Magna to build Omnilab’s playroom

24 March, 2009 by IF

[press release from Well Above]

SYDNEY, 24 March 2009 — Magna Systems and Engineering, leading systems integrator and supplier of technology to the broadcast and communication industries, today gave details of the contract it has won to build arguably one of the most important new facilities in Australia – the new broadcast operations centre and DR site for The Playroom and Omnilab Media.


The Playroom is part of Omnilab Media, Australia and New Zealand’s largest privately owned, vertically integrated content development and media service business. In 2008, amongst other successes, The Playroom won the long-term outsourcing deal for the playout and post production of the Movie Network Channels. This win combined with Omnilab Media’s aggressive growth plans will see The Playroom significantly enhance their infrastructure and technology business. Part of this expansion is the building of a new broadcast operations centre at their Yurong Street headquarters and also the repurposing of their existing facilities in Artarmon into a comprehensive DR site.

General Manager of The Playroom Andrew Hogg said, “What we have engaged Magna Systems to build for us is unprecedented in Sydney and indeed, Australia. Our multi-channel, multi-media, multi-platform broadcast operations centre will be the first non-network owned facility that is able to deliver HD content anywhere in the world.”

The contract to build the new broadcast operations centre and DR site was awarded after a major tender process and significant consultation on system design and architecture.

Hogg continued, “We chose a solution designed and supplied by Magna Systems & Engineering for this unique facility that includes Miranda presentation multiviewers and glue, iControl network monitoring, a Pebble Beach Neptune multi-channel automation playout system, SeaChange Servers, Isilon storage, Sun computer-based hardware servers, Magna’s own MediaPilot MAM and Front Porch DivArchive. All fibre connectivity will also be integrated by the Magna team.”

The new broadcast operations centre will initially manage and playout 4 channels with this number growing in the near future.

Hogg continued, “This substantial investment came about after Omnilab Media reinforced their commitment as a major player in the broadcast outsourcing market. Our success with The Movie Network Channels then further accelerated the promise we had already made to other clients about building our new facility. I’m delighted to be able to announce that the new centre will handle HD, SD, IPTV and all current formats from one central control room.”

Channels already confirmed for management and playout from the new broadcast operations centre include MTV NZ to the Sky TV platform in NZ and the Movie Network suite of channels including Movie One, Movie Extra and Movie Greats on the Foxtel, Austar, Optus, SelecTV and Transact platforms.

As part of the winning tender and in addition to building the new broadcast operations centre, Magna Systems are repurposing The Playroom’s existing Artarmon playout facility into a comprehensive DR site.

Omnilab’s broadcast operations centre and DR site will have an immediate switch of signal, based on an auto detect function Hogg explained, “One of the really clever parts of The Playroom/Magna solution was how efficiently we can transform our Artarmon centre into a DR site. By replacing our current automation with a Pebble Beach system and upgrading the SeaChange servers and Miranda monitoring to be HD ready, we will have one of the best DR sites in Australia. Both Yurong Street and Artarmon sites will enjoy synchronous working and streaming data over our fibre network. Our DR site is the ultimate insurance and Magna have proved that if it’s cleverly thought out, it doesn’t have to double your costs.”

Hogg added, “In the event of any kind of signal failure we will have immediate and unnoticeable transfer which protects all platforms and both sites. Also there is greater asset control with all lists and monitoring constantly updated in realtime. An added geographical bonus is that while the sites are on opposite sides of Sydney harbour which allows for site diversity, they are only 15 minutes from one another and so are easily accessible in person if the need arises.”

Magna Systems Group Manager for Systems & Digital Media Craig Armsworth added, “This is an incredibly significant project for the Australian market. The Yurong Street broadcast operations centre is a real first. The new technology we are installing allows a far more enhanced workflow and will contribute to a much higher standard of channel presentation. We are also moving away from baseband encoding content to file based content delivery and have built-in automated quality control and an Anystream transcoding platform. It’s a well used phrase these days however, this is a proper state-of-the-art system.”

The full turnkey solution designed, supplied and installed by Magna Systems also includes room design, eight workstations, a technical equipment room and an operations equipment room that will house VTs and other production equipment.

The operations room has three distinct areas, a broadcast centre, media centre and QC room. The broadcast centre, responsible for transmission also houses large format monitoring and a 2-tonne multi-seat functional desk. The media centre is designed with 4 operational areas handling the ingest process for all channels’ transmission and production requirements and the Quality Control room also contains Final Cut Pro suites.

Andrew Hogg concluded, “Our new Yurong Street broadcast operations centre has been completely designed for HD. SD channels can immediately be switched to HD upon request as our new SeaChange servers have up/down codecs and all the Miranda kit is auto detect or switchable. Magna Systems have provided us with an easy, future proofed design and will manage all our current content, assets and data migration from our existing platform to the new one. As most people would appreciate, the level of technical and systems expertise required to design and build a facility as comprehensive in its service offerings and functionality as this one, is substantial. I’m pleased to say that Magna Systems were successful in their bid due to having the best infrastructure and resources with which to complete the project, combined with their comprehensive understanding of Omnilab’s requirements and their previous track record in designing and seamlessly migrating an existing live platform.”

Omnilab Media’s Yurong Street multi-channel, multi-media, multi-platform broadcast operations centre is scheduled to go live on-air in the second quarter of 2009.