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DirecTV deploys largest iTX installation

13 September 2007

US satellite provider DirecTV has placed a major order for Omnibus Systems’ iTX software based transmission technology, writes Adrian Pennington. The installation, which is passed over to full DirecTV management next week, involves 80 fully redundant HD playout channels for the satellite provider’s HD CONUS expansion project that is intended to enable it to deliver up to 100 national channels by the end of the year.

“The initial contract is for 80 redundant HD channels which in reality is 160 channels of iTX,” explained Omnibus CTO, Ian Fletcher. “With additional channels the installation gets on for 200 servers performing a variety of 1080 and 720p HD that is fully scaleable and all with the ability to create fully featured channels.”

The contract brings total sales of iTX to over $10 million less than a year on from launch. Other broadcasters who have chose iTX include New Delhi TV, Chellomedia of The Netherlands and Belgium facilities company Videohouse.

“The DirecTV order is hugely important for us because when we announced iTX a lot of people were very skeptical,” added Fletcher. “Although there is other software playout products on the market they are t0raditionally associated with low end applications like airport TV.No major broadcaster has looked at doing playout this way. For DirecTV to have the vision to see that this is the way of the future is fantastic.”

DirecTV made the decision to go with iTX a year ago and have been a beta partner for the product working to implement additional features such as support for Dolby Digital audio encoding allowing the processing of multiple Dolby Digital streams in realtime and mixing between different surround and stereo sources and formats.

“Having such a huge beta partner demonstrates to the market that iTX is real and on air,” added Fletcher.

Said the firm’s CEO Mike Oldham, “It’s the first product we’ve produced where a a customer can start with one SD channel and go up to 100 HD channels with surround sound essentially by adding PCs to a network. Interest is so high from broadcasters, mobile broadcasters and IPTV companies that we expect a growth of 1000% over last year.”

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