TV programmes to be made on PCs

The BBC aims to transform the way it produces programmes over the next six years, replacing tapes and editing suites with digital...

The BBC aims to transform the way it produces programmes over the next six years, replacing tapes and editing suites with digital technology on desktop PCs.

By the end of decade, the BBC plans to introduce 20,000 "creative desktops". Information and images will be digitised, allowing journalists and production staff to make programmes and search the archive using software on a standard desktop PC.

Currently, radio and TV content is stored on tape, which can make transferring and storing information time-consuming.

The BBC has already used digital technology to produce the sequel to natural history series The Blue Planet, which will be aired early next year, and to produce news programmes.

The software at the heart of the new approach was developed by BBC Technology and German company Aist.

"This is a completely decentralised form and federalised environment," said BBC chief technology officer John Varney, who described the shift as a transformation of the way the BBC works, rather than simply a technology project.

"You will still need editing and graphic suites, but in a lot of cases you will make the programmes on your desktop," he said. "The challenge is to make the technology invisible to the end-user. Whenever you have a delay moving a file or image to the desktop, it ceases to be invisible. When you create a digital world, you expect things instantly."

The digital system will have to store a vast amount of data - the BBC's broadcasts create about 13Tbytes of data every week.

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