Tanzania-based Azam Media selects Marina for Automation and Control

CABSAT, Dubai, Stand H2-30, March 12th, 2019Pebble Beach Systems, a leading automation, content management and integrated channel specialist, today announced that Azam Media Ltd, a Direct-to-Home (DTH) pay TV satellite service provider in East Africa, has selected a Pebble Beach Systems Marina automation solution to control its existing playout infrastructure, along with recently installed devices for its newly added channels.
Based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and launched in 2013, Azam Media is a flagship company of the Bakhresa Group and focuses on providing entertaining and informative channels bundled with favorite international channels at an affordable cost to citizens of East African nations. Azam One features local entertainment and Premier League football. Azam Two features international entertainment, while Sinema Zetu specializes in 24/7 bongo movies.
The organisation recently expanded its channel count to 10, and selected Marina to replace its legacy automation and MAM layer. Marina controls legacy Imagine servers for ingest, shared storage and nearline storage, along with the existing Xendata archive and Versio playout devices. The playout chains for the new channels include Harmonic Channelport and servers and MediaGrid central storage.

“Azam Media selected Marina because it offered exceptional operational stability and a modern user interface designed to make their operation as efficient and simple as possible, regardless of the underlying technology being controlled,” said Samir Isbaih, VP of Sales for the Middle East and AsiaPac at CABSAT today.
“Marina is handling all media management, file transfers and playout for Azam,” he continues. “The ability to manage this functionality via a single user interface really increases efficiency for them and avoids the need for multiple databases. Managing multiple locations and multiple technologies, the solution delivers simplified, coherent content management at this key site.”

Pictured (L to R) are Samir Isbaih, Abubakar Said Bakhresa – Executive Director at Azam, Tamas Vass – CMO at Pebble Beach Systems, and Gael Lancrenon, General Director and Founder of systems integrator DV International.


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.


India’s State 24 Hour News Channel Chooses Pebble Beach Systems

Seamless transition from legacy to state-of-the-art automation with no service interruption
Weybridge, UK, June 11th, 2018 –  Pebble Beach Systems, a leading automation, content management and integrated channel specialist, today announced that India’s Public Service Broadcaster, Doordarshan, has selected the Pebble Beach Systems Marina automation system for its flagship 24-hour news channel, DD News.
With over 100 million viewers across the country, DD News is India’s main terrestrial/satellite news channel. The channel produces over 17 hours of live transmission and 30 news bulletins in Hindi, English, Urdu and Sanskrit. Additionally, DD’s regional news units produce four daily regional shows, and the channel broadcasts daily sports bulletins, a business show, current affairs programs and several special shows on health, youth issues, arts and culture, and international events.
The Marina system, which will be commissioned in the coming weeks, features a MOS interface and offers emergency ingest capability from a live feed. Supplied as a fully redundant system with automatic changeover, it is being installed to replace the Doordarshan’s ageing Omnibus playout automation, which is no longer supported.

“This contract represents an important milestone for our expansion into India. We’re honoured to have been chosen by Doordarshan for this project, and look forward to a long and successful working relationship with them,” said Samir Isbaih, Pebble’s Regional Manager for the Middle East and South Asia.
“As legacy automation systems reach end-of-life, broadcasters want to take advantage of the flexibility and power of centralized, software-based automation systems. With Pebble’s automation systems, we are enabling our customers to put in place a painless, phased transition strategy that allows them to import legacy databases into Marina to ease the migration. This makes us a strong candidate for the replacement of many vendors’ systems,” he added.

A powerful automation solution with embedded content management, Marina 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. With Marina, not only is all metadata crucial to the description and playback of assets transferred, but an active database bridge is also created between the legacy system and the new one to keep them in sync and enable them to run in parallel.

“In a time of tremendous change and consolidation, both at the supplier and end-user level in the broadcast and media industry, Pebble’s specialist focus and experience with high-end tier one broadcasters helps them to remain a trusted partner for broadcasters as they transition to newer technologies, including virtualization and the cloud,”

stated Pradeep Singh Kohli, Director at Shaf Broadcast, Pebble’s partner in India.
Ashok Kumar Pathak, Deputy Director of Engineering at Doordarshan News confirmed:

“We’re looking forward to working with Pebble and Marina as we migrate to this state of the art playout platform”.


