Rotana TV upgrade paves way for switch to HD

Cairo-based broadcaster upgrades playout and asset management facilities
Cairo-based Rotana TV is preparing to upgrade to HD.
Cairo-based Rotana TV is preparing to upgrade to HD.

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Egyptian broadcaster, Rotana TV, has completed a major upgrade of its playout and asset management facilities, paving the way for a full switch to HD.

The upgrade project was designed and delivered by Imagine Communications’ regional specialist centre in Dubai, supported by Systems Design.

Rotana TV, which currently broadcasts 14 channels as well as time shifts and rebrands, upgraded its existing platform which was originally implemented by Imagine Communications in 2009.

The upgrade will allow Rotana TV to migrate all of its channels to HD and allows the playout centre to operate completely in the file domain. The enhancements have simplified internal operations and will enable Rotana TV to deliver output via a data stream for satellite providers Arabsat and Nilesat, and to other broadcast facilities in Europe and the USA.

Rotana TV plans to move IP delivery to outlets in Canada and South America in the future.

“When we installed our original automated playout and asset management architecture in 2009, we knew it was one step in our continuing growth and that we would need to expand it in due course,” said Dr Naser Refaat, technical services executive manager of Rotana TV. “That system has proved extremely robust and reliable, and it is very pleasing that we do not have to lose any of that capital investment as part of our upgrade.”

At the heart of this upgrade are Imagine Communications Nexio Volt servers and Nexio Farad scalable online storage systems. Rotana TV already had Imagine Communications’ ADC playout automation and Nexio Motion digital media management, both of which were HD-ready.

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The Nexio Motion media management platform in place already allowed Rotana TV to manage and move media assets. The new platform provides a file-based environment that included ingest stations within Rotana TV and remotely at the broadcaster’s facilities in Cairo’s Media Production City. Other Imagine Communications’ equipment, including Nexio IconMaster modular master control switchers, graphics and Platinum routers with integrated multiviewers, was upgraded to handle HD signals.

“Imagine Communications proposed a seamless upgrade to enable us to broadcast in HD and to streamline our operations by moving away from tapes completely,” Dr. Naser said. “Coupled with the excellent support we received from Systems Design, the Cairo-based dealer, and from the Imagine Communications regional centre in Dubai, this was an easy choice to make.”

Mathias Eckert, vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa at Imagine Communications, said: “Our broadcast customers are navigating various states of transition, whether migrating from tape to file, from SD to HD and beyond, or from traditional infrastructures to software-defined networks. We strive to provide solutions that are tailored for these transitions wherever our customers are in the process.

"Rotana TV, which five years ago implemented an end-to-end solution for SD playout, demonstrates this clearly. Today, we have upgraded it for file-based HD without compromising their existing investments in equipment and skills, and we have delivered a solution that remains future-proofed, whenever Rotana TV wants to take that next step.”

 

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