David Austerberry /
11.12.2008 08:58 AM
GlobeCast opens third playout center

The print industry has long separated publishing and printing. The publisher sends job files to a specialist printer, who could well be running competitors’ jobs through the same presses. Broadcasters have more recently adopted this model, handing over transmission to service providers such as Ascent Media, Technicolor and Red Bee. GlobeCast is another player in this market that is able to offer a range of services including content management and delivery. It operates satellite and fiber circuits between teleports across the world and can now offer its network clients broadcast playout facilities.

GlobeCast is about to open its third playout center. Currently in testing, the Singapore center will soon start transmissions for a well-known global media company. The facility joins GlobeCast’s other media centers in London and Sunrise, FL.

Singapore has long been popular as a media hub, with a location ideal to uplink to satellites covering Asia and the Pacific region. Ascent Media has run a facility out of Singapore for nearly a decade since the purchase of Four Media, and other media companies such as HBO, Technicolor and CNBC have bases in Singapore as well.

GlobeCast has an existing teleport operation in Singapore to provide fiber and satellite network services, so Singapore was a natural choice for its new playout center. Its regional headquarters are in the well-known Singapore landmark, the art-deco style Parkview Square building.

The initial system is equipped with four playout channels, but it is designed to scale upward. The design closely follows that of the London center, which launched in the summer of 2007 with six channels and has recently expanded to 25.

The video and audio system is based on main and backup Omneon MediaDeck servers, with a Snell & Wilcox processing chain. Broadcast automation and content management is handled by Pharos Playtime and Mediator. A Miranda Kaleido multiviewer is used to monitor the playout operations, and DVB subtitling is provided by systems from Screen Subtitling.

For media file storage, GlobeCast chose a clustered storage system from Isilon, with 800 hours of capacity of MPEG-2 files encoded in long GOP at 10Mb/s.

The Pharos application allows GlobeCast to create different workflows, each matching the needs of a client. For example, its first Singapore client wanted to browse the content store from the edit bay and run dubbing stations for the subtitling process. The Pharos content management platform enables GlobeCast to offer clients remote access. The client will get browse access to the content store from GlobeCast’s two edit suites located adjacent to the playout facility using the Pharos thin client. GlobeCast also wanted to offer clients the option to ingest remotely from its offices in Hong Kong — a distance of 1600mi (2600km) — but using the browse approach, distance is no object. GlobeCast can centralize the infrastructure, but doesn’t need to centralize the users.

The Singapore facility will offer editing, ingest and QC, compliance recording and tape library management in addition to playout. Linked onto the GlobeCast network, the facility can offer regionalized feeds to multinational media conglomerates.

GlobeCast is adding to the growing trend among broadcasters to outsource their transmission services, leaving the broadcasters to concentrate on programming, sales and channel brand promotion.

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