TV Cultura in Brazil Migrates Play-out to Marina Automation Control

Public broadcaster upgrades its Pebble Beach Systems automation environment from Neptune to Marina to bring more efficiency and flexibility, and future-proof infrastructure
Weybridge, UK, May 25th, 2018 – Pebble Beach Systems, a leading automation, content management and integrated channel specialist, today announced that TV Cultura, Brazil’s award-winning public television broadcaster, is migrating its playout operations to Pebble Beach Systems’ Marina Lite automation solution.
TV Cultura has four main channels featuring national and regional news, cultural programming, music, children’s programs and documentaries. It also delivers web-based channels and broadcasts educational content from São Paulo State Virtual University. All channels are accessible by over 126 million viewers across Brazil.
Upholding its reputation for excellence and continuous innovation, TV Cultura recently invested in the modernisation of the equipment and infrastructure of its broadcast operations. Having initially deployed a Pebble Beach Systems Neptune playout automation solution over 10 years ago, TV Cultura is working with São Paolo based systems integrator Video data to ensure the successful migration to a modern Marina Lite 4R automation system with a Lighthouse web-based remote management and monitoring dashboard.
Videodata put in place a flexible but intelligent migration strategy to Marina which is designed to cause little or no disruption to the TV Cultura’s operations, with the broadcaster’s existing Neptune database being seamlessly migrated onto the new platform. Furthermore, because Neptune playlists can be natively opened in Marina, and both Neptune and Marina can talk to the same Archive and NLS in parallel, operators are able to carry on working as usual with no disruption and minimal training throughout the migration process.
The facility has two master control rooms, each operating two channels and four GV Maestro Master Switchers, GV K2 Video Servers and a Jupiter Router. Marina will also control the ingest workflow for TV Cultura, and the system is designed with full redundancy for automation, playout, and the database. In addition to delivering improved integration with the traffic system, this migration will streamline their approvals workflows and media management, as well as their closed caption and web workflows. In addition, Marina will deliver greater flexibility for the operators in terms of layout creation and provide detailed reporting and logging for every device and user.

“TV Cultura has long had a reputation for being a broadcast pioneer and we are constantly looking for ways to improve our facilities and workflows in ways that make sense for the long term,” explained Gilvani Moletta, engineering and technology director at TV Cultura. “Our Neptune automation system has served us very well over the last decade, so upgrading to the more modern Marina was a no-brainer. Not only is the transition seamless but we are also confident that the technology is the right one to help us grow and help us face the challenges of the next decade and beyond.”

With Lighthouse, TV Cultura will extend Marina’s functionality to business users, operational staff and engineers both inside and outside the facility. The web-based interface will give them monitoring, media management, and system configuration tools so that status information and corrective actions are just seconds away, even when they are outside the control room.

“TV Cultura was one of our first Pebble customers in Latin America,” said Marcelo Blum, Systems and Technology Manager at Videodata. It’s always a rewarding experience to work with a such a forward-thinking customer over a long period of time and help them evolve and upgrade their technology without any major disruption to their workflow.”
“Our Marina Lite system is proving to be popular in Latin America where it is being used to provide playout automation and master control for customers who are upgrading or replacing their first-generation platforms. It offers an affordable solution for customers who are looking for a robust, resilient and sophisticated playlist control system that can grow with their operational needs and budgets. We are delighted that TV Cultura has once again chosen to place their trust in Pebble and we look forward to supporting their continued growth for years to come,” added Tom Gittins, Chief Commercial Officer at Pebble Beach Systems.


MENA selects Pebble’s Enterprise Marina automation for all channels

CABSAT, Dubai. Stand ZB6-C40. January 15th, 2018 – Pebble Beach Systems, a leading automation, content management and integrated channel specialist, today confirmed that the playout of all Discovery Networks MENA’s channels is now under the control of a new 8 channel fully redundant Marina system which is installed at Du-Samacom, the leading regional operator of satellite support services currently serving more than 170 television stations throughout the Middle East and Asia. The project was implemented by systems integrators Tek Signals.
Discovery Networks MENA Head of Operations, Bassem Maher, confirmed:

Having elected to host the playout of all our MENA channels within the region, we worked closely with Du-Samacom and Tek Signals to find a solution which was capable of handling our rigorous redundancy requirements and would offer the capability of future expansion. The install features fully redundant playout and control of all our regional HD channels with Marina automation at its heart, and also comprises Harmonic Spectrum servers, Pixel Power graphics, Polistream subtitling, with transcoding handled by Telestream.

Regional Manager for the Middle East and South Asia at Pebble, Samir Isbaih, added:

Together with Tek Signals we architected a solution to meet Discovery’s advanced channels’ needs. We integrated a dynamic automated graphics workflow, and have incorporated archiving of the transmission media to the tape library. We’re proud to be entrusted with these high profile channels which include DKids, DMAX, DLife, Discovery Channel, TLC & Fatafeat. With its single database spanning playout and content management, and a simple user interface, Marina drives operational efficiencies and reduces the scope for on air errors. This high profile install underlines Marina’s position as the most modern, scalable and flexible product in the market, meeting Tier One broadcasters’ requirements with no compromise on stability and reliability.

Pictured at CABSAT are (L to R) Ali Rasheed, Broadcast IT Manager – Tek Signals; Samir Isbaih, Regional Manager Middle East and South Asia – Pebble Beach Systems; Jayakumar Vamanan, Senior Manager Playout – Du; Bassem Maher, Head of Operations – Discovery Networks MENA; Tariq Raja, CEO and Managing Partner – Tek Signals