PBS deploys next generation interconnect system with Omneon media servers

Omneon Video Networks has announced that Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has adopted its Media Server Systems for use in a prototype project to develop the broadcaster's new Next Generation Interconnect System (NGIS).

The announcement comes as PBS completes testing of the prototype system and plans its official roll out.

The NGIS, pending Congressional approval, was designed to provide an improved method of program distribution to the PBS community of stations that’s less expensive and more flexible than the existing approach. The current system being replaced is a traditional satellite-based interconnect system, which means all programming is "pushed" from PBS headquarters to the local public television stations.

A departure from traditional broadcast models, the new system allows transport of programming as data files in non-real-time and uses a hybrid satellite and terrestrial architecture. With the new system, member stations can browse and select content for download (pull) and have it delivered over lower-cost communication infrastructures.

At the heart of the new system is the Omneon Media Server System, located at network headquarters and at each participating member station. At PBS headquarters, the Omneon system stores program material and moves it in real- or non-real-time as needed.

At the member stations, Omneon servers form the core of edge systems, retrieving the digital media files and storing them until required for playback. Once fully operational, the system will let PBS member stations browse the network's library of content and download programming to meet the individual needs of each station.

The Omneon Media Server System is a flexible shared storage infrastructure designed for digital media, delivering scalability and flexibility. Using high-speed serial I/O busses for real-time (isochronous) connectivity and Gigabit Ethernet for non-real-time (asynchronous) network connectivity, customers have the freedom to use multiple data formats and multiple applications and the compatibility to support existing systems and add new services.

Once rolled out to the entire PBS network, NGIS will deliver programming to the 174 public television licensees that serve over 99 percent of U.S. households. The prototype project runs through 2003, with non-real-time service to continue into 2004. The complete NGIS replacement project concludes in 2006.

For more information, please visit: www.omneon.com.

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