—Skynet iMotion Activities
(SiA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the
largest telecommunications company in Belgium,
the Belgacom Group. It creates, produces,
purchases and exploits audiovisual
content that’s offered on Belgacom TV, and
also broadcasts on its own channels which
are exclusive to the Belgacom TV platform.
We currently air more than 700 live sports
events per year and operate three linear TV
channels in Dutch and French languages.
When we began planning for the launch
of these new channels, we decided to transfer
our playout operations in-house and
away from the managed service we’d previously
been using. We were running a combination
of best-of-breed devices and a less
technically advanced automation system, so
we wanted to upgrade to something more
up-to-date. Each of our channels is broadcast
in two languages, and the high proportion
of live content placed particularly heavy demands
on our graphics devices, and the selection
of a new automation system needed
to factor in these requirements too.
GREAT FLEXIBILITY AND PRICE
In evaluating new systems, Pebble Beach
Systems’ Marina product stood out as a
highly flexible and advanced system and
was also price competitive. We found it easy
to configure and adapt to our changing requirements.
Further, we learned that the GUI
could be configured to suit the way individual
users work, which would make it particularly
popular with our operational staff.
The playout operators can easily follow
what is going on or about to happen very
easily and intuitively at various levels on all
As we’re a dual-language broadcaster, the
ability to handle each language version—
in effect, as a separate entity, with different
voiceovers and graphics—is also a plus.
VERY RAPID SYSTEM
We took the new automation system
to air in July 2012, following an aggressive
plan from purchase order signature to going
live in just four months. Marina automation
controls our EVS server and Miranda Vertigo
graphics systems. It also interfaces to a Front
Porch Digital DIVArchive and provides interactivity,
with viewers able to go from a trailer
to a video-on-demand item in one click.
The system incorporates varying levels of
redundancy, with full air protection on the
two soccer channels we run, and there’s an
additional level of redundancy for the graphics
aired, with a switchover to a backup
graphics device using Marina’s routing if the
main graphics source should fail.
Pebble Beach Systems developed their “Auto
Promo Generation” feature to meet our
requirements. It safeguards the integrity of
channel information graphics should we
need to make changes due to latebreaking
events. Just before placing a graphic
going on air, Marina dynamically sources
data from multiple playlists simultaneously,
extracting the most up-to-date program information.
Configurable templates are then
populated with accurate start times, titles,
preview clips and images as required, so
that last-minute schedule changes can be
displayed without the need to manually
generate new graphics.
This Pebble Beach Systems Marina playout system
is now truly one of our showcase solutions.
Rodrigo Sternberg has been the technical
director at SiA since 2011 and previously
served as a consultant. He may be
emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact
Pebble Beach Broadcast at 855-732-2538 or