Pebble Beach Systems Announces NAB 2018 Product Lineup

Latest versions of award-winning virtualised IP channel solution, automation, CiaB, web-based remote management and content management workflow engine on display.
Weybridge, UK, February 12th, 2018 –  At NAB 2018, on booth SL4528, Pebble Beach Systems, a leading automation, content management and integrated channel specialist, will be showcasing its latest range of solutions, including: the deployment of multiple virtualised channels in the cloud with Orca; Lighthouse, a web-based remote management and monitoring tool for the Marina automation system; and Beluga, a content management system focused on the tasks of preparing content for playout and distribution.


Orca is Pebble’s award-winning virtualised IP channel solution for playout from the private or public cloud. This proven, software-defined channel delivery solution enables organisations to deploy channels simply and quickly. Attendees will learn how the new low-latency NDI confidence monitoring increases Orca’s suitability for high value live, reactive channels. There are currently over 100 Orca virtualised channels on the air, many of which are complex multi-language broadcasts requiring precise synchronisation and comprehensive audio playout rules.


Marina is Pebble’s flagship multichannel playout automation system for systems playing out one to hundreds of channels, and is in use at top tier broadcasters around the world. A powerful automation solution with embedded content management, it is unique in its ability to evolve any playout infrastructure from legacy device control to incorporate new and evolving technologies, with minimum disruption to processes and staff. Pebble has a great track record of replacing legacy and end-of-life automation systems, thanks to an upgrade path to Marina which entails minimal interruption to existing workflows, as well as allowing continued use of existing broadcast playout technology. At NAB, Marina will be shown with new options including enhanced channel redundancy options, SCTE-104 encoding and enhanced ‘SmartPanel’ capability,


Lighthouse is a web-based remote management and monitoring dashboard for Pebble’s Marina automation environment. It enables secure, real-time access anytime and anywhere, beyond the boundaries of the normal TX environment. Powerful channel design tools enable broadcasters to configure a broadcast chain to suit their programming needs, and to deploy virtualised channels simply and quickly. With its web-based GUI, Lighthouse simplifies integration and collaboration with other departments and stakeholders.


Dolphin is a compact and cost-effective integrated channel device which operates under
Pebble Beach Systems’ automation control. Going far beyond typical CiaB (Channel-in-a-box) capabilities, Dolphin incorporates a series of software plugins, allowing organisations to use their preferred best-of-breed solutions within the integrated channel environment. Plug-ins include Ross and Pixel Power graphics, loudness from Linear Acoustic, live captioning from EEG, and Kantar and Nielsen watermarking.


Transitioning to the cloud enables broadcasters to streamline workflows, but the transition itself can be daunting. Beluga enables organisations to manage the media supply chain efficiently on premise, and in the cloud. Beluga integrates closely with Marina and focuses on preparing content for linear playout, OTT and VOD distribution. Checking segmentation, program content, allowing for conformance editing, performing comprehensive QC and generating reports are all essential steps along the playout pipeline. Beluga also adds transcoding and proxy creation to Marina’s existing toolset. As the number of users grows, Beluga’s simple web-based interface enables teams to interact with the media dynamically without having to install dedicated client software.


Scripps Increases Efficiency and Reliability with Pebble Beach Systems’ Automation

Weybridge, UK, February 8th, 2018 –Scripps Networks Interactive (SNI), is a leading developer of high-profile content for many lifestyle media platforms including television, digital, mobile and publishing. Popular lifestyle brands in its media portfolio include HGTVDIY NetworkFood NetworkCooking ChannelTravel Channel and Great American Country.
After retiring its previous automation and playout system over a year ago, SNI has been successfully broadcasting 33 channels from the Knoxville Broadcast Operations Center utilising Pebble Beach System’s Marina automation and Dolphin integrated channel systems.
The Pebble Beach Systems team was tasked with designing a system that would sufficiently isolate and protect each playout chain, while still allowing synchronised operation. In order to accomplish the task, the Pebble team architected a multi-domain system with high levels of resilience and isolation between each functional area. One domain exclusively handles Ingest and Content Management, with a second and third dedicated to Primary and Backup Transmission. The fourth domain holds a fully redundant DR (Disaster Recovery) located out of state.
The Ingest and Content Management domain incorporates a Harmonic ingest server to which files are delivered from an upstream file-based workflow. Despite the high level of isolation, domains are able to synchronise metadata and playlists are mirrored automatically between Primary and Backup transmission domains.
“Our goal was to eliminate as many points of failure as possible,” said Scott Wilkerson, Engineering Manager at SNI. “We wanted a more user-friendly UI, column-based editing and synchronised databases. The system had to be easy to maintain, and offer complete redundancy.”
The CiaB (Channel-in-a-box) philosophy –having automation running on the same device where the video playback and other graphics, audio and VANC processing reside– is a core benefit that delivers simplicity and reliability for SNI.

“We have pulled the network connection out of the back of the box, and the Dolphin system will continue to execute as long as it has a playlist and media. We could lose every core, every switch, every piece of our network infrastructure, and we would continue to playout over the air,” says Wilkerson.

Operational efficiency was a key aspect for SNI and the ability to integrate seamlessly with the Grass Valley Intuition XG graphics system saved a lot of time and investment.

“Looking back at the development stage, Pebble has met or exceeded our expectations. The increase in efficiency coupled with the reduction in hardware has enabled us to take on additional work and grow the department. This new infrastructure has also positioned ourselves to spin up any content stream the business requires much faster than historically,” said John Ajamie, SVP, US Operations, SNI.

SNI is benefiting from enhanced resiliency which comes from the self-sufficient ecosystem that Dolphin, running Marina automation, provides. A more autonomous system also means there are fewer points of failure in an integrated channel design.

“We recently had an issue where we lost network connectivity, and things kept running like a dream. No one knew anything was going on in the rest of the facility,” said says Doreen Akune, Director of Network Operations at SNI.

The SNI team is looking at Pebble Beach Systems’ Lighthouse, web-based remote management and monitoring tool, to further streamline operations.
“Controlling and monitoring operations remotely is important, but we also want other departments, like creative services and traffic, to have access,” says Wilkerson. “For example, we’d like Traffic to be able to make log change requests electronically through Lighthouse, have them approved, and automatically send the approvals back to Traffic. For that and many other reasons, we like the options that Lighthouse brings to the table.”
SNI is also looking at options for expanding with virtualised playout systems, such as Pebble’s Orca, for dynamic deployments including pop-up and experimental channels. The challenge is to bring any best-of-breed processing tools into a software ecosystem, so that either Dolphin, or Orca, can run everything required in the cloud.
“It’s great to see all of these additional software plugins coming onboard for Dolphin, and we think the product is well positioned to support us as we look to virtualise playout”, concludes Wilkerson.