In 2012 The Government introduced legislation enabling Ofcom to license local TV in a range of different locations across the UK and agreed with the BBC Trust that up to £25m of licence fee funds would be provided to build the infrastructure. 19 phase 1 licences were granted.  Some new stations are on air now, on Free View Channel 8, where others are on track to be on-air before the end of 2014. Ofcom will then continue to award more licenses for up to 30 additional local areas.

A commercially viable business model, and a reliable infrastructure to support it paves the way for this momentous change in the way that local TV is centrally and co-operatively distributed to benefit local communities.  The agreed funding model for local TV reduces the financial barriers to entry that has prevented the emergence of local TV in the UK.

In 2013, Comux (a Canis Media Company) appointed TSL Systems to design and install their Centralised Network Operations and Playout center based in Birmingham.

The Playout facility forms a centralised hub where any local broadcaster can access a full range of content management services.


Live or pre-recorded content, including commercials and advertising, can be sent from local broadcasters to the network centre over a private IP-based network, and then made available to be scheduled or streamed live to the national network of transmitters. The Comux Playout Center provides MCR services, Channel Playout, Centralised storage capacity and Asset management for up to 19 local channel licencees around the country

TSL were responsible for delivery of the facility, incorporating a phase 2 design and wired infrastructure in place to provide capability for expansion to 40 channels.  The center went from conception to completion in just 18 weeks.  Facilities include:

  • Central Aparatus Room consisting 21 Equipment racks
  • Master Control Room providing 4 operational positions with system wide data and visual monitoring, recording/ingest facilities, graphics creation and automation control.
  • IP based internal TV distribution

Equipment Profile

Key Vendors and Kit

  • HD capable SDI infrastructure and hardware,
  • System wide data and monitoring
  • 19 Evertz Overture RT Playout Channels controlled by Mediator Automation
  • EMS Central Storage (42TB Raid 6)
  • IP network capable of supporting 19 local Licencees, for data and Video transfer requirements