Pebble Beach Systems Demonstrates Business Continuity using Orca

For Immediate Release

 IBC 2018 Preview
Stand number: 8.B68
14-18 September 2018
RAI, Amsterdam

Local playout system fully synchronised with an identical system running in the AWS public cloud delivers DR functionality without compromise

Weybridge, UK, September 10th, 2018 – At IBC 2018 on stand 8.B68, Pebble Beach Systems, a leading automation, content management and integrated channel specialist, will be demonstrating its Orca virtualised playout solution in a full cloud-based Business Continuity application, with one channel running locally on the Pebble stand, and the backup channel running in the AWS public cloud.
Disaster Recovery has been a catalyst in the growing adoption of virtualised playout. However, this often means a cut down operation compared to the main facility, offering limited functionality and running evergreen generic material that buys time to get the proper schedule back on air. A business continuity system like the one Pebble will be demonstrating at IBC ensures there is absolutely no difference between the main and the virtualised DR systems: operators have access to the exact same interface, features and devices, using what is effectively a software playout layer. And most importantly, this means that viewers will not experience any difference in their programming should the need to switch between sites arise.
Changes to the main system playlists, including control actions, will be synced to an AWS-based Orca system, thereby removing the need for operators to manage the backup system separately. Automatic media and metadata synchronisation ensures that that playout can quickly switch between main and backup sites, and that media is always retrievable and ready to play in the event of a disaster.
Orca is a software-only all IP virtual implementation of the Pebble Beach Systems’ Dolphin integrated channel platform, running under the control of its flagship Marina automation software, deployed in a virtual machine (VM). Channels can be launched and integrated into a running Marina automation system very quickly, making it ideal for temporary and event-based services. While this solution is being demonstrated at IBC using AWS, the disaster recovery system can be deployed to anywhere compute power exists, including private data centres.

“Pebble will be demonstrating a full Business Continuity use case where the channel output and functionality remain the same, even in a disaster scenario. The Orca system running on a VM at IBC will be fully synchronised with an identical Orca system running in the AWS cloud. And centralised monitoring for both systems, via our Lighthouse web-based dashboard, displays low latency video previews and immediate alerts of errors, delivering peace of mind for continued operations if the worst should happen,” explains Stuart Wood, Technical Product Specialist at Pebble.

To mitigate against unreliable network connections, the system will utilise the SRT video transport protocol which enables the delivery of high-quality and secure, video across the public Internet. “With advances in IP technology such as SRT, customers now have the flexibility to select where they run their Disaster Recovery operation from, and the ability to switch between IP video streams much faster, compared to the traditional DR systems based on satellite distribution,” added Wood.
Both the main and backup systems, while totally separate, are monitored from a single centralised web-based dashboard using Pebble’s Lighthouse remote management and monitoring tools. This shows both playlists side by side, and lists any errors to provide actionable information on each system. Low latency monitoring using NDIÒ technology delivers a confidence preview of each system to the Lighthouse UI without the delays incurred by having to manage uncompressed video.
NDI® is a registered trademark of NewTek, Inc.


Pebble Beach Systems partners with EditShare showcasing shared storage

For Immediate Release
 IBC 2018 Preview
Stand number: 8.B68
14-18 September 2018
RAI, Amsterdam
Improved redundancy, flexibility for preview channels, fast turnaround of late arriving content
Weybridge, UK, August 31st, 2018 – At IBC 2018 on stand # 8.B68, Pebble Beach Systems will showcase integration between its Dolphin integrated channel device and XStream EFS shared storage options from storage and workflow experts EditShare.

“We are encountering use cases for shared storage more and more frequently as the user base for Dolphin continues to grow and broadcasters seek to add to the resilience and flexibility of their operations,” says Alison Pavitt, Marketing Manager at Pebble Beach Systems. “EditShare has a huge amount of experience in production and playout workflows, and they offer guaranteed stream performance for these mission-critical applications. This makes their flexible and robust shared storage options a great fit in the Dolphin deployments we design with our customers.”

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.
Having access to external shared storage which has backups of all locally stored content is an effective solution in a number of key use cases. In so-called ‘N+m’ redundancy scenarios there may be a number of channels playing out on Dolphin devices, with an additional spare device in the system as a backup. If any one of the main channels fails, the spare would be deployed, but there would inevitably be a delay while the content is copied across to its local storage.
Similarly, it’s possible that the additional ‘spare’ device may be wanted for use as a preview channel, but impractical delays are incurred if, again, content has to first be copied to its local storage.
With EditShare XStream EFS shared storage in the system, any Dolphin device can instantly access the content it needs to either playout the channel or to view a preview. And for fast turnaround applications, late arriving content onto the shared storage – either by file delivery or completed edits – can be played out immediately on any channel.
Architecting a system to have both local and remote storage also gives additional operational flexibility, enabling playout to continue, for example, during maintenance periods.

“Mission critical broadcast environments require playout solutions with reliable bandwidth and throughput.  There can be no lag or downtime,” comments Lee Griffin, Head of Marketing, EditShare.  “Integrating EditShare XStream EFS shared storage with the Dolphin distribution workflow allows Pebble customers to further automate delivery workflows and play content direct from storage that is backed by fault tolerant, highly scalable node-based architecture. It’s simplifying workflows with peace of mind.”


The new Matrox X.mio5 Q25 SMPTE ST 2110 NIC card integrated by Pebble.

