Funoon TV revamps Nilesat broadcast facility


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Middle East comedy channel, Funoon TV, recently overhauled its transmission facility in Egypt to streamline its workflow and manage its operations more efficiently. As part of the US $2 million overhaul, Funoon deployed a Spectrum video server system from Omneon Video Networks along with a Pebble Beach automation system. The channel hopes to eventually shift its entire operations from Egypt to its headquarters in Kuwait. The project was undertaken by Egypt-based systems integrator, Brainwave.

"We started out with simple broadcasting tools," said Tareef Al Awadhi, Funoon's executive manager. "However, our comedy channel has begun to generate substantial revenue so we had a push from the board to invest in professional solutions that will enable us to manage our operations more efficiently."

Funoon's programmes are primarily produced, edited and prepared at its production facility in Kuwait, and then sent to Egypt for transmission. The Spectrum will support tapeless end-to-end production and playout at the channel's NileSat broadcast facility in Egypt.

"We chose Omneon because the Spectrum system is both scalable and reliable. We can expand the system as our operations expand. This server is also well supported in the Middle East and this was a big consideration for us," commented Awadhi.

Funoon will initially deploy two Spectrum server systems to transmit two channels of situation comedies and movies in Arabic to Middle East viewers. The Spectrum system, under the direction of Pebble Beach automation, will improve workflow efficiency, by providing central storage for both playout and production.

Source material located in the Spectrum is edited by producers using Final Cut Pro on their desktops.

Currently, the Omneon storage has a capacity for 1000 hours, confirmed Awadhi. However, the system's open architecture will enable Funoon to grow the system cost-effectively as its operations expand.

The system at Funoon is geared to cater to three channels. Three playlists are available for the purpose and ample redundancy has been built into the system should something go wrong. Here, Funoon has opted for Pebble Beach's N+n redundancy. If a playout fails, the automation system will instantly use the preview or ingest port as a backup.

Funoon will go live with the new system this month.

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