Pebble Beach Systems has secured a significant contract to supply its new Marina enterprise level automation system to German national public television broadcaster ZDF.
The system will control six high definition channels from ZDF’s playout centre in Mainz. The contract will be the first installation for Marina, which was first exhibited publicly by Pebble Beach Systems at IBC2009.
ZDF’s programme to renew and centralise the transmission structure across six of its channels coincides with the start of regular HD transmissions on Astra, scheduled for early 2010. The transmission centre will control the ZDF Main Channel, ZDF Info, ZDF Neo and ZDF theatre channels, each of which has a high degree of live content, as well as the 3Sat channel. ZDF has specified that the migration to the new technology should take place during normal operations, with the first control room scheduled for completion in time for ZDF’s HDTV launch and the Vancouver Winter Olympics in February.
Prime contractor for the project at ZDF’s Mainz-Lerchenberg headquarters is major German system integrator Studio Hamburg MCI. Director, Ralf Schimmel stated: “We’ve worked with Pebble Beach on previous projects, and our experience with the company has overwhelmingly been a positive one: they have an outstanding and committed team who deliver on their promises, enabling us to confidently offer best-of-breed automation systems to the end user.”
Marina will be used by ZDF for playout where the system will control Harris Nexio video servers, Evertz transmission mixers and routers, subtitlers, keyers, VPS, graphics and many other devices used by ZDF in their transmission chains. The system will also integrate with the Blue Order Content Management System and ZDF’s own in-house traffic system to provide a workflow that minimises the need for operator intervention. ZDF’s specification document encompasses an exacting range of required features, including a guarantee of seamless transition between the main and backup systems without visible interruption, and for non-specialist personnel to be capable of running the system.
Pebble Beach Systems’ Managing Director, Peter Hajittofi, confirmed: “We’re proud to be associated with one of Europe’s largest broadcasters at a key point in its history, and delighted that we were chosen for this project. The scale of ZDF’s requirements, with so many operator positions that require controlled access across multiple systems is an ideal fit to Marina’s distributed architecture. Marina provides a robust platform to support the most demanding operational requirements. It is the result of years of development and listening to our customers.”