For Immediate Release

Adds more uncompressed IP inputs and outputs to Dolphin integrated channel device –  Enables destination time switching without glitches or delays – Avoids the need for additional switching hardware

Weybridge, UK, August 23rd, 2018 – On stand 8.B68 at IBC Pebble Beach Systems will be showcasing its Dolphin integrated channel device with enhanced uncompressed multi-channel 4K and 25GbE IP functionality, thanks to the integration of the award-winning Matrox X.mio5 Q25 SMPTE ST 2110 network interface controller (NIC) card
Daniel Robinson, Head of Product Development at Pebble explains why the integration of the new card is significant:

“Dolphin already offers multiple I/O options to cater for the diverse requirements of our growing user base. A wide range of standards and protocols are supported including SDI, uncompressed and compressed IP, and NDI. Integrating the new X.mio5 Q25 SMPTE 2110 NIC card now enables multiple SMPTE ST 2110 UHD streams for uncompressed IP whilst, crucially, not increasing the load on the CPU. This significantly enhances the flexibility of Dolphin for uncompressed IP playout architectures. When the number of inputs is limited, users can encounter glitches and delays when switching between incoming streams. Thanks to the increased number of inputs this NIC offers, multiple uncompressed IP transport streams can be fed to Dolphin concurrently so that when the input is switched, the stream is already running and ready for a seamless changeover. This destination time switching also means that the additional switching hardware is not required.”

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, aspect ratio conversion are handled within the system.
Equipped with 25GbE and 10GbE interfaces, Matrox X.mio5 Q25 features multi-channel IP video I/O from HD to 4K—with zero CPU usage—on-board multi-channel HDR conversions, along with motion adaptive de-interlacing, pristine scaling, and powerful compositing engines for high-density 4K video processing. Designed as a video-aware COTS SMPTE ST 2110 NIC card, X.mio5 Q25 delivers 24/7 reliability and interoperability required of broadcast equipment, while offering the flexibility and scalability expected of IP infrastructures including standard network stack functionality.


Assisted Broadcasters Migrating from Ageing (EOL) Automation Systems

For Immediate Release
Proven migration path and hybrid approach provides ultimate flexibility and confidence
Weybridge, UK, July 23rd, 2018Pebble Beach Systems, a leading automation, content management and integrated channel specialist, has further optimised its Marina playout system to ease the migration from legacy and EOL systems The company has successfully helped scores of customers worldwide transition from legacy and EOL systems to its state of the art Marina playout solution. Central to this success is Pebble’s managed approach and a plugin framework that ensures a seamless transition from legacy broadcast automation systems to the powerful Marina automation system without stress, compromise, and the need for a hard cut-over date. With Marina, the ability to create a hybrid, synchronised playout chain with any combination of hardware and software gives broadcasters and multi-channel originators ultimate flexibility to transition any part of that playout chain at a pace to suit their scheduling and operational requirements.
As legacy automation systems reach end-of-life, organisations want to take advantage of the flexibility and power of modern, centralized, software-based automation systems. However, many are concerned about migrating years of accumulated data from their legacy system database to a new automation system. For any business, having a hard cutover to an entirely new system comes with considerable risk. Are all staff adequately trained? Is it really necessary to change every component at once? Can we preserve our existing investment in channel technology? Is there a path to virtualisation and the cloud?
Pebble Beach Systems’ approach is enabling broadcasters to answer these questions in a way that mitigates risk and instils confidence.
Legacy broadcast automation databases often contain descriptive and timing metadata for hundreds of thousands of clips. Much of the descriptive data input by operators is considered critical to the successful use of the asset. Just as important is the metadata that describes the timing information. When an asset is ingested, an operator must determine the true start time, skipping any garbage frames, and the true end time for clean playback. Segment timings for breaks are also key. Both descriptive and timing metadata are stored in the legacy database, but if that data is lost during translation to the new automation system, control operators can’t guarantee a clean broadcast output. Having personnel re-analyse and re-mark all clips in the new database is unsustainable, but Marina’s existing integration with practically all the popular broadcast scheduling and traffic systems enables organisations to standardise their data exchange, while direct API integration with third-party MAM systems enables retention of existing workflows.
When migrating to Marina, not only is all metadata transferred, but an active database bridge is also created between both systems to keep the systems in sync and enable them to run in parallel.

“Having an engineer show up and run a one-time database conversion process is not a solution for most customers,” says Ian Cockett, CTO and one of the founders of Pebble Beach Systems. “We realize that hard cutovers are unrealistic and overly burdensome, so the method we provide keeps the legacy and the Marina databases constantly synchronised, running in parallel, ensuring operations can make a well-orchestrated and managed transition on their own terms, in their own time.”

Having a hybrid approach means not only running any legacy equipment in parallel, but also having the ability to run a mix of SDI and IP equipment. Pebble’s integrated channel technology device, Dolphin, allows SDI or IP playback so that operations can switch to an IP based infrastructure when they are ready, and everything is tested.

“It’s one thing to build a greenfield site from the ground up with the latest IP infrastructure,” says Cockett. “For everyone else, moving the entire playout chain to IP represents another potential point of failure that many broadcasters are rightly hesitant to undertake.”

Operator change management is a further key consideration during system migration. The Marina UI layout can be configured to closely mimic a legacy system UI which helps with initial training and uninterrupted operation. With time, additional data and augmented feature sets can be revealed to operators by the system’s administrators.
Virtualisation of playout is a hot topic, but not every channel is a good candidate for moving to a public or private data centre today. As technology and business models continue to evolve, it’s very important for any new playout system to have a path to virtualised deployment. Orca, Pebble’s virtualised playout solution is already providing cloud playout for multiple customers. So, whether a broadcaster needs a path to virtualisation today, or tomorrow, Orca and Marina provide a future-proof strategy with no need for staff to learn a new interface.


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.