SKY Italia Launches File-Based HD Platform With Omneon

SKY Italia, the Italian pay-TV provider owned by News
Corporation Limited, has deployed the Omneon MediaGrid active storage
system at the heart of its new file-based HD workflow. The HD platform, located
at SKY Italia’s new central facility in
also relies on Omneon Spectrum HD media servers for ingest. SKY Italia
offers 24/7 broadcast of more than 170 news and entertainment channels,
including movies, sports, and original programming, to more than 4.5 million
subscribers. The new HD platform will meet growing viewer demand for HD

“At a round-the-clock operation like ours, the proven reliability and
resiliency of the Spectrum servers is essential,” said SKY Italia Director
of Broadcast Susan Wakefield. “Combined with the high performance of
Omneon MediaGrid active storage, we have an efficient file-based workflow that
integrates with our legacy SD Profile systems, enabling a cost-effective
transition with minimal disruption. We are pleased both with our technology
choice and the dedicated support and training we have received from the Omneon

At SKY Italia, both live and recorded SD and HD content is ingested to five
Spectrum media servers that provide a combined total storage of 31 TB. The
54-TB MediaGrid active storage system, the first in operation in Italy,
provides a nearline cache and media processing via the Omneon ProXchange application, which transcodes content for other applications as needed. The
MediaGrid system, under direction of TMD asset management, interfaces with an
SGL archive manager controlling a Spectra Logic archive system. Playout is
currently shared between a fully redundant Spectrum system and SKY Italia’s
legacy system, all controlled by ADC automation. The Spectrum and MediaGrid
systems were installed by local systems integrator and Omneon partner Video
Progetti and went live in June 2008.

SKY Italia also has been using Spectrum servers for ingest and playout of SD
programming at its regional facility in Rome since 2004.

“SKY Italia’s innovative engineering team sought the most efficient and
streamlined file-based workflow possible, and the processing power and
flexibility of the MediaGrid system will support that goal,” said Geoff
Stedman, Omneon senior vice president of products and markets. “Omneon has
a long association with News Corporation through our partnership with SKY
Italia’s UK-based sister company, BSkyB, where Spectrum media servers have been
in operation for a number of years and are central to HD service provision. As
HD becomes more prevalent in Italy and throughout Europe, we look forward to
extending these mutually beneficial relationships.”

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