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Techex awarded prestigious contract to replace TV head-end at Houses of Parliament

The Palace of Westminster has selected Techex to design, build and install a new annunciator TV head-end system across the Parliamentary Estate. The new system comprises encoding/decoding, multiplexing, logo and sound insertion, EPG aggregation, subtitle distribution, modulation and monitoring equipment. 75 channels will be distributed to more than 2,500 receiver points across the Parliamentary Estate and 20 Government departments.

Division bells, used to call Members to vote in Parliament, are required to be mixed with every channel whilst retaining all standard DVB-T features and meant that an original, innovate approach was required to design a suitable system. The new platform will greatly improve the range of services available, allowing Members and staff to watch live Chamber, Select Committee and devolved administration feeds, regional channels to help Members stay in touch with constituencies whilst in London, and international news from developing economies. The addition of live Select Committee channels is to enhance the scrutiny of government and proceedings by Members and officials, and is hoped to save time by officials across Whitehall not needing to travel to Committees that affect them. All services are delivered with accessibility and usability features where available, such as subtitles and Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) data.

Physical space is at an extreme premium within the Parliamentary Estate, necessitating a highly dense solution. Additionally, the importance of the service means that both old and new systems will be run in parallel for several months. To facilitate the build within the time and space constraints, the full system is to be built and tested off-site before being re-constructed on-site by Techex’s specialist wiring team.

The platform includes Techex’s Spotlight software to provide on-site operators and Techex’s service centre with live telemetry data. Spotlight is a distributed monitoring service that collects data from a multitude of vendor devices and collates it in logical views. This helps operators to see the status of the network from one screen, allowing faults to be quickly identified and remedied.

Richard Bailey, Technical Director, Techex said “The annunciator service plays an essential part in Parliament’s daily business, displaying the live, daily business of both Houses, showing the live Parliamentary proceedings and notifying members when a division is taking place. Techex is proud to be working with the Palace of Westminster in ensuring the continued supportability of this service.”

About Techex

Techex’s core business is assisting its partners to benefit from the advantages brought about by IP transmission. It has unrivalled experience in implementing IP based solutions and has built up an impressive list of clients including BSkyB, BBC, Arqiva, Globecast, Disney and Discovery.