China Central Television (CCTV) has upgraded its Clear-Com® digital intercom system and replaced third-party legacy systems to create potentially the largest IP-based communications system in the broadcast world, enabling the broadcaster to rely less on traditional copper cable-based architecture while expanding the reach and capabilities of its current wired and wireless systems. This upgrade brings together 15 Eclipse® HX Omega frames, 20 Eclipse HX PiCo frames, more than 200 V-Series intercom panels and 10 sets of FreeSpeak II wireless beltpack systems into a network with four existing Eclipse frames, 146 V-Series panels and 25 FreeSpeak II beltpacks. The resulting hybrid solution of IP, wireless, and traditional components is one of the largest in the world, reflecting CCTV’s growing needs for distributed communication across their many sites.
The evolution of CCTV’s communication system from traditional partyline and digital 4-wire intercoms, mainly in-studio, to a distributed system with a variety of IP elements enhancing the initial capabilities in alignment with increased needs for immediacy and flexibility has followed Clear-Com’s development path closely since the initial deployment six years ago.
“TV production increasingly requires precise coordination between many groups of people in a variety of locations,” explained Mr. Xue Zhixing, Deputy Chief of Broadcast Center General Control Department for CCTV. “The addition of LQ Series interfaces to our system a few years ago gave us the ability to link remote and overseas intercom and audio systems over LAN, WAN or IP networks, but it was time to increase our communications reach yet again.”
The implementation of Clear-Com’s IVC-32 card for the Eclipse digital matrix system, Agent-IC licenses, and free smart devices apps now allows CCTV to communicate more conveniently and effectively with crews, whether in the studio or at any location where internet connectivity is available.
“In addition to satisfying CCTV’s needs for a traditional intercom, Clear-Com also provides them with a substantial and effective system structure that’s stable and reliable,” remarked Lifu Zhao, Engineer for Clear-Com’s sales partner Century Sage Scientific (CSS) Group. “The Clear-Com system gives CCTV a unified software platform, so that they can get all the functions they need in one system, instead of having to use multiple systems as they were forced to do previously.”
The new system also connects to the new China Global Television Network (CGTN) and various overseas locations. The upgraded system has been used successfully for coverage of the 90th anniversary parade of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at the Zhurihe Training Base in Inner Mongolia, and the broadcast of the 2017 BRICS National Summit in Xiamen — an international relations conference attended by the heads of the five-member states: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
“China Central Television is a large operation with complex needs,” said Jeffrey Wu, Regional Sales Manager for Clear-Com China. “We pride ourselves on having supported them throughout the upgrade process, from pre-sales to after-sales service and on-site technical support when needed. Whether a geographically vast operation, or a single venue, Clear-Com systems are the worldwide choice for reliable communications.”
The new Clear-Com equipment was also used by CCTV for what is considered the most important television program for Chinese people worldwide – the “CCTV New Year’s Gala” (also known as the “CCTV Spring Festival Gala”) on the eve of the Chinese New Year, January 27. The broadcast has a yearly viewership of 700 million viewers.