The Playroom’s new digital media hub goes live

The Playroom is a full service broadcast facility based in Sydney, Australia. As part of the Omnilab Media Group it provides content aggregation, broadcast and distribution services. Its new operations center went live July 1 and airs channels for The Movie Network and MTV Networks.

Omnilab, with systems integrator partner Magna Systems, has built the multichannel HD operations center, which will incorporate Omnilab’s continued development of broadcast and delivery within new media platforms such as mobile TV, internet TV and IPTV.

The facility is the centerpiece of Omnilab’s Yurong Street headquarters in Sydney. It includes eight workstations, a technical equipment room and an operations equipment room. The operations room houses the broadcast center, media center and QC facility. The media center has four operational areas to handle the ingest process for all channels’ transmission and production requirements, and the QC suites contain Final Cut Pro systems.

The multichannel HD broadcast center responsible for transmission is based on a Pebble Beach Neptune multichannel automation playout system with SeaChange servers. Media management systems include Isilon storage, Sun servers, Magna Systems’ MediaPilot MAM and Front Porch DIVArchive.

The Movie Network

The deal to play out the Movie Network channels was announced May 2008 and includes the provision of post-production services. The broadcaster airs three subscription movie channels on the Foxtel, Austar, Optus, SelecTV and Transact platforms.


Due to the global rebranding of MTV Networks, The Playroom and partner Magna Systems had to commit to a non-negotiable on-air date for the playout facility. The Playroom general manager Andrew Hogg said, “With MTV’s new branding, we had to be ready to go live by July 1, 2009. After a monumental effort on behalf of The Playroom team and Magna Systems, at 10 p.m. on June 30, 2009, Sydney time (midnight July 1 in New Zealand), we officially went live to air playing out MTV NZ to the Sky TV platform. This was closely followed with all three Movie Network channels (Movie One, Movie Extra and Movie Greats) going live to Foxtel and Austar on July 5 and to SelecTV on July 6. It really was a wonderful achievement and one we are all very proud of.”

According to Hogg, the new facility is designed around digital workflows, maximum flexibility, ease of storage and the seamless transfer of standards-based formats rather than specific devices or platforms. “By capturing at the highest resolutions and being able to transcode to multiple-end platform specifications as required, we enable our clients to grow with their digital delivery needs in a commercially managed way,” Hogg said. “As an IP-based facility, we manage both the physical media assets and the increasing amounts of metadata relating to those assets. This enables ease of storage and search and increases the value of the assets as they move to non-traditional platforms like Web sites, mobile devices and other handheld devices such as the Apple range of products including delivery to the iTunes platform.”

The Playroom’s new digital media hub successfully integrates post-production facilities into digital workflows, aggregating and broadcasting content in multiple formats to multiple locations and platforms.