Ideal Shopping Direct chooses Pebble Beach Systems for its New Playout

Pebble Beach Systems, a leading automation, content management and integrated channel specialist, today confirmed that Ideal Shopping Direct Limited (ISD), an award-winning multi-channel home shopping retailer, has placed Pebble Beach Systems solutions at the heart of its new playout infrastructure. The system features a Marina playout and automation system controlling Dolphin integrated channel devices, with remote control and monitoring provided by Pebble’s web-based Lighthouse tool.
ISD is one of the most prolific broadcasters of live television in the UK, broadcasting on TV and online in the UK and US to over 70 million homes. The company recently undertook a major infrastructure upgrade of its Peterborough-based facility which houses production and transmission operations for its five channels: Ideal World, Create and Craft, Create and Craft USA, Ideal Extra and Craft Extra.
With much of its equipment reaching end of life, ISD needed to avoid the threat of ‘going dark’, and to make technology selections which would allow the company to evolve and grow its broadcast and online content offering as required.
The goal was to put in place a future-proof, IP-ready infrastructure and to transition to a state-of-the-art playout solution.
ISD evaluated a number of automation solutions and chose Pebble Beach Systems for its ease of use and intuitive interface. Pebble’s open API was also an important factor as it enables ISD to integrate other specialist best of breed technology, and the graphics plug-in capability made a big difference too.
The project, which is now complete, includes a new playout and automation system based on Pebble Beach Systems’ Marina controlling 6 channels of Pebble’s integrated channel device, Dolphin. Marina integrates with a new storage system to replace the existing tape library, and an IP router. ISD also uses Marina’s new Channel Manager to deliver automatic redundancy management for the Dolphin integrated channel devices.
For additional control, ISD has deployed Lighthouse, Pebble’s browser-based, remote management, control and monitoring product for Marina to give the teams in the US access to the UK system and enable them to load playlists, edit and delete events as needed.

From a training perspective, we’ve had quite a few new members join the engineering and transmission teams, and bringing them up to a level where they can use Marina has taken significantly less time than with our previous system. It’s really quick to teach someone the basics. It used to take us up to 4 months before we could trust a new operator to be in charge of transmission on their own. With Marina our new operators were on solo shifts after about 4 weeks, without any prior transmission experience. That’s a big win for us. It was very manageable for us to build the lists prior to going live, and we had quite a tight time schedule to get people up to speed on the new system, but because it’s so intuitive it was a straightforward process. And it’s been rock solid since we took it to air,” explained Alan Wells, Technical Director at Ideal Shopping Direct.

While ISD’s playlists lists are typically built a day in advance, the very nature of the channel’s business means that shows change constantly and the team has to amend playlists as required while they’re on the air. Shows get dropped, one-hour shows can become two-hour shows, live shows can become repeats, and repeats may be substituted for one another because there’s no stock. “We are constantly adapting and changing our schedules and playlists, and Marina makes this process easy for our teams,” said Wells.
With the old system, ISD had a number of people whose task was to manually operate the changes between live and pre-recorded events. Now with Marina, the transmission team’s main task is simply to maintain playlists. “During the day we are predominantly live, so that’s exactly the kind of set up we needed. Later in the evenings and during weekends, the production department can now make scheduling changes remotely from home using the Lighthouse web browser,” he added.

So far, we are really pleased with the outcome. In the future, we are also really interested in looking at putting in place standby events, which would be really easy to implement with Marina. These backup events only play if you enable them, and you can line up second or third choice events to play if for example the main event is for an item which sells out, or simply isn’t selling at all. Or if we need to evacuate the building and we’re live this could be an ideal solution. I expect this will be a game changer for us,” concludes Wells.


