Omneon Spectrum brings stability to Mazzika and Zoom TV

Mazzika and Zoom TV recently expanded their Omneon Spectrum server to provide redundancy for both channels and guarantee nonstop broadcasts during upgrades or in the event of a failure in the main system. Digital Studio reports.

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By  Vijaya Cherian Published  June 1, 2006

I|~|mag2.jpg|~|Maged Habib, broadcast manager, Mazzika and Zoom TV.|~|Cairo-based media house, Digital Sound Company, which launched two entertainment channels, Mazzika and Zoom TV, earlier this year has expanded its Omneon Spectrum server systems as part of its efforts to ensure uninterrupted delivery of content to its viewers. The servers will help the channels provide reliable, scalable playout from a shared storage platform. The two channels offer a variety of music and light entertainment programmes from Egypt, Lebanon and across the Middle East. Between them, the two channels have one of the largest classical and modern music libraries in the region — Mazzika transmits international and Arabic video clips primarily to the Middle East while Zoom transmits Arabic video clips to viewers in the Middle East, USA and Canada. “We were concerned about the integrity of Mazzika and Zoom playout in part because the Windows-based server platform we had relied on previously had become quite unstable,” says Maged S. Habib, broadcast manager at Mazzika and Zoom TV. “We were also experiencing significant storage issues. We found that we were storing multiple versions of media on our playout, backup and capture servers, which themselves had limited capacity and offered no easy means of expansion and no support for integration with third-party automation systems,” adds Habib. ||**||II|~||~||~|Prior to the expansion of their Spectrum system, Mazzika had an Omneon server that comprised a MediaDirector, three MediaPorts, and a MediaStore 4000 storage array with 16x146-GB hard disks. “We use one of the MediaPort systems to ingest clips and another to support playout for Zoom. The third MediaPort will be used for the playout of Mazzika once we have completed ingest of material from our Sony J3 VTR,” says Habib. The two new MediaPorts and the MediaDirector modules Mazzika has recently added in the expansion of the Spectrum server will provide redundancy for both channels to guarantee nonstop broadcasts even during upgrades or in the event that the main system fails. “In addition to enhanced stability, the new systems allow us to deliver higher-quality digital audio rather than play out analogue, as we were forced to do with our previous system,” adds Habib. Mazzika and Zoom rely on 15 technical operators, who in turn rely on the Omneon Spectrum server system to simplify their work cycle. The new playout servers are integrated with a Dalet Plus automation system, so their staff can simply create the desired playlist and hit play. “The single shared storage platform has eliminated the need to copy the files from the capture server storage to the play out server, so we’re no longer working with more than one copy of the same media,” explains Habib. The Mazzika team believes that the Spectrum system’s Web-based manager interface and easy, plug-and-play scalability will make upgrading and managing the system, as well as troubleshooting easy. “We were able to add onto our existing systems without shutting down our server systems or interrupting valuable on-air programming. The ability to expand the system so easily will simplify any future expansion of the system to accommodate additional playout channels,” Habib adds. ||**||III|~||~||~|The entire systems integration was undertaken by Dubai-based systems integrator, Soft Edit, which primarily recommended Dalet automation and media asset management, Omneon servers and interface equipment from Network Electronics. “This is a multi-channel playout system, and although they are on air currently with only two channels, their system is fully capable of accommodating an unlimited number of channels,” says Naeem Aiyed, managing director of Soft Edit. According to him, Soft Edit’s biggest challenge was to introduce a workflow that could handle the modular expansion and growth of a playout centre while also being able to cope with the interactive requirements of a music channel such as Zoom. “They are very happy with the modularity and the flexibility of the Omneon central content server and the capability of Dalet automation to integrate with their interactive equipment,” says Aiyed. Habib seconds that. “Setting up and managing our Omneon Spectrum systems has been very easy. The Omneon video network architecture has saved us a lot of effort because we now ingest the material once and subsequently can play it on many channels simultaneously. This capability has also saved a lot space on our shared storage system. We now have the benefit of an email-based alerting system, which has been valuable in isolating any problem at an early stage and, in turn, fixing it before it causes an off-air situation,” says Habib. “Our newly upgraded Spectrum system is very stable and has never been off-air since we started using it. We hope that the new reliability, ease of use, and flexibility provided by the server system will allow us to bring improved broadcast quality and consistency to a growing viewing audience,” he adds. ||**||

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