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KVM switches in the broadcast industry
Category: Blogs
Keywords: KVM
Author: Sean McGrath
Date Written: 15 August 2013
Title: KVM switches in the broadcast industry


KVM (keyboard, video and mouse) switches have come a long way in a relatively short space of time. Point-to-point KVM extenders are nothing new in the broadcast industry, allowing direct connections between computers, keyboard, mice and video terminals. However, as broadcast reinvents itself in line with 21st century technologies, KVM switches are playing an increasingly central role.

A greater degree of flexibility

As the broadcast industry continues to embrace the digital revolution, workflows are inevitably becoming more file based. Broadcast and post-production studios are inevitably moving towards virtualised systems, where front-end editing software is housed in dedicated server rooms. The use of KVM switches allows for a much greater degree of flexibility, with source and editing machines often being in remote locations.

More space, less heat and noise

Not only does this free the production environment from physical hardware, which can be bulky and space consuming, but it allows users to arrange terminals without being restricted by physical hardware. KVM switches spell the end for over-crowded control rooms. Staff can now work in well-arranged spaces, free from heat and the noise of fans.

This is not only of benefit to the production staff, but it is a plus for the hardware too, which can now be stored in a temperature and moisture controlled environment.

Agile and efficient production environments

Removing the reliance on hardware has other advantages too. As machines can be repurposed to suit different applications, production companies can be much more flexible with their suites. Users can reconfigure interconnections between terminals instantly, allowing businesses to make the most of the finite resources available to them.

Off-site maintenance

In a conventional setup, any maintenance that needs to be carried on the system would cause a disruption in workflow.

Production would be hampered or halted altogether until the maintenance was carried out. Having a KVM extender system, maintenance isn't an issue. IT technicians can easily access the main system and can carry out maintenance from a terminal in the server room.

Mobile production units

It is not just production suites that are benefiting from KVM systems; mobile production units are also becoming much more agile and effective thanks to switching technology. Specially designed and lightweight KVM switches allow mobile broadcast units to access their full range of applications without the need for masses of hardware. Fewer computers, monitors and peripherals, mean more space as well as less heat and noise.

Combine this with remote access, cutting-edge compression as well as IP technologies and mobile units can work effectively from almost anywhere in the world.

A shift in viewer habits and a slow economic recovery means that the broadcast industry is having to look for new and innovative ways to make savings, while producing competition-beating content. Budgets are being cut and decision makers have to do more with less. KVM switching technology allows exactly that.

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