Advanced Playout Automation

Imagine Communications’ D-Series™ playout automation system is an exceptionally scalable system that provides world-class device control for linear playout channels and manages the movement of file-based media to multiple delivery platforms. The enterprise-level system delivers reliable, frame-accurate control of high-capacity media distribution environments.

D-Series playout automation commands a single architecture that can easily grow to manage more than 1,000 channels. A powerful, configurable user interface maximizes efficiency, simplifies facility reconfiguration and enables control of large numbers of channels. System integrity and practical security — including user access — are provided across the entire facility through station-defined security policies. System configuration can be managed from any authorized operator workstation.

The dual redundant configuration of D-Series provides extremely high levels of system availability for a large broadcast facility. The system is also extraordinarily flexible.

screen shot of the D-Series software showing system charts and details
screen shot of the D-Series software showing a spreadsheet of data about a single bus
screen shot of the D-Series software showing system charts and details
screen shot of the D-Series software showing a spreadsheet of data about a single bus
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  • Highly fault-tolerant architecture for maximum reliability
  • Growth potential, scaling to over 1,000 channels within a single control architecture
  • Frame-accurate control of complex multichannel infrastructures
  • Seamless interoperability with traffic and digital asset management applications
  • Configurable user interface with a range of control panels
  • Modular architecture that allows in-service upgrades and configuration changes
  • Scalability: D-Series manages large numbers and a wide variety of channels, playout devices and material management facilities, operating with maximum operator productivity. It can scale to over 1,000 distribution channels within the control architecture.
  • Redundant Components: When configured for dual redundancy, remote or local backup systems continuously shadow the main so that they can take over instantly if necessary — without any effect on running schedules.
  • Real-Time Operations: D-Series™ Device Controllers run the real-time D-Series software and communicate with video servers, routers, master control and graphics equipment via RS-422 or IP, as required.
  • IP Transition:  D-Series makes the transition to a networked IP control environment easy, with enhanced IP device control and system communications provided through both serial interface and Ethernet connections.
  • Maximum Operator Efficiency:  A single operator can configure and monitor any combination of channels, with drag-and-drop content movement, editing across multiple schedules, and drill-down capabilities for quick and easy viewing of primary and secondary events.
  • Manual Override: With fully prepared schedules, D‑Series operation can be completely hands-off; but during sports or other live events, your operators can take control and make confident decisions as action unfolds. Multiple alternate schedules for each channel help manage the unpredictability of live events.
  • Comprehensive Alarms: Extensive error reporting and summary tools allow an operator to avoid any on-air problems when managing multiple channels.
  • Configurable User Categories: Individual viewing, editing and maintenance rights are set up for each class of operator, configured to ensure system security at all times.

D-Series automation delivers a complete set of basic and optional features to support diverse content-delivery business models and ensure competitiveness in the chase for market share. That means you’ll benefit from operational efficiencies, system reliability and, most importantly, the scalability to support channel expansion. D-Series offers the following advantages:

Broadcast Television
D-Series provides central control of local content insertion, with the ability for local program origination to integrate with network feeds. The system supports growth through the efficient management of digital operations, the ability to seamlessly add channels and increased operator productivity.

Satellite/Cable TV and Radio
Multiplatform media companies face a growing number of delivery challenges — broadband, VOD, IPTV, and mobile, to name a few. The stakes are raised even higher when local content and advertising needs to be inserted into programming. The D-Series solution’s flexible delivery capabilities and structural efficiency lay the groundwork on which to build any media delivery operation.

IP Distribution
With the ability to ingest, manage and play out digital file-based media content in a fully online operation, D-Series offers substantial benefits for telecommunications organizations, Internet service providers and any company that delivers content to wired or wireless devices over IP networks. D-Series simplifies the process of converting content to diverse formats by seamlessly integrating with Imagine Communications digital asset management systems to automate content repurposing and redistribution. The result is enterprise flexibility — a necessary trait for tackling new media revenue opportunities.

Ingest Operations
Comprehensive ingest capabilities — from single spot operation to large-scale batch ingest — with quality-control features allow D-Series to function as a standalone automation solution or to be integrated with Imagine Communications Versio™ or third-party digital asset management systems. Additional ingest capabilities include:

Traffic System Interoperability
D-Series performs ingest and material-management operations based on work orders — such as record lists, cache lists, copy lists, delete lists and purge lists — produced by supported traffic systems. For late-arriving or unscheduled ingest orders, manual entry is quick and easy.

Confidence Checking
If supported by the video server, a file can begin playout while recording is still in progress, which can be used to verify the integrity of encoded material during ingest.

Quality Safeguards
During ingest, files are recorded with a temporary file name to prevent the material from going to air or being transferred to other locations before its integrity is verified. At the end of recording, you can review the file within the D-Series system to clear it for use. On release, the file name is changed to the proper one; if rejected, the file is deleted to allow the operation to be repeated.
 

Point Trimming
During the review process, the start and end of a program can be trimmed. Point trimming is particularly useful when recording live feeds; the original material remains in the server so that it can be retrimmed again, if required. The system database holds the new timing information.

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Imagine Communications Upgrades Playout at Australia’s Largest Managed Media Services Provider, NPC Media

Imagine Communications has been selected by NPC Media Pty Ltd, a  venture formed between Australia’s largest commercial broadcasters, Seven (ASX:SWM) and Nine (ASX:NEC), to provide an extensive infrastructure upgrade of the National Playout Centre (NPC) in Sydney, Australia.

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