Knowledge Network, the public educational broadcaster in British Columbia, Canada, has upgraded its playout facility near Vancouver with a future-proof, software-based channel creation solution based on Imagine Communications’ Versio integrated playout platform and ADC automation.
Publicly funded and commercial-free, Knowledge Network broadcasts and streams local and international content 24/7, offering a mix of documentaries, arts and culture, prime-time dramas and children’s programming watched by over a million viewers each week. When the broadcaster’s existing automation system reached end of life, Knowledge Network seized the opportunity to update its playout operations to a flexible, software-based solution that could meet current workflow requirements and easily add new functionality as its business evolves.
Knowledge Network surveyed the market and ran proof-of-concept trials for three systems before choosing Versio. By implementing the latest software-based playout solutions, Knowledge Network was able to replace 22 pieces of hardware with nine – at a fraction of the cost of the legacy build.
“We were looking to replace our ageing playout system with a reliable solution that had a roadmap for continued development and a responsive support network,” said Oliver Eichel, director of broadcast technology and IT at Knowledge Network. “Imagine’s in-depth understanding of broadcast workflows and continuous development of their product lines, including special features that we requested, gave us confidence to make this transition. The Imagine team provided exceptional support throughout the entire implementation process – from planning to commissioning, to go live.”
An important factor in the choice of the Imagine solution was the ability to easily integrate Versio and ADC with existing and newly implemented technologies, including Knowledge Network’s BroadView traffic software.
“Moving to a streamlined, integrated playout architecture has enabled us to handle complex workflows with fewer manual interventions,” Eichel said. “For example, we typically have to invest extra hours and manpower to transition during biannual time changes. But with the Imagine system, this year’s move to daylight saving time was seamless.”
Because Knowledge Network uses interstitial programming such as promos and snipes to fill the gaps between most shows, dynamic graphics capabilities were another key consideration in the choice of a new playout system. Versio Graphics provides web-based tools to embed complex instructions into a graphics file, allowing operators to easily maintain the network’s strong identity through dynamic branding with no need for specialist staff and technology.
The new system needed to be fully redundant and incorporate local storage for up to seven days of programming content, graphics creation and channel branding. Again, Imagine solutions met the requirements, with Nexio Motion asset management software ensuring the correct content is loaded onto the Versio instances in plenty of time for scheduled playout.
“We are excited to welcome Knowledge Network to the worldwide family of broadcasters who rely on the proven combination of Versio and ADC for secure, flexible, dynamic playout,” said Glodina Lostanlen, chief sales officer at Imagine Communications.
As one of only two English language provincial broadcast networks in Canada, Knowledge Network is delivered by satellite and direct connect fibre to British Columbia cable systems as a basic, must-carry service. It is also available in Canada for free via apps designed for iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku and Samsung, and video on demand via its knowledge.ca website. The station’s ratings are consistently in the top three by market share.
The installation was completed through Imagine’s channel partner, Applied Electronics.