Saturday, May 25, 2024

MediaHub Australia and Ateme Build New Headend for WIN TV

When WIN TV’s broadcast compression system had reached its usable lifespan, it required an excessive amount of compute power to function and didn’t support the latest features needed for WIN’s broadcast over the next few years, so they turned to long-term technology partner MediaHub Australia for a new solution.

As MediaHub Australia Chief Digital & Information Officer Simon Scott explained, “WIN were seeking a full outsource of their headend and looking for a ‘headend-as-a-service’ offering. Their requirements were substantial, for 158 channels of compression encoding, Statmux, and Muxing from SMPTE 2022-6 IP source playout streams. They also wanted a fully redundant system included that has the backup system hosted in another datacentre.”

MediaHub partnered with Ateme to provide a solution that met all of WIN’s requirements. This includes using Ateme Titan Live and Ateme Titan Mux software running on Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) compute servers.

MediaHub CEO Alan Sweeney said, “We have been using Ateme’s technology for a number of years, as the foundation for the Imparja channel and SCA VAST News systems and have seen them come on leaps and bounds to meet the needs of the largest broadcasters in Australia. Ateme and MediaHub work extremely well together as both organisations continue to push the latest technologies to allow our clients to meet changing consumer demands.”

As well as the Ateme Titan Live and Ateme Titan Mux software running on COTS equipment, the solution MediaHub provided for the new WIN TV headend includes using MediaHub’s FibreHub services for inter-datacentre connectivity of over 200Gbps, to connect both the main and backup system across the two datacentres.

In addition, Nvidia, Dell, EVS Nureon’s, Worldcast Kybio, Packetlight, Meinberg, Birddog, Barrowa, AppearTV, Actus and TAGVS products were used in the project and Ateme’s local team were involved in the custom design and implementation of the solution.

Full SI services were provided by Magna Systems for the physical deployment across the two sites.

WIN TV’s GM Television Operations Stevan Djokic said, “The WIN network transitioned onto its new Ateme headend and we have been very impressed with the ease with which we have been able to change transmission formats. The industry is pushing hard to move to full MPEG4 with a mix of HD and SD and more focus on having as many channels as possible in HD. So far, we are very happy with the picture output and look forward to pushing boundaries further in order to give regional Australia even higher quality pictures by using our new MediaHub Ateme headend to its full capabilities.”

Ateme’s software underpins the overall headend solution, providing an industry-leading compression system with high picture quality to deliver services for WIN and ultimately the viewer at home.

Technology such as AI-assisted encoding and Statmux assists in getting the highest quality in the final encode. In addition, Ateme’s flexible licensing model allows WIN to pick and choose the codecs and formats they want as required, which further assists in the migration of SD services across to HD.

Scott added, “MediaHub and WIN had a number of key performance requirements for the new headend system, including low power usage, and reduced equipment footprint, both of which Ateme’s solution met and exceeded.”

The Ateme compression system has been on-air for several months with no issues despite running 24×7 across all of the markets that WIN TV broadcasts into.

Djokic added, “We are able to switch seamlessly between main and backup compression systems across datacentres at multiple levels such as input, encode and mux with no impact to air, which has drastically simplified testing and maintenance.”

WIN’s 158 Channels are ingested as SMPTE 2022-6 IP streams by Ateme Titan Live and compressed into the various renditions needed for each market as MPEG or h264. This is done using the latest Dell/AMD server technology where the system can encode over 60 channels in a single CPU server regardless of HD or SD. These compressed streams are then picked up by Ateme Titan Mux servers, that create the various MPTS for each market and these are then on passed to the rest of the equipment in the transmission path as MPTS IP Streams (2022-2) for delivery by the distribution network to the transmitters around Australia.

Since the system has gone live, WIN has migrated WIN GEM from SD to HD with quick and simple software configuration changes performed by MediaHub’s Digital Services Team.

Alan Sweeney concluded, “Ateme’s system provided the opportunity to leap WIN to the next generation of technology powered by AMD servers and Ateme’s unique software product line. MediaHub ran the project and delivered the solution within a tight budget, despite the problematic IT supply chain issues of recent years. Critically MediaHub also leveraged our close relationships with vendors such as Magna Systems, Dell, Nvidia and Ateme to be able to deliver the system before the required deadline. As a result, the new system is housed in just one single IT rack, which provides not only a footprint reduction, but also savings and efficiencies in power and cooling. Whilst improving the quality and flexibility we can offer WIN going forward. Ateme’s advanced technology and unparalleled solution also helps exceed MediaHub Australia’s internal sustainability targets and this in turn ultimately leads to lower costs for WIN TV.”

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