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.


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.


MBC fully migrated its entire playout operation to our Pebble Systems

CABSAT, Dubai. Stand ZB6-C40. January 15th, 2018 – Pebble Beach Systems, a leading automation, content management and integrated channel specialist, today confirmed that MBC Group, the Arab world’s largest free-to-air broadcast network, has now completed the process of migrating playout of all 23 channels to the company’s flagship Marina automation solution.
Originally an ADC facility, MBC initially deployed a Pebble Beach Systems Neptune playout automation solution several years ago. The phased migration across to Marina automation was completed late in 2017. Nick Barratt, Senior Manager – Broadcast at MBC Group expanded on the rationale for migrating to Marina, which presents the operator with a single unified operator interface, regardless of the underlying technology being controlled.

Unifying under the common user experience of an open system, with an extensive and evolving library of API integrations, allows us to take advantage of the technology changes currently happening in the broadcast world, regardless of manufacturer. We aim to make it totally immaterial to the operator not only what systems underpin the channel they are working on, but also if those systems are physical, virtual or even their location.

Bassam Faour is the Broadcast Manager at MBC Group. He added:

A key deciding factor in our decision to upgrade with Marina was Pebble’s track record of supporting an open approach to systems and suppliers.

MBC and Pebble worked closely together throughout the process, starting with a six-week parallel run before the first two channels, the Al Arabiya and Al Hadath news channels, were transferred to Marina control.

This healthy parallel run period highlighted any issues and resulted in a complete non-event during switch-over,” confirms Barratt.  His colleague Emad Dabbah, Senior Manager – Transmission & Digital Archive, added “As we embarked on the migration, we worked closely with Pebble to fine-tune the system’s performance for the fast-paced news environment.”

Pebble’s Regional Manager for the Middle East and South Asia, Samir Isbaih expands:

In this region, where Neptune is the dominant automation solution, we pride ourselves in offering a flexible but intelligent migration strategy to Marina which causes little or no disruption to the end user’s operations. Users who upgrade to Marina from Neptune benefit from a number of unique advantages. Firstly, their existing Neptune database is fully migrated onto the new platform with no information lost and, as at MBC, both systems can run in parallel so that migration can be done gradually to suit the end user’s timescale. Furthermore, Neptune playlists can be natively opened in Marina, and both Neptune and Marina can talk to the same Archive and NLS in Parallel. Crucially, operators can carry on working as usual with minimal if any training.

Pictured (L to R) at CABSAT are Tom Gittins, CEO – Pebble Beach Systems; Emad Dabbah, Senior Manager, Transmission & Digital Archive – MBC Group; Nick Barratt, Senior Manager, Broadcast – MBC Group; Bassam Faour, Broadcast Manager – MBC Group; Samir Isbaih, Regional Manager Middle East and South Asia – MBC Group


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