Alpha TV Jumps to HD With the Help of Imagine Communications

Imagine Communications has implemented a new multichannel playout center for Alpha TV in Athens. This new installation gives Alpha TV the ability to meet its viewers’ demand for HD on all channels, and builds a platform for future growth plans. It also ensures business continuity by providing full redundancy, eliminating the risk of any channel going off air.

The new system, designed and installed in association with local systems integrator AmyDV, is space-saving and energy-efficient, making a real difference to the broadcaster. It also provides room for expansion beyond the current range of channels that are broadcast to Greece and to the international market. The platform is designed to take advantage of technology as that becomes commercially advantageous to Alpha TV.

“As one of the most popular channels in Greece, and also available to our expat community around the world, we have to respond to our audiences’ demands for the highest quality and for new services,” says Antonis Stantzos, CTO of Alpha TV. “We also wanted to improve our operations, for instance through advanced on-air graphics. And of course, we cannot have any black on air — so playout has to be completely reliable.

“Our first aim was to achieve the move to HD with a totally reliable architecture,” Stantzos continues. “We also felt that the adoption of software-defined elements would prepare us well for an elegant and cost-effective transition to new technology in the future. AmyDV proposed an integrated solution from Imagine Communications, and I can say with certainty that the choice we made has left us completely satisfied.”

To give the operational flexibility, resilience, and control that Alpha TV demanded, the system provides 10 primary and 10 backup HD channels, with the ability to switch from main to backup individually or for the entire playout center. To achieve the operational simplicity target, Imagine Communications was able to deliver a completely integrated asset management, branding, and playout infrastructure. At the heart of the technology is the widely deployed ADC playout automation system, and the software-based Nexio media server and branding graphics engine.

Switching and multiviewer capabilities are integrated in the Platinum MX router which handles video and audio in a compact frame, ensuring Alpha TV saves on cabling, power, and rack space.

“Alpha TV is a great example of many of the leading broadcasters we see today,” says Mathias Eckert, SVP and GM, APAC/EMEA, Playout and Networking, for Imagine Communications. “Within sensible budgetary constraints, they needed to offer their audience HD, while making operational efficiencies — all without compromising quality. That was their goal, and we met it with our globally proven technologies which also provide a platform to grow in the future as Alpha TV achieves ever greater success.”

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