PBS Goes Commodity IT with Cinegy

ProductionHUB introduces PBS's DDMS and Cinegy's involvement in that.

 

One of the major challenges facing PBS today, especially in the wake of 9/11, is business and service continuity following a possible catastrophic event. 

PBS announced the selection of Cinegy’s software-based workflow and playout solutions, in an innovative adoption of broadcast commodity IT technologies for public broadcast services in the USA. The Cinegy solution to be deployed at PBS’s Disaster recovery, Diversity and Maintenance Site (DDMS) in Lincoln, Nebraska as a fundamental part of PBS’s Program Origination System.

The DDMS provides for hot stand-by functionality, maintenance switch-over at the primary site and restoration of full service, should there be a catastrophic failure.

The remit for the DDMS system is a perfect fit for the technical capabilities that the Cinegy system offers, based on standard, non-proprietary hardware and IT infrastructure, using Cinegy software that is cost-effective, reliable and flexible with its modular approach. 

The DDMS provides facilities to support the distribution of Digital Emergency Alert System (EAS) messaging as well as the Interconnection System for continuity to the Network Operations Center (NOC). The DDMS system will use Cinegy as an end-to-end solution that utilizes technology for tightly integrated, more efficient, and lower cost multiple target services. The traditional process involving legacy systems have become inefficient and costly. 

PBS creates about 1,000 hours of programming every month. The costs incurred by replication, distribution, storage, search and retrieval currently are exceedingly large. 

With the current economic climate, PBS was looking for a solution that contains the tools and management features that will allow PBS to streamline workflow, improve productivity, reduce operating costs and are designed to be remotely monitored and managed. Remote management will include the ability to perform system upgrades and power cycling of system components. System operators work with their content assets in many ways and therefore require a wide range of tools to operate effectively, such as asset management to store, catalog, search, and retrieve assets for air. Management tools are key to organize the content activities of numerous channels. Scheduling and Delivery tools from Cinegy will manage and coordinate program distribution. These functions will be tied together in an integrated manner in Cinegy, in an end-to-end workflow. Cinegy Workflow management tools facilitate collaboration among users and streamline the typical workflow. This includes program gathering, acquisition, processing, scheduling, distribution, and archiving.

The DDMS solution is robust, with high-reliability, provides redundancy, incorporates internal failover features, and since the Site is unmanned, it will support remote monitoring and management. The core architecture which Cinegy delivers is hierarchical and flexible, so that channels can be added or reconfigured, with low cost implications – and high operational efficiencies. Such an approach, taking advantage of commodity IT hardware and software is innovative at PBS, and one which the PBS leads in the US broadcast market.

Being able to deploy a seamless solution from one single vendor is a departure from the traditional distributions systems at PBS, such as standalone automation systems, standalone monitoring, standalone playout-to-air, standalone ingest – going away from discreet application with all hardware and software from multiple, disconnected vendors, to an interoperable integrated workflow. 

The Cinegy Workflow suite of products comprise of end-to-end ingest with Cinegy Ingest and Capture, archiving with Cinegy Archive, editing, NLE, logging, metadata management, production, asset management using Cinegy Desktop, right through to broadcast automation and master control operations, and playout service with Cinegy Air. Cinegy Type is an add-on option to Air, which PBS will also be using for CG and channel branding options. Transcoding, automatic import and export, as well as job processing is achieved by using Cinegy Convert. In addition, PBS will be taking advantage of Cinegy’s IP-based signal distribution, routing and monitoring applications, Cinegy Gateway, Cinegy Route and Cinegy Multiviewer, introducing an IP-infrastructure at the DDMS. 

PBS’s approach with IP technology adoption is also important to the US broadcast space, and the Cinegy approach can equally provide business benefits commercial television.
“PBS has operated a limited DDMS in the past but is modernizing to a more comprehensive service restoration approach,” explains Jim Cutright, Sr. Project Manager at PBS. “Because Cinegy’s architecture is hierarchical and flexible, allowing channels to be added or reconfigured with minimal costs and high operational efficiencies, a full DDMS is now possible.”


About Cinegy
Cinegy is a world-leading R&D company, developing and engineering video, broadcast and OEM software solutions. Cinegy software encompasses every aspect of collaborative production, from ingest to editing to playout, all connected to an active archive with full digital asset management. It is modular and scalable; it can be applied to a wide variety of production environments of differing size, scope and purpose, from entry level to enterprise. Based on standard IT hardware and non-proprietary storage technology, it is affordable, easily deployable and intuitive to use.
Cinegy’s application areas include: media workflow, media asset management, broadcast automation, newsroom integration, nonlinear editing, compositing and effects, MPEG technology / encoders/decoders and signal distribution and monitoring.

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