Snell simplifies public access

Snell systems drive playout and quality monitoring at NY’s Manhattan Neighborhood Network.
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The Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) has chosen Snell's Morpheus playout automation, ICE channel-in-a-box, Sirius 128 x 128 router and Hyperion monitoring system to drive its new digital broadcast infrastructure. As one of New York City's leading public access networks, MNN currently broadcasts four channels of content that reach more than 600,000 cable subscribers.

The Snell systems are a quantum-leap improvement over MNN’s previous automation and routing equipment, which was difficult to program and operate. With Morpheus, for instance, playing out a promo is as simple as dragging and dropping a file. In the MNN digital operation, Snell's Morpheus provides front-facing program ingest and playout, controlling devices that include Snell's ICE channel-in-a-box system and Harmonic Spectrum servers.

Another critical link in MNN's strategy for redundant playout and quality of experience is Snell's Hyperion monitoring system, which continuously monitors and logs aired content on all four channels. When the system detects an audio or video error, it generates an e-mail notification to the on-call engineer, who can log into the system remotely and make the necessary corrections.

Since ICE is constantly mirroring the playout, the engineer can instantly switch to the backup server without any interruption in the broadcast and, therefore, buy time to troubleshoot and correct issues with the main server. With the ICE-Hyperion combination, MNN has been able to operate without personnel physically monitoring the system during the late-night and early-morning shifts, with the increase in unmanned hours resulting in dramatic cost savings. The latest innovation in Snell's monitoring family takes this one step further. Signal Sentri combines Hyperion's sophisticated content monitoring tools with an intelligent 2 x 1 changeover switch. It automatically checks if the failover partner has valid video and audio before the switch is made and then triggers the appropriate changeover.