The leading private television network in Sri Lanka, (MTV) moved to a digital ingest, playout and delivery facility with a master control system for its channels Sirasa TV, Shakthi TV and MTV Sports in June 2012, celebrating 20 years in the industry with a newly introduced station automation system.
Delivering best-quality content to satisfy the viewers, as well as to cater to the needs of its clients efficiently and effectively by conforming to world standards, were based on the objectives and the design goals, which were set accordingly to match tomorrow’s technology in the context of broadcast engineering. The main deliverables planned for the MCR were digital ingest and playout, automation of three channels, up-to-the-minute verification of commercial airing status in reconciliation and digital delivery at final out, as well as acquire program and commercial content directly from external sources in file format.
The project was started from the site preparation stage at a new location with the civil and electrical works, including interior, raised floor, power distribution/protection, air conditioning, ergonomically fabricated console/furniture, etc., which were designed by the engineering team of MTV and outsourced for the completion of infrastructure. There were some difficulties to overcome during a similar-capacity project, such as logistics, time factor and coordination, and one of the challenges was to work together consistently with three distributed locations: the production facility base at STEIN Studios, the sales/ scheduling/news operations in commercial capital city, and the presentation and graphics/master control at the station.
The preliminary design according to the broadcast technical requirement was also done by the MTV engineering team, with the intention of giving exposure of state-of-the-art technology to the entire work force involved in operational activities as well. Then the design was developed further with server and automation technology by the selected integration company, Essel Shyam Technologies from India. The automation for ingest and playout was a proprietary application software developed by Essel Shyam called Media-X and could integrate successfully with advanced Omneon Spectrum server technology from Harmonic. Including the HD-ready IconMaster master control switcher, most of the video equipment was from Harris. In addition, the routers were from Nevion, and the glue equipment was from Snell, with more products from other well-known brands such as Sony, Tektronix, Clear-Com, Rane, Junger, Wohler and Tannoy, while selected brands for cable, connector and patch were Belden, Neutrik, Canare and ADC.
With the implementation of the new system, the existing activities have changed significantly to experience the advanced technology not only from the outlook, but also in terms of productivity. From the ingest stage through the final out, and up to the verification of aired items, the entire workflow has been streamlined as a result of the perfect match of the application software with selected server architecture and related products powered by market leaders of broadcast equipment manufacturers.