Crown Media Goes Global With Sony MPEG IMX

Crown Media International, the company that operates the Hallmark Channel internationally, has chosen Sony MPEG IMX players - 40 of them - to reach its 100 countries, many with their own formats and standards.
Crown, a subsidiary of Crown Media Holdings, Inc., distributes the Hallmark Channel to its international markets from a global playback center in Greenwood Village, Colo. The center, launched in February 2002, originally used Sony Digital Betacam videotape
players. The facility has now migrated to Sony MSW-M2100 MPEG IMX players.
"We moved to MPEG IMX because each player can accommodate eight sound tracks
of 16-bit digital audio quality plus provide broadcast quality images," said Charles Zabilski, Crown Media's vice president of operations. "This makes our lives a lot easier, greatly simplifying the origination of dubbed programming and continuing our commitment to quality imaging and sound."
The Sony MSW-M2100 players can play back the Digital Betacam tapes Crown
Media has in its library plus Betacam oxide, Betacam SP, Betacam SX and MPEG IMX 1/2-inch format tapes on both large and small cassettes. It switches between the 525 NTSC and the 625 PAL television standards.
The playback center is designed to originate 16 simultaneous channels, with future expansion to 32.
Foreign languages are accommodated in three ways. World Standard Teletext subtitles support the code-based character sets and appear at the viewer's option. Imitext subtitles support complex fonts like Thai and Chinese, which are "burned into" the video. The third option, audio dubbing, puts a priority on multiple channels of audio playback.
In the Crown Media system, Sony videotape players handle long-form programming, while interstitial material plays from servers. Sony's Systems Solutions Division, based in San Jose, Calif., integrated the entire playback center.