PacTV’s New Multiviewers

With the increase of HD content and the global expansion of networks, monitoring broadcast transmissions has become very complex for master control room operators. To meet the challenge, Pacific Television Center (PacTV) has begun utilizing a new type of multiviewer that handles more paths with faster response times, which then reduces the risk of prolonged outages.

Some background: At PacTV, we work daily with such global broadcasters as BSkyB, Network Ten Australia, and Al Jazeera. We provide them with transmission support to ensure content reaches viewers consistently and on time.

PacTV in London In addition to transmission, we also offer our clients a multitude of services. They include fibre connectivity, satellite coordination, receive and records, multi-format tape playouts, live shots, satellite media tours, as well as additional production needs.

Managing it all for our full roster of clients is quite a task. So, during a recent company-wide renovation, we prioritized streamlining the master control rooms in our London, Los Angeles and New York facilities.

As our business has grown over the last few years, so has the need to enhance our monitoring and transmission capabilities. It became evident that a substantial multiviewer system was needed.

However, as with any master control room, space is limited. In response, we installed multiple compact, yet functional Evertz 7867VIPA 24-DUO multi-image display processors into our console at PacTV’s London facility. This has enabled our London operators to view an additional 43 sources from around the world.

Prior to installing the Evertz multiviewer system, PacTV London was using another manufacturer’s monitoring system. It simply wasn’t robust enough to handle our current requirements.

The Evertz monitoring system has been a tremendous asset to our workflow. While displaying multiple feeds on a single flat screen, it enables our operators to closely monitor clients’ broadcast channels, including the U.S.-based Tennis Channel, Australia’s AuBC, and New Zealand’s Sky New Zealand and TVNZ.

We are now able to monitor and troubleshoot every feed that passes through PacTV London quickly and more effectively than ever before. Additionally, alarms have been programmed to alert operators of “video loss” and “video freeze”, allowing technology to become the first responder in alerting human operators to possible transmission problems.

Perhaps Evertz’ most useful feature is that of format-detection, which allows operators to easily see the picture format of the feed. With just a glance at the monitoring wall, format-detection shows whether the feed is in SD or HD format.

Operators at PacTV London use this to double-check every transmission. For example, they recently avoided an issue when managing the BNP Paribas Tennis Open in Palm Springs from BT Tower. SD content was being sent from the source in error. By utilizing the format-detection feature, the situation was corrected quickly before the test window even opened.

The Evertz system is a more modular design, so no one error is catastrophic. Also, as the multiviewer interfaces with PacTV’s Evertz fibre platform, operators from around the globe can manage everything as a group.

Using the same network connection and software has made all three facilities more efficient. The Evertz system’s modular design also allows for greater expandability in the future, making it a great investment.

Overall, having the Evertz multiviewer system at PacTV London and all of our facilities, simplifies monitoring. We can keep our eyes on our current traffic while getting a glimpse of what’s down the road.

Paul Abbott has been the Bureau Manager of PacTV London for the past six years. Under his supervision, PacTV London’s network has grown from an OC-3 to an OC-48, expanding its European footprint.