Antenna-TV Multichannel Continuity

Who is Antenna TV Group ?

ANTENNA TV Group is the world's largest Greek media group, reaching Greek-speaking audiences in all continents. For two decades the Group has been the leader in its field, constantly expanding its activities and successfully implementing new ambitious projects in the broader area of communications.

It all began in 1988, when Minos X. Kyriakou, President of ANTENNA Group, established the radio station ANT1 FM 97,2 in Athens. From the very first year of its broadcast, it became one of the favourite radio stations among all audiences.

The success of ANT1 FM led to the next big step: ANT1 Television, the Group's corporate and communicative flagship, was founded the following year. ANT1 TV has been holding one of the leading places on viewers ratings scales for 20 years. ΑΝΤ1 ΤV has evolved into an innovative channel reflecting the views of modern Greeks and offering high quality entertainment and information with a powerful stand, directness and consistency.

ANTENNA Group has expanded beyond the Greek borders and has been established as the Greek radio and television station of three continents. With the creation of ANT1 SATELLITE, ANT1 PACIFIC and ANT1 EUROPE, the voice and images of Greece, as well as the pulse of Greek society's everyday life are transmitted to USA, Australia and Europe via the largest satellite and cable networks, covering the communicational needs of all Greeks living abroad. In addition, ANTENNA Group has launched two more channels in the U.S.A: ANT1 GOLD, a channel that daily broadcasts all-time favourite Greek shows and series, and BLUE, a music Channel dedicated to Greek music. Both have been met with great success among Greek audiences.

Telmaco was heavily involved with the initial Ant1TV installation in 1989, working together with a UK systems integrator.

Project 2010 – New Playout Automation and Video servers

Telmaco was awarded the turnkey project in 2010 following lengthy design consultations with Antenna. A new technical area to Telmaco's specifications was created by Antenna for the machine room and operating areas and the system was designed, constructed and commissioned by the Telmaco team. Engineering and operational training was provided locally by Telmaco engineers on the new system in order for Antenna's engineers to be completely familiar with the new system, resulting in a smooth changeover from the existing analogue system to the new digital system and the system went to air in early August 2010.

In a second phase, the system was expanded with an additional Miranda Monitoring Multiviewer for the News Studio, and with 3 new Ikegami HL65W SD cameras to improve the image quality of the news programme.

Basic System Description

The existing system was mostly manual programme playout from VTRs with commercials played out from a video server using a basic automation system. The signal format was analogue PAL.

The requirement for the new system was the automated playout of all channels (with manual override), the replacement of the legacy video server with a larger multi-channel device having a common storage for all channels plus file import, the upgrade to a digital workflow plus the ability for the system to be upgraded to HD when required.

The four satellite channels (ANT1 SATELLITE, ANT1 PACIFIC ANT1 EUROPE and ANT1 GOLD) use the Miranda IS750 Imagestore/Presmaster combination for Continuity mixing, logo and graphics. Two continuity rooms serve the 4 satellite channels. Each room contains a master control switcher and multiviewer monitor stack. In either of the two rooms, any of the channels can be "acquired" for either status monitoring or manual override control as required by the programme.

The main Ant1 programme uses (at present) a legacy digital continuity mixer and a Miranda IS750 Imagestore plus Miranda Intuition for the logos and graphics. Operation here is either manual or under automation depending on the time of day. A new multiviewer in this area provides source and programme monitoring.

Of special importance was the redundancy of the system, and the ability of either continuity suite to handle any satellite programme channel. The system can also go instantly to "live" on all 5 channels for example in the base of "breaking news" using one control terminal.

All equipment has redundant power supplies and key items (video server and automation servers) are "mirrored" to ensure no single point of failure.

The Aveco "Astra" automation controls all 5 channels and has capacity for extra channels when needed. Also controlled are baseband and file ingest, graphics and signal routing. The Astra also provides information for the Antenna internet service. The automation and servers are synchronised by GPS time reference to ensure precise timing.

All signal infrastructure (Das, routers, converters, monitoring) was from one manufacturer (Miranda) and all adjustments and monitoring are from a central control server, simplifying maintenance and improving reliability.

One particularly important aspect was the system workflow, and the importance of designing the system to be able to adapt to file-based operations (for commercials and in-house trailers). The new system allows file import by the automation system from a "watch folder", so that as soon as a file is sent to the station and approved, information is sent to the automation system to ingest the material into the playout server for transmission.