NAB 2013: BBC R&D today launched Stagebox, a camera-mounted IP connectivity device which it expects to cut production costs and reduce time-to-air for outside broadcasts and multi-camera set-ups.

The BBC’s R&D team said Stagebox would help the broadcast industry move towards an open and end-to-end IP (internet protocol) production chain, allowing production teams to replace broadcast-specific equipment such as SDI routers with standard IT hardware.

Stagebox combines broadcast feeds and cabling, including HD video, audio, talkback, tally lights, timecode and genlock and distributes them over standard IP technologies.

BBC R&D controller Matthew Postgate described the kit as “a significant milestone” in broadcasting technology.

He said: “Programme makers around the globe can start to reap the benefits of IP, reducing cost, complexity and time-to-air for a wide range of productions.”

BBC R&D began working on the concept five years ago, but Postgate said the project began in earnest 18 months ago after conversations with camera manufacturers failed to convince the broadcaster the technology would be developed by a third party.

“There is always constrained resource [among manufacturers] and it may not have been on their roadmaps, as they have been dealing with things such as the progression from HD to 4K, but an organisation like the BBC can take a longer-term perspective,” he said.

Stagebox was used during the BBC and Japanese broadcaster NHK’s Super Hi-Vision trials at last year’s London Olympics. The BBC is also looking at using Stagebox for coverage of next month’s local elections.

Stagebox will be licensed internationally through Hampshire-based distributor L2Tek, which will sell the product design IP (intellectual property), field-programmable gate array (FPGA) IP, components and board-level modules to broadcast equipment manufacturers.

The first set of products will cost around $10,000 (£6,600).

“We hope that Stagebox will be a catalyst for future innovation in broadcast production, having designed it around open standards for others to build on, as only BBC R&D can do,” added Postgate.

NAB: Stand SL11813