Broadcast Facilities Inc.
As the largest independent West Coast provider of network origination and transmission services for 24/7 cable and broadcast networks, Broadcast Facilities Inc. (BFI), owner of the Andrita Media Center, opted for a “generational change” in the technical infrastructure of its Los Angeles facility — one that BFI was confident would revolutionize its business model.
Andrita’s 106,000sq-ft multichannel HD/SD digital network origination, satellite transmission, production and post-production media facility had operated with an architecture based on big box servers with multichannel capability. This model was both expensive, because of the upfront capital commitment required to build the infrastructure for 10-channel blocks, and inflexible, because of the requirement to define and lock in the basic playout format (SD, HD, NTSC or PAL).
Andrita decided to switch to a software-dominated network origination platform based on OmniBus iTX. The new model offered standard hardware costs amounting to 20 percent of the previous hardware costs and a software overlay that resulted in a combined material reduction of the cost to originate a network. In addition, the architecture is scalable on a network-by-network basis, and all the heavy requirements for multiple sophisticated automated graphics were met by this single software application.
The first Andrita network launched on the iTX platform provided an extreme test for Andrita and OmniBus. Game Show Network (GSN) is a very graphically-sophisticated general entertainment network supported by commercials, with 12 live segments per day with viewing audience interaction. GSN has, on average, 5000 separate events on the network per day, 2000 of which are graphics events. All of these are generated by iTX, controlled by the system’s automation. Andrita was able to secure GSN’s launch requirements with iTX software, running on HP DL365 servers with Isilon IQ6000 Clustered Network Attached Storage.
The real proof that Andrita had successfully implemented a next-generation model was that this highly complex network launch was achieved in less than 45 days from the initial agreement to the live switchover from GSN’s old facility. Andrita had to build an entirely new origination infrastructure, specific to an extremely complex application, with round-the-clock development by OmniBus to deliver the functionality required.
GSN successfully went live on Andrita’s new iTX origination platform on May 18, 2009, and the broadcaster went on to launch the European movie channel Shorts HD two weeks later using the same platform.
Andrita is currently contracted to launch more than 14 24/7 channels using iTX in the next five months. It is also planning an iTX-based centralcasting facility, scaling up to 200 networks, for local broadcast TV stations. This is something that Andrita believes would not have been possible without this iTX functionality.
Submitted by OmniBus
Andrita/BFI: Bill Tillson, pres. & COO; Tom Mikkelsen, CTO; Steve Mankowski, VP eng.; Richard Cline, VP digital media dist.; Chere E. Johnson, VP operations; Thomas McJennett, dir. prod. eng.; Eric Wilkerson, sr. mgr. broadcast op.; Dave Radford, sr. proj. eng.
OmniBus: Andy Cooper, sys. architect; Kelly Stricker, tech. acct. mgr.; Mark Wilson: proj. mgr.; Andy Broadhurst: proj. mgr.; Joe Pistacchio: reg. sales mgr.
Technology at work
Cisco: Catalyst 4500 series 96x96 GigE switch
Front Porch Digital: DIVArchive manager
Hewlett Packard: HP DL365 servers
Isilon: IQ6000 Clustered Network Attached Storage 16 TB
OmniBus: iTX multichannel automation
Spectra Logic: T950 digital tape archive with LTO4 drives