SOLUTION AT A GLANCETelevisión Metropolitana Canal 22, the
official television channel of the Mexican National Council for Culture
and the Arts, employs an Omneon Spectrum™ media server system
in its Mexico City facility for commercial, promo, network ID and
program playout. In addition to providing a foundation for tapeless
operations, the server system allows Canal 22 to streamline its master
control workflow, synchronize essential portions of its national and
international channel feeds, and improve interaction between playout
and production. The modularity and Smart Scalability™ of the
Omneon Spectrum media server delivers a custom fit for Canal 22's
current needs and allows for future incremental expansion.
The Challenge

Televisión Metropolitana Canal 22 is the official television channel of the Mexican National Council for Culture and the Arts. Its mission is to showcase to the world the great diversity of Mexican art and culture. Canal 22's award-winning programming is shown both nationally within Mexico and internationally.

To better serve its audiences and improve operational efficiency, Canal 22 wanted to transition to tapeless operations. Canal 22 had outgrown its VTR and cart-machine-based transmission workflow operating under an obsolete automation system. The broadcaster needed a media server that could transmit two simultaneous channels, interface well with master control, and enable quicker, easier file-based access to material being edited in the hybrid edit environment. In making the transition to digital broadcasting, Canal 22 required a secure, reliable system with flexible inputs and outputs. Canal 22 also looked ahead at future expansion and wanted to be prepared to incrementally grow their playout environment without disruption to their on-air operations.

The Solution Implemented

Canal 22 relies on an Omneon Spectrum media server with NVerzion™ automation software to control its current on-air channels, Canal 22 National, distributed throughout Mexico, and Canal 22 International, distributed in the United States via satellite. The media server has a total of eight channels, two for ingest and six for playout. Of the six playout channels, two are used for preview, two for the national channel--main and back-up--and two for the international channel--main and back-up. Each playout channel uses two audio channels. The same programming is played on the National and International channels with different interstitials for each market. "The Omneon server system meets key broadcast criteria including redundancy, system stability, easy expansion capability, and smooth integration with our editing systems," said Canal 22 Master Control Chief Engineer, Oscar Franco. "Furthermore, we've found system operation to be easy and user-friendly."

NVerzion AutomationA four-terminal NVerzion automation system
controls media asset distribution for Canal 22's National and
International channels. Canal 22 and systems integrator AMTEC chose
this redundant option for control of the station to guarantee
uninterrupted playout. NVerzion's station automation and redundancy
software products met Canal 22's requirements for reliability, broad
functionality and the ability to synchronize the playout of two
channels when desired. The NVerzion automation system also easily
integrates with the Omneon Spectrum media server.

The National
channel transmits for 20 hours each day from 6: 00 am until 2:00 am.
For the first eight hours of broadcasting the programs come from a
microwave feed with interstitials played out from the Omneon media
server under the control of NVerzion automation. From 2:00 pm until
2:00 am content is broadcast directly from the Omneon media server
under Nverzion automation control. Canal 22 International transmits for
12 hours a day utilizing much of the playlist from the National
channel. Different commercials are inserted into the International
playlist. The Nverzion software supports synchronization of the
National and International playlists.

For both channels the
NGest application is used for frame-accurate ingest and preview.
NVerzion's NBase database and NView application are run in a redundant
configuration to support browsing of all video clips. Also run in a
redundant configuration is the EMC application for centralized RS422
control of the encoder and VTRs.

Playout automation is also
fully redundant with NControl MC running on Playout Terminal 1 managing
the master control switcher and executing the playlist for Canal 22
National's main feed and Canal 22 International's back-up feed. The
tasks are swapped for Terminal 2.
The Omneon server system installed at Canal 22 features a storage capacity of 1.8 terabytes, or about 100 hours of DV 25 playout at 25 Mbps. The server's open architecture supports tight video format integration with industry-leading edit systems, including Canal 22's editors of choice Apple Final Cut Pro® and Leitch® VelocityQ™. Finished commercials and promotionals are exported from the editing stations to the Omneon Spectrum system using industrystandard file protocols over gigabit Ethernet. The editors can mount the Omneon file system as a network drive using either SMB or AFP standard file protocols. This allows the editor to simply open a folder or directory window on the desktop and drag and drop finished segment files to the Omneon media server for playout. Both Apple Final Cut Pro and Leitch VelocityQ can export self-contained QuickTime™ .mov files. And since the Omneon media server supports industry-standard QuickTime files natively, finished segments can immediately be played out from the server with no transcoding or re-wrapping necessary*. An added benefit for Canal 22 is that the minute the file arrives on the Omneon media server the automation system receives notification of the new file's availability.

Creating a more efficient workflow for Canal 22 was an important benefit and critical factor in the decision to go with the technology, but perhaps the paramount decision criteria was media server system stability. "We integrated the Omneon Spectrum technology into our facility because its RAID storage module ensures high reliability and allows drive rebuild while the system is online and with minimal risk of data loss," said Canal 22 Transmissions Director Enrique Hidalgo. "The Omneon server system guarantees a high level of file security and stability for each system component. Its flexibility will allow us to expand or change our configuration at any time, according to particular Channel 22 requirements, without disrupting operations or requiring a system reboot."

Systems integrator AMTEC played a key role in the specification, installation and integration of the complete solution. Going forward AMTEC will coordinate technical support and consult with Televisión Metropolitana Canal 22 as the network looks to scale the Omneon server in a further expansion of tapeless operations.

The Result

Streamlined production workflows, better video quality, improved use of personnel, reduced materials and equipment maintenance costs, and increased efficiency were the immediate results of Canal 22's move to file-based operations.

The transfer of material directly from production to the servers, avoiding slow and expensive transfer to tape, saves Canal 22 valuable time and money. The promotions department benefits from increased flexibility by being able to more easily make timely changes. "The installation and configuration processes for the Omneon server were very easy and clear from beginning to end, and the tuning with the automation system went quite smoothly, fulfilling all of our requirements," said Oscar Franco. "We are very happy and comfortable with the system."

Canal 22 is poised to take the next step in its transition to digital. The broadcaster plans to add solutions for digital archive and central storage and to fully incorporate news, studio, and mobile unit production into its new tapeless workflow. Canal 22 is also considering adding an additional channel to serve the European market.

*Note: Apple Final Cut Pro files and Leitch VelocityQ files are not directly compatible with one another. Using these two edit platforms concurrently with an Omneon Spectrum media server requires specific virtual player configuration. Consult Omneon support prior to implementation.

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fx +65 6548.0504Omneon, Omneon Video Networks, and the Omneon logo are registered trademarks of Omneon Video Networks, Inc. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of the respective companies. Copyright ©2005 Omneon Video Networks, Inc. All rights reserved Printed in USA | November 2005. The information contained in this document is subject to change without notice or obligation. WPHD-051107