ARD Video File Transfer

DAVID Systems solution enables automated replication of MXF files, facilitates program exchange, and allows for seamlessly digitalized, tapeless workflow


ARD, the association of public-service broadcasters in Germany, produces a nation wide TV channel as well as a digital package of three free-to-air channels and participates in the production of four cable/satellite channels. Additionally ARD's ten constituent broadcasting institutions operate 54 regional and local radio stations and networks, two nationwide radio channels, and seven regional TV networks, some of which split further during certain parts of the day. A huge network of foreign correspontents is supporting the ARD program from all over the world.


Implementation of a video file transfer system with automated and semi automated tapeless workflows across different broadcast networks: the system requirements had been laid out by a joint project team formed by the ARD, the Institut für Rundfunktechnik (IRT), and DAVID Systems. Besides conventional program transfers, the broadcasting stations and the ARD hub would have the option of exchanging individual reports or entire broadcasts between each other. Re-distribution within the affiliates' networks and integration of the foreign offices were other requirements.


Following up on an earlier cooperation in the radio area, ARD also decided to opt for DAVID Systems for digital file transfer in the TV field. All connected broadcasting stations work with a head end for sending and receiving video data files coded in the standard Material Exchange Format (MXF), each with an additional file containing descriptive meta data.

DAVID Systems also provides solutions for converting proprietary file formats into MXF and for transcoding incoming foreign formats into those used by the respective broadcasting station as needed.

The ARD owned ATM network serves as infrastructure for the actual data transfers. Faster than realtime, individual contributions or entire broadcasts can be transferred between two (point to point) or multiple (point to multipoint) broadcasting stations, or via the ARD hub using the TCP/IP protocol. This works irrespective of whether or not the sending and receiving stations use different file formats internally for production and/or playout.


  • Video footage can be requested and sent as if it was e-mail - without any scheduling by line offices as previously required.
  • fast and secure file transfer with integrated firewall functionality for IP connections
  • completely tapeless workflow
  • end-to-end metadata support
    • enter metadata once
    • track metadata throughout the distribution workflow
    • enrich metadata where necessary
    • customizable metadata masks including mandatory fields
  • format independent through automatable re-distribution, transcoding or archiving processes
  • immediate ROI compared with satellite transfer or tape-based distribution


  • Comprehensive solution to transfer, exchange and distribute media files
  • Highest degree of metadata integrity
  • Complete solution including transcoding and re-distribution
  • Automatable and customizable
  • Immediate ROI through significant cost-savings for satellite transfer or tape distribution
  • Proven solution - in regular operations at many well-known broadcast organizations