Saudi Broadcasting taps Imagine for multichannel networking and playout | Infrastructure | News | Rapid TV News
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Seeking to boost daily operational efficiency and eliminate human error for reliable and professional broadcasting, the Saudi Broadcasting Authority (SBA) is replacing its playout technology for its main channels with an integrated solution from Imagine Communications.
imagine SBA 4JUne2020
To meet the requirements of one of the most prestigious broadcasters in the Gulf region, the technology provider proposed an end-to-end system covering network infrastructure, routing, monitoring, ingest, asset management and playout under the Imagine ADC playout automation control solution to replace the current system based on hardware from multiple vendors.

The new Imagine set-up is largely based on software solutions running on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, using industry-standard workstations from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). It also includes a Platinum IP3 router to switch SD, HD and 3G signals, with the capability of adding real-time IP switching to support SBA’s development plans. Additionally, the IP3 router provides integrated multi-viewer functionality to ensure all monitoring is handled in a space-saving frame.

“We have an excellent reputation for the quality of our programming and delivery,” observed Hatim Abounassf, vice president for engineering affairs for the Saudi Broadcasting Authority. “To build for our future, we need a scalable network infrastructure and playout architecture that will allow us to use sophisticated automation to make our operations as efficient as possible, while maintaining the very highest standards. We felt that a single, end-to-end system was the best approach, and Imagine Communications proposed a tightly integrated solution, based on modern COTS hardware; a major step towards the IP world. Imagine understood our requirements, and we are confident that we have established a strong platform for the future.”

In the new installation SBA uses ADC linked with Nexio+ AMP video servers backed by Versio IOX SAN storage, with content management by Nexio Motion. To handle all media workflows, the tight integration of these three core applications makes for an architecture that is readily scalable, allowing it to adapt to SBA’s evolving business needs. Currently, the system is configured for 24 channels and will transmit 12+12 HD channels with full redundancy. It can be extended to accommodate new standards and more channels, without impacting the current output.

The new infrastructure is being implemented at SBA by Imagine Communications in partnership with INC System Integrations. Testing and rehearsals with the new platform started at the beginning of 2020 and will be on air in the second quarter of the year.

Nexio Motion incorporates automated workflows, such as quality control, archive management and file transcoding, through the integrated software tools including SelenioFlex File. This means that new content is rapidly checked and converted to the house format, and SBA can deliver content on a range of platforms including mobile and OTT, as well as linear broadcasting.

Content is managed on an array of Nexio+ AMP servers with a total of 60 bidirectional channels specified by SBA. The HPE server front-end is connected to a shared SAN storage array with RAID 60 protection for highly resilient 24/7 operation. All video processing and transcoding is completed in SelenioFlex File, with Selenio 6800+ modules primarily providing the fibre link infrastructure, and switching and multi-viewer capabilities are integrated in the Platinum IP3 router.

The close integration of the system ensures that each workflow is completed in a timely manner, to defined rules, with the minimum of operator intervention, achieving flawless performance and high efficiency.