The Playroom doubles channel growth

07 December, 2011 by IF

Press release from Well Above

The Playroom has doubled the amount of channels it manages for playout in under two years using its Pebble Beach Systems Neptune automation system.


The Playroom’s Technology Director Craig Armsworth, who has considerable form where playout automation is concerned having effectively introduced the technology into Asia and overseen the automation of over 300 channels in the region said, “You could say I put my money where my mouth is, in terms of automation, when I decided to join The Playroom as I played a big part in their decision to buy Pebble Beach Systems’ Neptune solution. I’m pleased to say I thought it was the right choice then and it’s the right choice now.”

Before Armsworth worked at The Playroom he spent 17 years with one of Asia Pac’s top systems integrators, Magna Systems and Engineering. In fact it was Armsworth and the Magna Systems team who sold The Playroom their first Pebble Beach Systems automation system and according to Armsworth, it was the company’s approach to future proofing that was one of the biggest selling factors for The Playroom. He said, “Magna sold The Playroom the right system for where they were at that time and for where they wanted to be in the future. That’s the beauty of the Pebble Beach Systems solution – it’s easily scalable. As a vendor I had considerable knowledge of what technology was in the pipeline. Thus I knew all about Marina and Neptune and how good they were compared to the other automation systems on the market.”

During the period of The Playroom’s Neptune purchase Armsworth also oversaw the installation of playout automation at major broadcast organisations in Asia including Turner, Channel 9 Australia, and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Armsworth added, “I trust Neptune as a linear playout system. It offers simple and complex branding, handles traditional tape ingest paths and modern file-based delivery and is all managed via one simple, easy to use GUI.”

The Playroom has a multitude of longform, magazine and live channels all under Pebble Beach Systems automation control. According to Armsworth not every automation system would be able to handle the diverse set of requirements these channels bring. He commented, “The Pebble Beach Systems Neptune automation system we use is very flexible and not resource heavy. Our system is efficient, intuitive and sync’d with a low cost DR facility which is also managed by Neptune. The Playroom’s experience with Pebble Beach Systems automation has been very good and we now have a mature, stable system that is easily scalable and has a common upgrade platform. Not every system offers these benefits.”

Armsworth and The Playroom team insist on the highest levels of reliability, flexibility and functionality from their automation system due to the nature of the company’s service offering to their clients and channels.

Armsworth added, “We like the tiered channel delivery the Pebble Beach Systems solution offers us. Whether it’s a top tier, food and lifestyle, low cost, linear or IPTV channel they are all easily managed by Neptune. The system is very functional and the global search and replace functionality combined with its sophisticated ingest and file handling means our operators are not burdened with complex manual tasks. The Neptune system is also agile when dealing with our clients who act as facilitators, offers them bespoke workflow solutions that suit their business requirements and has excellent back-end support.”

Armsworth is known for being at the very top of his game in terms of understanding broadcast technology, so an endorsement from him is one to be valued.

He continued, “Neptune offers one automation platform supporting multi-format codecs for playout, internal and external archive platforms, simple and complex workflows with low maintenance. It also offers us a clear migration path to Marina and easy channel expansion. This is a particular bonus for The Playroom as we have doubled the amount of channels we manage and playout in two years and there are more to come in the form of IPTV, VOD, streaming video, subscription-based, OTT and traditional channels. The Playroom stays ahead of the field by leading the way and using the latest in technology. I’m happy to say our Pebble Beach Systems automation also fits within that ethos.”