Pixel Power Automates NZRB with Flying Colours

Horse racing channels go 24 hour a day with automated playout and branding from Pixel Power

Leading graphics and workflow specialist Pixel Power has delivered an automated playout and branding solution to the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB). The technology allows NZRB to fully automate the overnight transmission of its two television channels, enabling them to broadcast 24 hours a day, while also enhancing their on-air look.

The two channels – Trackside and TAB – broadcast live race meetings during the day, so both need the option of manual control. The live race meetings include international meetings sourced via fibre and satellite. Overnight when there is no live racing a program schedule of industry focused discussion programmes and reviews, plus replay of the days racing is transmitted.

The requirement, therefore, was for a system which would allow for secure manual control to work around the unpredictability of live sports action, but which could also be relied upon for fully automated, unattended overnight operation. Pixel Power ChannelMaster and BrandMaster, together with Gallium Workflow, provided the perfect solution.

“Until now we have used a home-grown automation system without presentation controls, graphics or any scalability,” said Gavin Richmond, Senior Broadcast Engineer of NZRB. “The Pixel Power ChannelMaster has none of the compromises of a typical ‘channel in a box’ solution, and boosts our productivity and our connection to our viewers. With the graphics capability we ensure consistent branding for our channels. It is a great step forward for us.”

Trackside uses ChannelMaster with live and studio feeds during the day. During the evening it switches to automated playout, with satellite feeds and media files being used to fill air time.

The TAB installation uses Pixel Power BrandMaster, as its requirements were slightly simpler, needing no media file playout. It allows the same graphic templates to be used so there is consistent high quality branding and viewer experience. Both networks are under the control of Pixel Power Gallium Workflow, which ingests information directly from NZRB’s scheduling system. There is a single shared hardware control panel.

“We are now planning to move our operations from Wellington to Auckland, and to rebrand the two services as Trackside 1 and Trackside 2,” said NZRB’s Richmond. “As part of that we will field-upgrade the BrandMaster to a full ChannelMaster system. Being able to upgrade easily and cost-effectively was another reason behind our choice of Pixel Power.”

For Pixel Power, James Gilbert said “This is a great illustration of the power of our playout and workflow products. What NZRB needed was simple but completely reliable control and the ability to switch between live and pre-recorded events, wrapped up in excellent branding. The image quality and graphics flexibility made Pixel Power ChannelMaster the obvious choice.”

The original installation at NZRB was managed by Gencom Technology, Pixel Power’s distributor in New Zealand. The system went live in November 2013. Pixel Power will also be exhibiting at BroadcastAsia on booth 5D1-05.