South African e.tv Choose Megahertz To Build File-based Systems For 24/7 News
Ely, Cambridgeshire, UK, April 2008:
Independent UK systems integrators Megahertz Broadcast Systems are pleased to announce that an established customer relationship with South Africa's e.tv has resulted in some significant repeat business. Contracts have been signed and planning is at an advanced stage for Megahertz to design and build two state-of-the-art studios, including a server-based newsroom facility, which will be at the centre of e.tv's forthcoming 24-hour news service. At the same time, the channel is moving two existing studios and upgrading them in the process, and investing in two new DSNG vehicles. Megahertz will also be responsible for design and installation/construction on both of these projects.
Founded in Cape Town in 1998, e.tv was South Africa's first free-to-air TV channel -- in other words, the first non-state-owned, non-encrypted station to be funded solely by advertising -- and Megahertz were involved from the beginning, winning the contract for the design and installation of the channel's first studios and newsroom in the face of strong competition from South African companies on the ground. In all, seven major projects have been undertaken by Megahertz for e.tv in the last decade, including the design, installation and construction of further e.tv news and production studios and control rooms in Johannesburg.
"Ten years ago, we were amazed that Megahertz could offer to complete the work for so much less than the quotes we were getting from companies here in South Africa," explains Dave Stewart, e.tv's Chief Engineer. "But they managed it on budget, and did such a great job, we decided to have them back. We made them go through one more tender process, and again, their quote beat all the local competition and the local branches of other global systems integrators by a significant margin. We haven't told them, but after that, we stopped asking anyone else! Of course, it's not all about money -- the quality of their work, and attention to detail has remained excellent. The input from their Project Manager Don Wilson, in particular, with his experience of conditions in South Africa, has had a major impact on the success of these projects. And the designs for the new studios show that they're keeping up with the times. "
Ten years on from their first work for the station, Megahertz's design for e.tv's new 24-hour newsroom reflects the latest developments in file-based, tapeless shoot edit-transmit transmission technology. The newsroom will be based around an Omneon server and a DaletPlus NewsSuite system, with computer-based editing facilities. And although Megahertz are not supplying the playout server and the Dalet file-based news management system ("we do need someone local to carry out regular on-going support for that..." explains Dave Stewart, not unreasonably), they are installing them, and supplying around two-thirds of the rest of the equipment, including Ikegami cameras with Canon lenses, Ross vision mixer and a 56-channel Soundcraft B800 audio broadcast console, as well as custom-designing all the monitor housings and other studio furniture. Pre-build work begins on the new studios in March, and the project is on schedule to allow the 24-hour news channel to commence transmission in June this year. The other studio upgrades and the new e.tv DSNGs will follow later in the year.
"Repeat business is always the best kind of business," comments Greg Hoskin, Megahertz's new Managing Director. "But we're not just designing the same kind of systems for e.tv that we put in 10 years ago. The world of broadcast is changing, and companies with our independent design expertise are well-placed to steer companies like e.tv through the transition from tape-based broadcasting to file- and server-based, metadata-driven systems. The systems we're helping e.tv to create provide an excellent example of what we can do for forward-thinking broadcasters, no matter where in the globe they're based. We're confident that we will be designing many more systems like this over the next few years."