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Japanese time-shift through Morpheus

24 May 2007

UK media services company Trifield has announced that it has completed a major facility upgrade for client JSTV with Pro-Bel products forming the core technology base. The company’s Morpheus automation system, a TX-520 master control unit, a Sirius router with Aurora router control and a range of signal processing products has been installed, writes Andy Stout.

Trifield – which was not only involved in the equipment specification and installation but also runs the playout operation – has worked with JSTV for approaching two decades. JSTV rebroadcasts NHK and other Japanese content to expat communities across Europe via Eutelsat’s HotBird 6 satellite. The service is part free-to-air and part subscription.

The channel shows a mixture of live and ‘almost live’ programming via satellite from Japan and content that needs to be time-shifted, either for playout later in the day or archived for future use. Added to that there is a significant proportion from other providers that is delivered on tape. Over time a particular workflow had developed that JSTV was eager to continue when it came to upgrade the facility.

Steve Palmer, broadcast operations manager, Trifield, said, “The methodology adopted early on by JSTV was to record everything in one long ‘clip’ and then dynamically extract required segments. This allows JSTV to easily take care of last-minute incoming programme changes and extensions. JSTV is even able to later retrieve material that was not originally intended for use or scheduled for recording!

“We found Pro-Bel to be the only company confident that its automation system could handle everything our client required. Pro-Bel also worked closely with us to provide specific tools that we needed, including a practical and efficient way of rapidly reviewing spots.”

For JSTV, Morpheus allows any number of live recordings to take place, manages quality control and review processes and posts items to a digital archive. Simultaneously, the system fulfils requests for programmes to be made available for scheduled frame-accurate playback and provides intuitive feedback that quickly alerts operators to potential problems. Morpheus also delivers powerful transmission control functionality designed to cope with the practical realities of broadcasting.

“In the case of breaking news, Morpheus works with our operators, allowing them to extend or shorten ‘on-air’ events at will. Morpheus dynamically adjusts secondary events relative to the new end time, avoiding the complex and risky manual intervention needed with other systems we looked at,” said Palmer.

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