Prime TV expand its playout flexibility with Pixel Power's BrandMaster
Prime TV is one of Australia’s four regional broadcasters. Its remit is to extend the reach of television across the country. It is affiliated to Seven Network and operates free-to-air covering regional Victoria, New South Wales, Southern Queensland and Western Australia. The majority of Prime TV’s transmission is via digital terrestrial though there’s some satellite coverage in Western Australia.
In 2009 Prime TV needed to overhaul its playout operations including the core functions of master control, channel branding and automation as it needed to improve playout flexibility to handle the requirement for the playout of additional channels. The aim was to be able to provide dedicated – and high quality - branding for each playout stream even as the broadcaster increased the number of streams.
The challenge for Prime TV was that if it bought traditional master control switchers then master control alone was what it would get. This would have then necessitated buying a branding product separately. This in turn would have led to space and powering issues, not to mention cost, all of course major considerations. So Prime TV recognised that it needed to look at the situation differently: branding was the priority, master control second. Previously the broadcaster had always looked at the situation the other way around.￼
Prime TV identified Pixel Power with its new and unique BrandMaster™ technology as the ideal partner for the project based on the challenges it faced. BrandMaster combines high-end branding capabilities with master control. The technology injects sophisticated graphics capability for branding where it belongs — directly at the point of transmission — while simultaneously reducing the complexity of the signal path and streamlining the channel branding process. This meant that Prime TV didn’t have to buy another product to handle the branding, as would traditionally have been necessary. This approach also satisfied the cost, power consumption and physical space requirements (specified the way Prime TV’s are, each BrandMaster is only 2RU) that the broadcaster had identified.
Prime TV met – indeed exceeded – its objectives. BrandMaster has not only allowed it to expand its branding capabilities across existing streams, creating a unique branded appearance for each one, but also the number of streams it can playout because of the additional switching capacity. The broadcaster has been able to create additional unique playout streams, up from the original six to fourteen. These are being further subdivided in terms of ad insertion (up to 39 business feeds across the network). The broadcaster has gradually increased its installation to 19 BrandMaster units.
Realising the benefits
The BrandMasters provide true playout flexibility and scalability allowing the cost-effective expansion and addition of services. Prime TV anticipates that the number of automated playout events will grow from around 20,000 to 50,000 daily because of the expanded operation. In addition, the playout area now also benefits from nine master control workstations that are easy to use and provide instant updating across the network.
At any workstation an operator can pull up the graphics that have been created, make alterations and then all the multi-viewers and control panels are updated automatically. This workflow has been hailed by the broadcaster as fantastic. Alongside the BrandMaster installation, Prime TV has also installed a new automation system - Morpheus from Snell. BrandMaster not only integrated with that seamlessly but also worked effectively with Prime TV’s previously installed Harris (formerly Louth) system.
Prime TV has expressed itself to be very happy with Pixel Power, declaring the company great to work with which is vital on installations of this scope. Pixel Power responded quickly to any little issues and met the project objectives, providing the broadcaster with branding and master control that allows it all the flexibility and scalability it needs.