Imagine Communications has been selected by Médias du Sud in France to support a forward-looking initiative called VIA that will form the basis of the first national grouping of local TV stations in France. In the first phase, Médias du SUD/VIA will offer 20 city-based television channels, delivering local content from a central playout data centre. The IP-based deployment assists the French operator in reaching new levels of efficiency by fusing the reliability and dependability of traditional broadcast operations with the flexibility and agility of a fully virtualized, software-defined media facility.
At the heart of the new facility is a unified playout and scheduling solution featuring Versio™, Imagine Communications’ fully virtualised cloud-native playout system, and xG Schedule™, the industry’s first cloud-based planning and scheduling system for linear, on-demand and digital platforms. The Nexio® mCAPTURE™ manages IP ingest in support of the live recording workflow. The private data centre deployment is underpinned by a microservices-based solution from Imagine that oversee signal processing and routing and helps ensure strict adherence to broadcast-quality standards by providing signal synchronisation and other services. The installation also relies on the EPIC™ MV multiviewer for monitoring capabilities.
“To launch the VIA television channels we required a technology partner that could support our deep understanding of IT networks and propose forward-looking, highly efficient solutions,” said Philippe Van de Velde, Technical Director at Médias du Sud/VIA. “Imagine Communications demonstrated that it could marry broadcast quality and reliability with virtualised technology and IP networking, and, perhaps most importantly, could deliver it immediately.”
The first four channels, operating in the Region Occitanie in the South of France, are scheduled to be on the air in September 2017, with the rest of the 20 stations that are part of the initial phase to be rolled out in less than a year. The project was started in August 2017. Plans call for the network to eventually extend to cover 30 stations, all driven from the same central data centre.
The tight integration of scheduling and playout streamlines workflow, from channel origination to secure transmission, including over-the-top distribution, helping media companies to improve efficiencies while also maximizing revenue opportunities. The collapsing of business and playout operations also helps simplify operations by automating business rules, which eliminates the need for manual schedule modification and helps to slash the incidence of false alarms in the master control suite, allowing Médias du Sud/VIA to concentrate on video quality and other on-air concerns.
“We are delighted to win this contract, because it is a very clear demonstration of the case we have been making for some years now,” said Mathias Eckert, vice president for EMEA at Imagine Communications. “This is a complete, software-defined, IP ecosystem, providing a highly resilient, productive and high-quality service – a clear indication that virtualisation and IP are no longer science projects, but mainstream media technologies.”
Versio, powered by Zenium™, is the industry’s first cloud-native, microservices-based playout solution designed for pure-IP, geo-dispersed environments — but also deployable on premises-based appliances — using commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware. The EPIC MV multiviewer, also powered by Zenium, Imagine’s pure microservices platform, is capable of scaling to meet the monitoring requirements of the largest and most complex installations.