Amsterdam, Netherlands -- Automation vendor OmniBus Systems announced at IBC2007 here that DirecTV is using its iTX software-based transmission system to support the satellite operator's major expansion of high-definition programming, which begins later this month.
DirecTV’s installation of iTX -- which OmniBus said is in the final stages of deployment -- represents by far the biggest sale to date for the system and makes a major statement about the increasing viability of IT-centric solutions for mission-critical broadcast applications.
iTX, launched in early 2006, is a software-based system designed to act as a video server, master control and graphics and logo inserter with automation, ingest, editing and content management built in. The product -- which has a base price of $40,000 and uses off-the-shelf hardware -- was initially aimed at broadcasters launching secondary digital-TV channels and has been used by networks like CBS to launch new mobile-TV efforts.
The iTX installation at DirecTV -- which is deployed entirely on Hewlett-Packard ProLiant and BladeSystem servers -- involves 80 fully redundant HD-playout channels and includes HD ingest and integration with DirecTV’s business and control systems. It also makes use of the Dolby Digital multichannel-audio capabilities available in iTX. OmniBus said it teamed up with Accenture for professional services on the massive “HD CONUS [continental United States]” project for DirecTV, under which the satellite service will offer some 100 national HD channels by year-end.
“This is a significant milestone in the history of this industry,” OmniBus chief technology officer Ian Fletcher said in a statement. “Until now, the transition to software-based playout solutions has been traditionally limited to small, specialist channels. The power of iTX and the vision of DirecTV have together demonstrated that such enterprise-class solutions are now not only viable but, in fact, the most logical choice. Any broadcaster looking to build a playout center has to look carefully at the huge financial and technical advantages of adopting this approach.”