Polish media group TVN has successfully launched three thematic channels - TVN Med, TVN Lingua and Discovery Historia, a joint venture with Discovery Networks Poland - with help from On Air Systems automation.
The channels were launched on Poland's most technologically advanced digital platform, "n", which was launched by the ITI Group in October 2006 and provides HD set-top boxes as standard to all customers.
TVN's playout operations had to decide which video automation systems to invest in, both to prepare for the launch of the three new channels and to make sure their existing workflow integrated with the latest playout technology. They also needed to make sure that the content of the new channels could be output at the highest possible quality, and after reviewing alternatives chose to purchase new and upgraded software from On-Air Systems.
"With On-Air software already integrated into our existing workflow, they were the natural choice," said Bogdan Malecki, TVN's technical director. "The great thing about On-Air technology is that it's so easy to use. We realised several years ago that PC playout systems were the future of broadcasting. We've seen a number of traditional automation companies release products very similar to the ones we successfully implemented back then, so we knew we'd made the right choice. But we wanted to be sure that the technical innovation and, most importantly, the excellent customer support of our suppliers would continue to ensure things always ran smoothly."
On-Air wrote a software module specifically for TVN to log and report all broadcasted content, including commercials. They were able to work with TVN's existing Mediagenix scheduling system to build the daily playout schedules. And with changes to the regulatory rules, On-Air will soon be implementing an enhancement of this system to enable reporting on commercial graphical content as well. "This module allows us to leave channels to run fully automated or use the software as a full master control system," says Malecki. "It's meant we can replace all the equipment we traditionally would have needed."
Using the same PC systems as TVN's SD output, On-Air also wrote and tested special software modules to give TVN an upgrade path to HD for the future. All the old PCs were upgraded, creating a path for all channels without having to change any other aspect of the workflow.
Mark Errington, CEO of On-Air Systems, added: "As On-Air's software is portable between platforms, transferring licenses to the new machines was a simple process. The new PC systems work more efficiently, and software toolkits from partner suppliers speeds up software development and implementation times."
Having proved the concept of PC-based video automation systems, TVN plans to continue expanding its operations with On-Air Systems in 2007.