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Geo TV Upgrades to an HD Future

on Jan 8, 2013

Geo TV's new studios.
Geo TV's new studios.

Blackmagic Design’s regional presence has been steadily increasing over the last 12 months or so. Having strengthened its ties with Dubai-based distributor MediaCast during 2012, its presence in the Gulf has seen distinct exponential growth, aided by an ever-growing product portfolio from the smallest SD to HD miniconverter to its eagerly anticipated Blackmagic Cinecamera. Its reach in the region beyond the Gulf itself has also been steadily growing, as evidenced by its recent work with Pakistan’s Geo Television Network (Geo TV)

Geo TV is Pakistan’s largest television broadcaster. It also operates a broadcast facility in Dubai Media City, with Samacom providing uplink services for the channel’s broadcast around the region on Asiasat 3, and its popularity among UAE viewers was confirmed when it won 2009’s Masala Lifestyle Award for Best TV Channel.

It has been bringing viewers the latest in news, entertainment, sports and youth programming for more than ten years. With five news stations in major cities throughout Pakistan and various recent upgrades to its workflow, Geo TV is leading the country’s HD revolution.

At the forefront of this upgrade is Afaq Ahmed, chief technology officer at Geo News, a division of Geo TV. He’s been responsible for overhauling the broadcast infrastructure at Geo TV assisted by Blackmagic reseller Ion Audio Visual.

At the center of the newly adopted HD workflow sits a variety of Blackmagic Design products, including several ATEM 2 M/E Production Switchers as well as an ATEM 1 M/E and ATEM 2 M/E Broadcast Panel.

The Switch to Digital
“When we started in 2002, GEO was still operating a partially tape based workflow,” said Ahmed.

“Now it wasn’t until 2008 that we decided to make the switch to an entirely file based architecture. Anyone who’s done this already will know that this isn’t an easy switch. Since making the transition we have slowly been introducing things like tapeless cameras, optical fiber and HD enabled hardware.

“Now, while we have the ability to produce content in HD, our final output is broadcast in SD. That is down to the fact that most of the national broadcasting infrastructure in Pakistan is still geared towards SD.

What we do is down convert the HD content to SD for distribution in Pakistan, the US, UK and indeed the UAE, but we will see that change over time. Having the HD enabled hardware means we are better prepared when that change does happen and ensures we are future proof,” said Ahmed.

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