Technicolor highlights broadcast services at NAB

The company will showcase ITV playout, a complex playout system with 25 regional feeds, and NPO catch-up TV service, which provides VOD services 10 minutes after airing

Chuck Parker, president of Technicolor’s Digital Content Delivery business talked to “Automation Technology Update” about some innovative new services that the company has just brought into operation. One is at ITV in the UK, the other is at NPO in the Netherlands.

“What we are featuring at NAB is how we handled the ingest, archiving and operations for catch-up TV,” as well as regular transmission operations, Parker said.

Eighteen months ago, UK broadcaster ITV contracted Technicolor Network Services (TNS) to handle the playout of its six existing channels. The broadcaster is complex for a terrestrial broadcaster, with 25 regional feeds carrying different advertising breaks. It runs from two transmission centers — one in London and the other at Leeds in northern England.

“While we built the new center at Chiswick Park in west London — where we have existing playout facilities for other broadcasters like NBC Universal and BBC — we also managed the existing playout center at the South Bank in central London,” he said. Technicolor had to manage transmission from the two legacy sites while migrating to two new systems, all without any break in service. “As part of the contract, we took on around 112 employees from the broadcaster” Parker said.

The system uses the TNS Midas platform for desktop browsing of content (Midas is partly based on Grass Valley ContentShare). “They can preview low-resolution files, mark it for editing and send it to an editor to do the work,” he said. At ITV, everything that goes to air is captured and transferred as files to BT’s content store as a long-term program archive. The northern center at Leeds is used as a secondary transmission site, which handles about one-third of the broadcast requirements for ITV, and also serves as a disaster recovery site.

The other project that Technicolor is highlighting at NAB is a system for the Dutch national broadcaster NPO (Nederlandse Publieke Ompreop). TNS has partnered with Telestream and Vivesta for a catch-up TV service. With the new system, NPO can publish content from the three public TV channels to multiple outlets (cable, IPTV and FTTH) as catch-up VOD services.

Telestream is providing video capture and transcoding with Pipeline and FlipFactory. Vivesta is delivering the automation and workflow management for the processes with its MediaFlow product. Technicolor is providing the project management, consultancy, architecture and migration of existing services, plus the end-to-end integration of the new catch-up service.

“We have built a system that allows them to put catch-up TV services on their Web site within 10 minutes of the broadcast finishing,” Parker said. It takes 10 minutes to encode the show in real-time, transcode, perform QC and post to the appropriate part of the Web site. “That is a pretty radical process when you consider most catch-up TV is taking four to 12 hours to get live,” he said.

“We recognized NPO’s business needs to get its catch-up service to the Web as fast as possible” Parker said. “By working with Telestream and Vivesta, we have been able to deliver this live content to VOD in record time, which demonstrates our strategy to deliver video content in any format in a fast an efficient way.

Technicolor also has the capability in the United States, Paris and Singapore, so it can provides full services to global broadcasters.