Aussie Broadcaster Makes an HD SeaChange

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Australian broadcaster Macquarie Southern Cross Media has deployed a 140 HD-channel SeaChange International play-to-air platform as part of a massive HD upgrade for its television stations and networks.

SeaChange's Broadcast MediaLibrary/MediaClient platform, which includes BML transmission servers and MCL software codecs, provides the broadcaster with 60 ingest and playout channels for programming and 80 ingest and playout channels for commercials.

SeaChange International director of product marketing for broadcast Stephane Jauroyou described the deal as one of the company's largest international server deployments.

"It is a very significant deal for us," he said.

A major factor in winning the business was SeaChange's ability to play back MCSM's legacy standard-definition Pinnacle MediaStream files, Jauroyou said.

"When they approached us in 2008 to discuss their HD service, they wanted to have a solution to migrate the files from their Pinnacle servers to something else," he said. "Avid hadn't yet announced that they were going to end production of the MediaStream line, but there was a feeling that there wasn't a future for the MediaStream servers and they were anxious to find a way to make a smooth migration."

 Avid's subsequent decision to discontinue the MediaStream line is also opening up opportunities for SeaChange in other markets, Jauroyou said.

"A number of other big Pinnacle server customers have been coming to us," he said. "The U.S., Europe and obviously Japan were big markets for the MediaStream servers, so there are many places where we see some very good opportunities."

SeaChange's servers are the only devices currently on the market that can play standard-definition Pinnacle files in HD, according to Jauroyou.

"We see this as a major advantage," he said. "Omneon is able to upconvert after transcoding, but they won't have native support. We do not transcode the files in the conversion process, so there is no loss in quality."

In developing a solution for handling the various formats used by the MediaStream servers, SeaChange has worked closely with Avid.

"Avid has been very helpful in providing technical support and technical information on the specs of the files," he said.

Canberra, Australia-based MSCM is a unit of one of Australia's largest media companies, the Macquarie Media Group.

Macquarie Media owns a variety of television and radio properties, including 14 over-the-air television stations and the Southern Cross Ten television network, reaching more than 7.5 million Australians.

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