TVI Expands on ICE

LISBON, PORTUGAL—At TVI, our main TVI channel, our 24-hour news channel (TVI24) and our TVI International channel all are driven by Snell’s Morpheus playout automation. When we began planning for the launch of the new TVI Fiction and +TVI channels, we once again considered Snell technology.

Upon evaluating the company’s ICE IT-based “channel-in-a-box” playout system, we decided that it would enable a logical playout evolution. The main reasons we chose ICE were its full integration with our existing Morpheus automation system, its flexibility in terms of channel configuration, and the short time needed to launch new channels without making a significant impact on existing workflows.

We also profit from the added power and flexibility that our Morpheus automation system brings to these channel-playout boxes. As our operations continue to grow, ICE integration with Morpheus offers us the ability to scale from a single channel to many complex channels, controlled from just one user interface.

We successfully launched TVI Fiction in October, 2012, and +TVI in February, 2013, following the rapid delivery and commissioning of our new ICE systems. We were able to merge the ICE platform into our existing playout infrastructure relatively simply, and the installation costs were considerably lower than they were for our traditional channels, which aren’t based on a channel-in-a-box solution.

The flexibility of ICE in handling a variety of inputs has been most valuable. Internal processing and conversion capabilities allow us to run multiple file formats, and even multiple resolutions, back to back. With aspect ratio changes under AFD control, we are able to manage different clip resolutions and aspect ratio/AFD combinations to ensure a consistent output on our HD channel. Automatic up- and down-conversion provides simultaneous support for SD and HD channels.

ICE also supports on-air subtitling, audio processing, and all branding capabilities critical to presenting themed channels.

Each ICE unit features multiple inputs and outputs and includes two DVEs and eight keyers per channel mixer, along with routing and mixing functions. Within the larger Morpheus-driven environment, Snell's FlexiCore architecture allows ICE to emulate the master control environment by facilitating reconfiguration of internal routing, and supporting dynamic allocation of resources across all channels to meet our operational requirements. This versatility and the inherent scalability of ICE make it a future-proof platform that we can use for expansion of our channel lineup.

Carlos M. Gomes is head of TVI’s technical department.