Automation projects in Europe and Asia

Sometimes the deployment of automation has to be very fast. In Europe last year, Pro-Bel delivered a four-channel Morpheus system to Danmarks Radio (DR). On-air within two months of signing a contract, the system forms part of the state broadcaster’s ambitious plans to build a completely new IP-based radio and TV broadcast center. DR began a major process to upgrade its technologies and premises some years ago. The overall aim was to unite radio, television and new media playout on one site, with an integrated tapeless workflow throughout.

Globecast has recently entered the origination business and is opening playout centers in London, Singapore and Florida. The first center to open is in London and will use Pharos Playtime automation, Mediator asset management, Miranda branding and Omneon Spectrum servers.

DigiTurk, based in Istanbul, Turkey, runs a DTH digital satellite service for Turkish viewers with approximately 100 channels. The broadcaster airs a mix of pass-through and locally originated channels. The existing master control system for the local channels was installed by Philips, and featured Alamar automation with MediaPool video servers.

When Digiturk wanted to add another 10 channels and HD capability, there was no option to expand the existing system, so the broadcaster chose Harris as the prime supplier, taking advantage of the ONE concept for a single vendor solution. The Harris H-Class D-Series runs the 10 new channels and is fully expandable. Fully mirrored Harris NEXIO video servers provide storage, backed with a Sun StorageTek digital archive. The modular IconLogo provides on-air branding.

Many stations want to integrate news playout with broadcast automation. A new local station near Barcelona, Spain, was Canal Blau in Vilanova. The broadcaster commissioned a turnkey installation for a tapeless newsroom and playout systems from vsn, which comprises a suite of integrated modules including vsn master control (MCR software-only solution) plus the scheduling and traffic tool vsn traffic; 300-hours of two-channel playout and four-channels of ingest plus a complete vsn news digital newsroom with 14 seats, synchronized graphics and teleprompter; and a vsnarchive DAM system to control a Qualstar LTO robot library for the program archive. For acquisition, the station uses Panasonic HVX200 cameras and P2 media.

Automation requirements differ across markets and continents. No one product offers the facilities or the price point for an entire project, so expect this diversity to continue through 2008. Many operators are purchasing as part of a move from tape to files, while others are upgrading old analog systems to digital SD and HD. Many are taking the advantage of automation to save cost in areas such as satellite ingest and quality control. Will 2008 see the end of the operator? It’s not likely, but there will be fewer personnel across the board.