NOVA Continuity Upgrade

Who is NOVA/Fothnet

NOVA is the only currently Satellite Pay TV service that operates in Greece with approximately 350,000 subscribers. Since 2009 it belongs to FORTHNET private Telecom Operator Group, who bought the company from Netmed Hellas of Nethold South Africa group. It started its operation in 1996 with 2 Pay TV Channels only via analog RF transmission and in 2000 it offered a larger bouquet of TV Channels via Satellite DTH Platform. It now produces locally 16 SD Channels and 2 HD Channels, mainly of Sports, Movies and Documentaries.

Continuity Playout Upgrade Project, 2009-2011

Greece's premier sports and movies provider, Nova, has increased its playout capacity to 16 channels since it was established in 1999. However, over the years as the channels have developed their own identities, they also developed their own operational philosophies with their own set of legacy equipment. So, when Nova started planning it's move to HD in 2010, they were keen to apply a more unified and streamlined approach across all playout operations for more efficient operation and to enable a smoother change-over to HD.

The turnkey project was awarded to Telmaco. Our brief was to re-design and upgrade the Central Control Room, as well as re-purpose existing playout control areas. We sought to achieve increased technical and operational simplicity by designing a new core processing and playout system based on state-of-the-art equipment from Miranda Technologies.

Telmaco's engineering division produced complete schematics and cabling plans for the new system, and ordered all the equipment and installation materials. The new system was then wired and tested for full HD operation. The Telmaco engineers put the core system into operation, ready for the gradual transfer of channels from the existing system to the new infrastructure. Once the modernised Central Control Room was up and running, the 16 channels were transferred one-by-one to the new system over a period of several months, without going off-air once!

System Description

The NVISION 8144 router and Imagestore 750 master control switchers are controlled by an Aveco Astra automation system, with manual override offered by Rascular touch-screen control terminals. The router controller takes commands from the Rascular control system, as well as from multiple router control panels located across the facility.

The Central Control Room monitors all 16 locally produced sports and movie channels simultaneously, using three multi-viewers, which feed six high quality large-screen monitors.

Either of the two Central Control Room operators can take manual control of any individual channel, or send a channel to one of six booths for control by a local operator for more complex "live" operations. This may be required for sports programming, with either partial or complete manual control of the channel. Each of these booths has its own commentator voice-over booth, with simple control of the voice-over level. As soon as the live programming finishes, control of the channels can be immediately returned to the Central Control Room.

In this way, up to six live events, like football matches, can be broadcast simultaneously. Should a booth operator have difficulties, the Central Control can take charge of the channel simultaneously or exclusively at any time.

One of Nova's aims was to create a system that would allow the entire station to be monitored during the quiet shifts by one or two operators, but also allow extra operators and control facilities to be assigned to channels for complex live events. The ability of the system to work either with "Automation Assist", or completely manually, offers great flexibility, and is due to the fact that the 16 master control switchers can be controlled simultaneously by automation and manual control.

The new facility design also allows Nova to add more channels, and expand control and monitoring facilities according to the needs of specific programs, rather than the architecture of the equipment.

The upgraded facility is efficient, reliable and improves the viewing experience of all channels to provide the best service to Nova's subscribers.