Broadcasting with Clarity
Icelandic National Broadcasting Service selects Matrox Extio KVM extension units to manage workstation noise and stability issues
The Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (INBS) is an independent public service broadcasting organization responsible for operating two radio channels and one television channel. Headquartered in Reykjavik, INBS also runs three regional radio programs, while concurrently fulfilling its civic obligation of promoting Iceland’s language, history, and cultural heritage.
Interested in modernizing their outdated radio equipment, INBS outfitted all eight of their studios with new systems, which included playout servers, recording machines, and script PCs. Despite already having computers in each studio, the new installation required additional workstation and server support, leading to a noticeable increase in fan and hard drive noise. The heightened noise levels proved to be too distracting for studio members, forcing INBS to move the hardware to designated Central Technical Area (CTA) rooms.
Although the relocation effort eliminated the ambient system noise, the new distance wreaked havoc on the user peripherals. The USB controllers were constantly freezing and calling for system reboots in the middle of recording, editing, and playback sessions, often leading to significant in-studio delays. Computer monitor performance was also affected by the distance and INBS IT technicians were on call 24/7 to tweak perpetually out-of-focus displays.
To create a more stable work environment for both in-studio and IT personnel, INBS sought a multi-display extension solution that could provide a quiet working environment without sacrificing user peripheral performance over long distances.
With their specific studio design requirements in mind, INBS directors stopped by the Matrox booth at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) and discovered a potential solution in the Matrox Extio Remote Graphics Unit (RGU). The fanless KVM extension solution that drives multiple monitors and user devices at the physical desktop while being separated by the computer by up to 250 meters (820 ft) of fiber-optic cable appeared to solve the problems INBS was facing.
After securing an Extio unit for testing, INBS noticed immediate improvements. Installed discreetly at the broadcast booth, the fanless Extio emits no discernible noise while providing user peripheral stability not only for the JL Cooper hardware controllers, but for other USB-based devices such as a CD drive, external HD, and memory stick. In addition, while the workstations remain in the CTA rooms courtesy of Extio’s PCI Express immediate fiber-optic extension technology, the distance had absolutely no adverse effects on the workstation monitors with the Extio units producing crystal clear image quality at resolutions of up to 1920 x 1200 per display.
The new INBS layout now holds 25 Extio-enabled workstations across eight studios. Approximately half the workstations are equipped with Extio F1220 dual-monitor RGUs, which are used for recording purposes by technical personnel or when a speaker and technician require their own display for specific broadcasting projects. The remaining stations use Extio F1400 quad-monitor units for initiatives that have four staff members who need to read or observe scripts off their own displays.
"After the initial test run, we were confident that the Extio's unique feature set could help us achieve our re-design goals," reports Gunnar Gisli Gudnason, Head of Maintenance, Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. "Now, with noise-free studios, ultra-crisp monitors, and properly functioning hardware, complaints about system failures are at an all-time low, creating a much more comfortable—and productive—work environment for all INBS employees."
With happy employees and technically-sound platforms, INBS can now focus on delivering the best possible broadcasting services to the Icelandic audience—without interruption!