Serbia’s Arena Sport Builds Four HD Channels on Omneon Infrastructure

Serbia’s Arena Sport has built the region’s first HDTV station and its first fully automated file-based workflow on an Omneon video file infrastructure. Installed in Arena Sport’s brand-new Belgrade facilities by systems integrator Kompani digiTV, the Omneon (now part of Harmonic) systems provide a highly reliable platform for efficient end-to-end HD ingest, production, and playout while allowing the broadcaster to work with its choice of applications.

“Our implementation of Omneon products represents a significant technological development for broadcasting in this region,” says Mirko Vavic, technical director at Arena Sport. “The versatility, stability, and interoperability of the Omneon video file infrastructure have enabled us to build a reliable, cost-effective, and highly automated state-of-the-art HD broadcast facility that is equipped with top-quality products from manufacturers that are leaders in their fields. The Omneon platform has enabled us to launch streamlined production of HDTV signals from start to finish, and it also provides us with a flexible foundation for further growth in the production and delivery of high-quality sports coverage.”

The Omneon MediaGrid active storage system is integrated with five Omneon MediaDeck server systems in a platform that connects virtually all technological subsystems within the Arena Sport facility. The MediaDeck server systems operate under the control of Snell Morpheus automation and are connected to HD satellite receivers and a digital HD routing system. Supporting ingest and playout for the four-channel HDTV station, the 20-port server system provides 10 input channels and 10 output channels, all of which are redundant in n+1 or n+1+1 configurations to ensure there is no single point of failure. Input channels are used for ingest of material from videotape, live signals from the satellite receiver, and content from other external signal sources. During live productions, one input channel is dedicated to feeds from the facility’s studio control room.

Running on the Omneon MediaGrid system, the Omneon ProXchange transcode engine generates low-resolution “browse” copies of XDCAM HD media for fast, easy content access and review. Staff at Arena Sport edits content using three Final Cut Pro systems, which are integrated with the Omneon MediaGrid system to enable a rapid edit-in-place workflow. Two post-production and graphics suites exchange material with these nonlinear edit systems via the Omneon MediaGrid system. Completed content is transferred to the MediaDeck system, and its output channels are distributed between the studio control room, the ingest area for monitoring, and transmission. Content for alternate distribution platforms, such as the Web, are converted to the appropriate format by the Omneon ProXchange transcode engine.

“Effective system integration of a file-based workflow is not an easy task, as many small details must be considered to ensure that products from different vendors are synchronized and can exchange data and commands on time,” says Miroslav Jankovic, managing director at Kompani digiTV. “Omneon systems really enable the whole system integration process, making a smooth transition to file-based operations, and allowing forward-looking broadcasters such as Arena Sport to realize their plans for advanced HD operations.”

Arena Sport currently provides one free HD channel and three HD pay-TV channels. As the broadcaster continues to expand its operations, the Omneon platform will facilitate the launch of additional channels, as well as the introduction of video-on-demand services.

“Arena Sport has ambitious growth plans, and its investment in best-of-class broadcast systems demonstrates the company’s commitment to providing Serbia, Croatia, and surrounding areas with reliable delivery of live sports and related programming,” says Geoff Stedman, VP for Omneon and corporate marketing at Harmonic. “The company’s Omneon video file infrastructure has helped Arena Sport make the leap forward into HD, and it will support the broadcaster’s continued expansion and technical leadership in the region.”