Telstra Broadcast Services Taps Grass Valley for Remote Workflows

Carl Petch’s tech teams at Telstra Broadcast Services deployed Grass Valley solutions to handle the complexities of dealing with many different formats for its clients around the world. (Image credit: Grass Valley)

SYDNEY, Australia—Telstra Broadcast Services is a wholly owned subsidiary of Telstra Corp., Australia’s largest telecommunications company. We are a global media and managed services business that provides media and broadcasting solutions and assurance with facilities worldwide including APAC, EMEA, and the United States. 

As our customers become increasingly global, they need to distribute content to and from different parts of the world to other broadcasters or intermediaries. To achieve this, TBS relies primarily on our global media networks, our fiber, internet, and our PoPs around the world. We also have access to Telstra’s subsea cable network where we can deliver contribution and distribution services for all of our products, but most recently for our new Media Production Platform (MPP). 

Aligning Our Facilities
MPP is a cloud-based platform from Telstra that allows users to control any broadcast workflow remotely via a web browser and the public internet.

With AMPP from Grass Valley, we are aligning our facilities and our end-to-end media networks to provide infrastructure as a service. By combining on-prem signal conversion such as Alchemist HD and KudosPro with the virtualized software found in AMPP, we can give customers content in different formats from a signal conversion perspective. 

For example, we aggregate numerous sporting events in our U.S. facility, but we need to reformat from 59.94 frames per second down to 50 frames per second to supply it to European networks. We use an on-prem KudosPro with motion compensation. This way, we’re able to convert it at our facility and then push it out over the network for global distribution of that product. 

The most recent use case was the localization of major sporting events using MPP and AMPP—which is incorporated into MPP. Rather than go from the venue back through our facility and then into the cloud, we went directly from the venue into our public cloud instance where we then used GV AMPP to do the time-based conversion, format conversion, or even HDR to SDR. 

On-Prem and in the Cloud
We’ve deliberately moved away from doing things physically on-prem thanks to the maturity of MPP and the ability to orchestrate feeds from different locations using our media networks into the public cloud or into our on-prem facilities. We let the end-to-end workflow decide where the workloads go. 

We’ve always been a Grass Valley house, so carrying on our investment and knowledge is very important. Using Alchemist for frame rate conversion is great, and the fact that it can be on-prem or in the cloud means that we now have the same product, with the same usability in hardware and in software with the surrounding platform. As the orchestration between the two environments improves, the solution becomes more and more powerful. 

What’s Next
As a managed media network provider, our operation is multi-site from a physical on-prem perspective and multi-region from a cloud perspective, so the crucial next step will be to combine them in the orchestration layer so we can send signals back and forth from on-prem into the cloud using a mixture of compressed and uncompressed formats.

What we like about the public cloud environment is that we now have the flexibility to do what we want. We can have what we had on-prem in the cloud, and it’s now an OpEx model rather than a straight CapEx model. This allows us to choose how we distribute the workloads and manage costs. 

We can also have the workload where we need it, which means we can use it on-prem when it makes sense and use it in the cloud when it makes sense. Managing where we can run that workload is significant and helps us manage the cost of producing the event. l 

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Carl Perch

Carl Petch is CTO for Telstra Broadcast Services and leads the global Broadcast and Media Engineering and Solutions Architecture teams. Petch is internationally recognized as an evangelist and expert on broadcast and IP.