Masstech Preserves, Moves Encompass Content

The Masstech Topaz installation ATLANTA—Encompass Digital Media provides mission-critical outsourced services to more than 500 cable channels and television stations globally. The company originates and delivers content to satellite and cable operators worldwide via satellite, fiber and IP.

One of the key challenges I face as head of network architecture is designing and implementing systems that are technically sound, highly automated and intuitive for our personnel to operate and maintain. We looked for a system that was cost effective and had sufficient throughput to ensure that content is delivered to air servers well before scheduled playout. It also had to be reliable with the appropriate level of redundancy and easily upgradable as on-air technology continues to evolve. Separate from these technical requirements, the system needed to be supplied by a stable and innovative company that had unmatched technical support. Finding a solution that met all our stringent requirements was no easy feat.

We decided on Masstech and we installed its Topaz streamlined media asset management solution in our Atlanta facility in early 2004. Since activation, this system has been moving files 24/7/365 for one of our largest automation platforms ever since.

We use Topaz as a deep archive and file movement mechanism for a large multichannel automation system, originating more than 40 networks with a mix of HD and SD files.

For the past eight years, we have come to rely on Topaz as it offers the scalability and flexibility to accommodate our digital archiving and MAM requirements. It delivers the power essential for a large, state-ofthe- art facility such as ours. It has enhanced our productivity by creating automated processes to manage content—from ingest to QC, and playout to archival storage. In addition it’s allowed us to bridge nonlinear editing and storage systems. Topaz provides the end-to-end nearline, archiving and asset management capabilities for our media content and its associated metadata. The system interfaces with the nearline cache, video servers and digital tape storage libraries, transcoding content to the required formats and providing the asset management database core.

Content is now digitally preserved and can be rapidly located and retrieved for distribution and playout, and our staff can search and locate archived content using key metadata from their desktops.

Topaz has had a tremendous impact on our day-to-day operations, allowing our staff to dedicate their attention to our clients’ on-air content. Not having to worry about where files are, or whether files are moving or not, is a huge advantage in a multichannel environment. Any abnormal issues with the archive system are quickly identified and remedied via monitors in our master control operation. And aside from preventive maintenance on the servers and LTO tape robot, very little effort is needed to keep it running at top efficiency.

With each upgrade to our infrastructure, Topaz has seamlessly integrated into our broadcast system without requiring third-party plug-ins, and has enabled our vendors to work in a collaborative environment that’s instrumental in meeting operational stability.

Don Rodd is senior vice president of network architecture for all of Encompass’ U.S.-based playout facilities and may be contacted

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