Corus Entertainment is one of Canada's leading media companies, with assets including four specialty television networks, a pay TV business, three digital channels and conventional television broadcasting.
We have established a reputation for providing programming that appeals to women, children and families. Technological excellence is a priority at Corus, and have designed our Toronto origination facility to ensure reliable programming play-out.
About four years ago we installed our first Omneon Spectrum media server system. Since then, we've made upgrades to accommodate an increasing amount of material and to increase the functionality of our system. Today, our main Omneon Spectrum media server is fully redundant and supports eight channels of commercial content. Five networks are fed by the Omneon system controlled with Harris automation. A dedicated Omneon three-hour delay server plays out feeds to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. A separate Omneon system handles content ingest, and is tied to a media management system and a nearline tape storage unit.
We chose to invest in the Omneon Spectrum system because it allowed us to expand in a controlled, cost-effective way without greatly disrupting transmissions. By moving further into tapeless delivery, we've cut down on some of the pitfalls involved with handling tapes. The workflow is faster and more reliable. Some of our 15 and 30 second promos might be produced in 30 different versions. Now we can deliver these directly to the server for quality control checks and house ID assignment. This makes it easier to track various versions and review content.
The flexibility and space efficiency of the Omneon system have provided a lot of benefits. We have eight streams going out of here 24/7, and plan to configure our transmission services as islands, each providing four playout channels. Everything involved in generating the playout content will be contained in two or three racks. The outputs of this system will be logged and sent out directly to the transmission system. This will reduce our vulnerability to signal-path problems and make our operations more manageable and reliable. The modularity of the Omneon server enables us to avoid the potential problems of a monolithic system.
MOVING TO HD OPERATIONS
We plan to have our first modular play-out system online in early 2006. Added to it will be the Omneon HD MultiPort, which provides simultaneous HD and SD outputs from the same material. The ability to offer HD material will be key in our HD migration. We can begin to build brand loyalty to HD channels on our SD channels, while still presenting those titles on our regular SD networks.
The Spectrum media server system has been a key part of our operations for the past four years. It's enabled us to move toward a tapeless environment and grow our operations as our business has changed. We're excited about what we can accomplish with Omneon's server technology.
Peter Crane is chief engineer for Corus Entertainment. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact Omneon Video Networks at 408-585-5000 or visit www.omneon.com.