Switzerland’s tpc chooses Marina and Dolphin

New facility is largest uncompressed IP project in Europe
Weybridge, UK, November 20th, 2018 – Pebble Beach Systems, a leading automation, content management and integrated channel specialist, today announced that tpc Switzerland AG (technology and production center), the foremost broadcast service provider in Switzerland, has selected Pebble Beach Systems Marina automation and Dolphin integrated channel technology for the new, state of the art, IP-based facility which is currently under construction in Zürich.
An independent subsidiary of SRG SSR (Swiss Broadcasting Corp), tpc Switzerland is responsible for production and technology for SRF (Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen—Swiss Radio and Television).
Scheduled to open in autumn 2019, the pioneering new broadcast facility is based on a full-IP solution using SMPTE ST 2110, with all production for news and sport utilising the new IP infrastructure. With several studios, postproduction facilities, a new nationwide master control room and a centralised ingest and playout centre, it will be the largest uncompressed IP project in Europe.
Playout automation will be handled by Pebble Beach Systems’ flagship Marina solution,  controlling multiple Dolphin integrated channel devices which utilise the Matrox X.mio5 Q25 network interface controller (NIC) card.
Dolphin is a compact and cost-effective integrated channel device which, operating under the control of Pebble’s Marina automation, delivers highly automated integrated audio, video and graphics functionality for ingest, channel branding and frame-accurate multi-channel playout. The flexible pipeline design enables the virtual output chain to be customised for each channel, specifying the order in which functions including graphics, effects, and aspect ratio conversion are handled within the system.
For tpc, the Dolphin systems will integrate Vizrt graphics, the latest addition to the range of software graphics plug-ins offered by Pebble, which enable broadcasters to maintain their best-of-breed graphics workflows in a software or virtualised environment.

We’re proud to be part of this landmark project which represents a huge vote of confidence in Pebble’s technology, our roadmap and in the team of specialists designing the solution and delivering the project,” said Tamas Vass, Pebble’s SVP of Global Sales. “We’ve been committed to working with tpc from early on in the bid process and throughout its specification. It’s a true partnership.”


Romanian Broadcaster: PRO TV Chooses Pebble for its Playout Operations

Weybridge, UK, November 13th, 2018Pebble Beach Systems, a leading automation, content management and integrated channel specialist, today announced that the largest commercial broadcaster in Romania, PRO TV, has chosen Pebble Beach Systems’ solutions to upgrade its entire playout operations. The scope of the project includes Marina playout automation, Dolphin integrated channel devices, and Lighthouse browser-based, remote management, control and monitoring. The system is to be commissioned in December 2018, with a planned on air date during the first quarter of 2019.
Based in Bucharest, Romania, PRO TV operates seven channels including a main channel, five thematic offerings, and one international feed. Having identified the need to upgrade its technology in its broadcast operations center, PRO TV embarked upon a thorough evaluation of several vendors and their playout solutions. Ultimately the decision was taken to continue the relationship with Pebble Beach Systems.

As a long-time user of Pebble’s Neptune automation system, we have had a good history with the company. We have found them to be flexible and responsive to our needs, and we have complete trust in their ability to solve problems. Our new system brings PRO TV’s playout infrastructure up to date making our facility UHD ready,” explains Bodgan Andreescu, CTO at PRO TV.

Configured in a fully redundant architecture with mirrored playout chains, the Pebble solution features Marina controlling multiple Dolphin integrated channel solutions. These replicate, in a software-defined playout chain – or pipeline – much of the functionality conventionally handled by discrete playout devices. Dolphin also allows for flexible ‘hybrid’ pipeline designs when best of breed devices are mandated and need to be architected into the playout chain. This includes a graphics workflow where multiple Dolphin devices will share access to Vizrt graphics engines. The system will be connected with third party MAM and archive systems.
In addition to utilising Dolphin’s internal storage, PRO TV is deploying a shared storage solution from EditShare, giving them the flexibility to handle access both central and local storage for enhanced availability.
The system also incorporates Lighthouse, Pebble’s browser-based, remote management, control and monitoring product for Marina, which enables operators to load playlists, edit and delete events and monitor playout as needed from any location.
Tamas Vass, Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Pebble Beach Systems commented,

Our primary objective was to upgrade PRO TV to the new technology with minimal disruption. We are very proud of how both our pre-sales and projects teams have helped us to turn around this extensive project in a very short timescale. Their efficiency and attention to detail has been phenomenal. Equally, PRO TV’s technical team have been exceptionally agile and responsive throughout, and very engaged with the process. This is a fine example of true partnership between vendor and customer, where challenges were embraced and solved together.”