Television Systems Limited (TSL) Design Team
ESPN STAR Sports:
Tom McVeigh, sr. VP ops. and tech.;
Andy Rylance, sr. dir. eng.;
Sabil Salim, sr. dir. ops.;
Chua, Tiong Hou, eng. mgr.;
Shankar Arumugam, ingest supervisor;
Cheah, Wei Khim, sr. ed.;
Lim, Cheng Ghee, trans. mgr.;
Phil Betts, sr. prod.
Terry Spittle, proj. sponsor;
Loh, Cheng Song, proj. eng.
Will Shanahan, proj. mgr.;
Graham Collins, solution designer
David Phillips, CEO, proj. dir.;
Matthew Slater, proj. mgr.;
Julian Sharp, proj. eng.;
Lionel Matthews, solution arcitect
Technology at work
Apple Mac Pro
EMC CLARiiON storage
Front Porch Digital archive
OmniBus OPUS automation
StorageTek tape library
TSL, partners create Asian sports superstar to service multichannel, multilingual market
ESPN STAR Sports (ESS) is a 50-50 joint venture between two cable and satellite broadcasters, Walt Disney (ESPN) and News Corporation Limited (STAR). ESPN STAR Sports reaches more than 310 million viewers in Asia via 17 networks covering 24 countries, each localized to deliver specific premier sports programming to Asian viewers.
ESS’ existing tape-based system was becoming increasingly inefficient. Having experienced success with past projects, the broadcaster came to TSL again to design and integrate a next-generation, multichannel, multilanguage live sports broadcast system at its 60,000sq-ft facility in Singapore.
The project’s requirements were unlike those of any other broadcaster in the world. Many systems support live sports programming, some specialize in multiple live channels and there are a number of multilingual broadcasters in the world; however, ESS is unique in that it combines them all.
TSL first formed a “super user group” that would be closely involved in the design and testing of the system.
Each stage had clearly defined and measurable outcomes. Stage 1 included system schematics and the specification of an OmniBus content management system.
Stage 2 included prebuild and testing of the majority of the system infrastructure at TSL’s UK headquarters. Because some of the subsystems would only be available on-site in Singapore, many were simulated at TSL.
ESS was invited to inspect and test the system in Stage 3 against a set of predefined test scripts — the factory acceptance test (FAT). Upon sign-off, the system was packed and airfreighted to Singapore.
Stage 4 was the installation of the infrastructure in Singapore. This was the first opportunity to connect, configure and test the interfaces to the subsystems that were not present during the FAT. Sign-off of the site acceptance test (SAT) concluded that the system in its “manual” state was then operational.
Stage 5 was the overlaying of workflows such as language track stacking, screening and segment replace. The user group ran through a predefined set of test scripts in the basic workflow acceptance test to prove system functionality once the workflows had been configured.
It was at Stage 6 that more production, news and promotions staff (the “super users”) were trained on the system, and they would later train the remaining staff. The project concluded with the final SAT, whereby all functionality including refinements were tested.
Although the project requirements were unique, ESS is now fully using its new system with maximum efficiency, providing a highly successful service.