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Masstech Migrates EWTN Assets

David Brantley

IRONDALE, ALA.—Eternal Word Television Network is the world’s largest religious media network, transmitting programming to more than 230 million homes in 144 countries and territories on more than 4,800 cable, wireless, DBS and low-power TV operations.

We provide family and religious programming from a Catholic point of view in English, Spanish, German, and French languages. We offer inspiring talk shows, entertaining children’s animation, exclusive teaching series, live coverage of church events, and thought-provoking documentaries.

With such a rich array of content, we’ve built an extensive archive of important and often hard-to-replace media assets over the years. However, time marches on and our broadcast archiving system was antiquated and nearing the point where support was no longer available. Also, the same was becoming true for our tape library system, as it was also long in tooth and used proprietary media. We realized that it was time to replace these critical, but aging components of our on-air content ingest, storage and playout system.

Our search for a new archive management solution for facilitating a transition of this sort led us to the Masstech Topaz system (now known as Masstech for Enterprise).

The Masstech system was exactly what EWTN required to rapidly move our Avalon/StorageTek archive to a SpectraLogic T950 tape library with its LTO drives, while transforming our Pinnacle-format video files to the MXF OP1a format used by our new Harmonic Spectrum video servers for playout.

Masstech made our transition swift and smooth, while also avoiding the lengthy migration time typically required by such changes. The Avalon databases were quickly switched to the Masstech system, while fully automated workflows were implemented to transcode existing Pinnacle files for Harmonic Spectrum. We also took advantage of Masstech’s ability to natively read the Avalon- written tapes for archiving content requested by our existing automation system, but not yet converted from the Pinnacle format. This content was automatically transcoded on-the-fly as it was being restored, and it was done in a manner completely transparent to the automation system.

Masstech’s direct interfaces with our automation and editing systems further streamlined the transition, minimizing disruption to our operations and reducing training requirements. Masstech’s customer service team has been a pleasure to work with, both on-site and on the phone, and this included providing solutions to challenges we faced with older storage technology in our legacy library.

We’ve found the Masstech system to be very user-friendly and easy to learn. In addition to providing an automated bridge between our disparate systems and easy access to our assets, it also serves as the hierarchical storage management system for ongoing playout of programming content. It’s also highly scalable, enabling us to easily implement other functions as needed. We see Masstech as the centerpiece of our future file-based workflows, with its ability to transcode content and transfer it to the required areas of our operation as we move into on-demand video distribution and online streaming.

David Brantley is senior director of engineering at EWTN. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact the Masstech Group at 905-946-5700 or