SWR transitions to software playout with Rohde & Schwarz’s integrated Pixel Power system

Rohde & Schwarz has successfully deployed its Pixel Power graphics and playout technology at Südwestrundfunk (SWR), a key regional broadcaster located in Baden-Baden, Germany. SWR, a member of the ARD consortium, now provides cutting-edge playout services not only for its own channels but also for other major broadcasters in southern Germany, including Saarländischer Rundfunk (SR), Hessischer Rundfunk (HR), and Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR).

Facing the obsolescence of its previous playout infrastructure, SWR decided to upgrade to a contemporary software-defined system. An essential requirement for SWR was the integration of graphics and branding into the playout system.

After comprehensive evaluations, SWR chose the Pixel Power solution from Rohde & Schwarz based on its advanced capabilities. The selection was influenced by Pixel Power’s established reputation in delivering superior graphics quality. The Gallium automation and StreamMaster signal processing platforms by Pixel Power are adaptable to the specific needs of each user, functioning as a flexible, scalable, and future-oriented playout solution.

“In our search for a modern playout solution, we wanted a solution that is truly future-proof, flexible, and highly scalable,” stated Udo Fettig, Project Manager at SWR. “Gallium and StreamMaster is our chosen solution, providing all necessary information in one graphical user interface, without restrictions. We could lay the system out to suit all our operational workflows.”

The solution’s design allows SWR to not only manage live events seamlessly but also to incorporate real-time graphics updates for various needs, such as broadcasting lottery results or issuing severe weather warnings. It also includes text-to-speech features to aid visually impaired viewers with emergency notifications.

James Gilbert, CEO of Pixel Power and Director of Product Management for Rohde & Schwarz media solutions, emphasized the critical importance of live content. “Live content is absolutely central to linear channels,” Gilbert explained. “Thematic channels will ultimately be replaced by VoD: linear broadcasters must have the ability not just to integrate live events but to react to changing situations,” he added.

The Pixel Power systems, Gallium and StreamMaster, operate on industry-standard hardware and offer the flexibility to function on-site, in the cloud, or in a hybrid mode. They support remote access capabilities; SWR has successfully managed broadcasts from a home office setting while maintaining full operational control and responsiveness to live and unplanned events.

“We are happy that the system is expandable and can scale up easily to meet our evolving requirements. Playout needs can arise very quickly, and the system lets us be even quicker,” noted Andreas Mungenast, Head of Playout and Media Operations Center at SWR.

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