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01/12/2005

Channel 4 opts for Pro-Bel technology for More4

Reading-based Pro-Bel, a premier manufacturer and supplier of routing switchers, signal processing, master control, automation and workflow technologies, has announced that major UK broadcaster Channel 4 has once again selected technology from Pro-Bel to play a key part in its expanded channel line-up.
More4 – a new digital free-to-air channel recently launched by the broadcaster and targeted at a more mature audience than its E4 service – is using Pro-Bel’s next generation Morpheus automation technology as well as a TX500 Series Master Control Switcher.
The More4 transmission schedule, according to Kevin Burrows, Chief Technology Officer with Channel 4, is very comparable in its core structure to E4.
He said: "It is designed to be a similar, live and dynamic channel like E4. We opted to use the same basic specification but with Morpheus technology this time."
"The channel is based on server playout with the ability to handle live programming and late delivery by tape. The aim was to automate as much as possible but to still be able to dynamically control it. This we have achieved with Morpheus and the TX500," said Burrows.
The automation system is clearly key to the above structure. "We were looking for closer integration and more complex control of third party devices such as graphics systems. We were also interested in how Morpheus copes with opt-out regions and its ability to handle many secondary events including subtitles, audio description, downstream logos and voiceovers," explained Burrows.
The integration with Pro-Bel’s media asset management system – already deployed by Channel 4 – was also important as the broadcaster moves into other distribution methods.
Channel 4 has also installed a Morpheus and TX500 system at its disaster recovery site as well as Aurora router control. The site is designed for emergency use and replicates the key aspects of channel playout to ensure business continuity in a crisis.
Graham Pitman, CEO of Pro-Bel, added: "Channel 4 is an important customer for us and we are privileged to have played a part in its success and pleased that once again it has selected Pro-Bel technology for a new channel launch. As broadcasters move into new distribution methods, the outstanding capabilities of Morpheus can be fully exploited."
(SP)
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