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02/05/2006

Sony delivers on BSkyB migration to HD

Sony announced at NAB that British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) is progressing well with its operational migration to High Definition (HD).
As part of this transformation, Sony has delivered a five camera HD studio and is working closely with BSkyB to move its play-to-air operations from tape to server-based play-out with Sony PetaSite storage technology.
Last December, Sony and BSkyB signed a joint marketing agreement to bring HD to Sky viewers in the UK and Ireland. This widely reported deal demonstrated both organizations' long-term commitment to HD as broadcasting's future.
The two companies have been working to establish HD capabilities within BSkyB's technical and broadcast operations. BSkyB selected Sony to project manage the design and delivery of its first HD studio as a cornerstone of a carefully-managed HD migration. The sophisticated solution includes five Sony HDC-1500 HD studio cameras and a custom-built control system that facilitates rapid reconfiguration between standard and high definition operations.
“When it came to building our first HD studio, Sony and its Professional Services team proved to be ideal partners in delivering our requirements. Their knowledge of designing and building HD systems to meet even the most advanced engineering requirements was unsurpassed,” said Chris Johns, Chief Engineer at BSkyB. “From the beginning, we had enormous confidence in Sony's capabilities, the quality of its products and the knowledge of its people.”
Elsewhere, BSkyB's Broadcast Centre has deployed two Sony PetaSite storage solutions as part of a major technology refresh project that includes migrating its transmissions infrastructure from a tape-based to an automated, server-based playout platform.
This new infrastructure will support all Sky Networks' channels, including Sky Sports, Sky Movies, Sky News, Sky One, Sky Two, Sky Three, Sky Travel and Artsworld, as well as BSkyB's dedicated HD channels.
“The ability to ingest high-quality tape-based content directly onto Sony PetaSites has changed the way we store and transfer programmes,” said Peter Esdaile, Programme Manager, Engineering and Platform Technology. “Instead of pulling hundreds of tapes from the library each day for our 24-hour schedules, we can now store data on the PetaSites, wait until the scheduled date and then move the content to the video transmission server for playout while simultaneously archiving that content for future reference.”
By transitioning to a file-based playout infrastructure, BSkyB's Broadcast Centre will become more efficient. While more than a year's material will be stored on each PetaSite, less than five days material will be held on the live servers, which will ensure that even if a server fails, operations will be restored quickly. Eventually, the new PetaSites will be employed as part of BSkyB's full HD migration.
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