Upgrades to Bluebell BN390 Multiplexer Enable New 4K UHD Conversion Options and Remote Configuration

As UHDTV takes hold, single-cable transport of 4K signals is becoming more and more imperative. That’s why Bluebell has put considerable effort into building such a solution: the BN390 stand-alone interface supporting 4K/UHDTV in broadcast studios and outside broadcast (OB) applications, especially sport. With the BN390 multiplexer, broadcasters can avoid using quad HD links, which are cumbersome and time-consuming to rig and install, in favour of sending all signals on a single coax or fibre cable. There are few if any other products like the BN390 on the market today.

There are two BN390 modules: a multiplexer and a demultiplexer. An IN and an OUT. That’s it. However, despite their simplicity, the BN390 units are highly sophisticated configurable tools for conversion between of all the various formats of 4K UHD.

Because 12G-SDI doesn’t travel far on copper, these units come with optical ports as standard. The factory default is set to convert four 3G-SDI signals on four BNC connectors to 12G-SDI on a single BNC and fibre optic output. Beyond the default, a slew of configurables includes HD-SDI, 6G-SDI, dual link, and two identical 12G-SDI images.

Besides supporting SNMP access, each BN390 unit serves its own web page for management, setup, and configuration. An RJ45 port means the module can be connected directly to a laptop or hung on a network. The latest version maps the existing control software to Bluebell’s emerging GUI technology built for simple hardware control during remote production. The GUI is a powerful, fast interface that controls the input signal format and the output format. It also works as a network monitor that reports signal loss and other error states.

The BN390 is small enough to be strapped to the side of a camera. Most 4K cameras present their UHD signals across four BNC connectors, creating a headache for the operator, who must manage four coaxial cables on the floor out the back of the camera. Using the BN390 alleviates that problem because operators need only deal with a single fibre optic cable or a single coax — making setup tidy and less time-consuming.

Besides studio and OB applications, the BN390 has also been used in 4K edit suites. Most post houses already have fibre installed, so jumping on to their in-house networks is the perfect way to move content between processes. For example, converting to fibre has proven to be a very neat solution for moving rushes from one suite to another.

In short, the BN390 is a small-form-factor, cost-effective, super-efficient, agile, easy-to-operate multiplexer product that slots into a 4K UHD workflow beautifully. Simply plug it in, configure it, and go. Unique in its performance capability and signal integrity, the BN390 saves time and labour — and therefore money — for the operator.