5 enabled NTV Plus to show the 2010 Champions League Finals in 3D and 5.1 in cinemas across Russia and to continue its role as a Russian pioneer in implementing modern broadcast technologies. Nevertheless, the company decided that a single 5.1-capable studio would not be enough to maintain this position.
In the beginning of 2012, NTV Plus began improvement of its Moscow facilities and upgraded two live production studios with two Calrec Artemis Beam 48-fader consoles, networked with Calrec’s Hydra2 audio routing system. The Artemis consoles are configured with 24 mic/line inputs, 64 AES3 inputs, 16 HD-SDI de-embedders, a Dolby-E decoder and eight opto inputs. Each of the consoles produces four groups of 16 audio channels of program output for multichannel audio. While the consoles are dedicated for live broadcasting purposes, they offer the functionality that NTV Plus requires, as well as flexible configuration and operation. Their modular design and large assortment of options enables smooth integration with other equipment. Each customized Calrec panel sits in the control surface and houses a Colin Broad SR4 serial remote/synchronizer for efficient control of multiple playback/record machines from the Artemis desk.
The plug-and-play architecture of the Hydra2 system allows NTV Plus to connect consoles together simply and enjoy seamless, scalable audio networking and resource sharing. Hydra2 enables either console to access any I/O on the network. This approach supports redundant system configuration that ensures live shows are seamless, and it facilitates easy network expansion with additional consoles and I/O. Integrated with a Riedel MediorNet fiber-optic signal transport system, the Hydra2 gives NTV Plus a highly efficient signal transport network with limitless possibilities within NTV Plus premises.
Today, the Calrec mixing consoles allow NTV Plus to produce live 5.1 surround and stereo shows simultaneously for different feeds. The system also makes it easy for NTV Plus to move 5.1 content between studios and to connect external sources to any console. As a result, NTV Plus can maximize its productivity and realize larger, more complex productions, which in turn offer the potential for greater revenue generation.
NTV Plus quickly demonstrated this new flexibility and capacity during its 2012 Wimbledon broadcast and hired an additional three consoles for its coverage of the London 2012 Olympic Games at its remote production at IBC London. The flexibility of its existing system will enable the broadcaster to continue expanding its HD 5.1 capabilities and to maintain its reputation as a technologically pioneering company in the Russian broadcast market.