Management

MBC Studios streamlines broadcast operation with new facility

TSL Systems was chosen as the systems integrator for the project in Dubai

When Arab satellite TV broadcaster, Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC), decided to give its flagship MBC1 channel a facelift, a new studio facility was envisioned.
With MBC’s HQ already operating at full capacity, the broadcaster chose to locate additional production facilities 15km away at Dubai Studio City, in the premises of O3, MBC’s production division.

The aim, according to MBC, was to create a state-of-the-art facility featuring the latest technologies and high-tech equipment, including LED screens and touchscreen functionality. The design for the new facility included three studios, two main galleries that were fully redundant to each other, two audio control rooms, 10 edit suites, three central apparatus rooms (CARs) and a master control room. While the new facility was intended to work independently of MBC’s HQ at Dubai Media City, it also had to have full connectivity between the facilities.

Suhail Ahmad, CTO of TSL Systems, identified the following challenges:
• An “extremely aggressive” timeline for the project in line with its planned roll-out of a new look for MBC1.
• The new production infrastructure and facilities had to be built in parallel to the considerable construction work that was needed to adapt the space to suit MBC’s requirements.
• The technical, operational and geographical split of the MBC production team made it critical that connectivity between the two was uninterrupted and the workflow and infrastructure at both MBC sites were compatible.

In order to protect the broadcast equipment from the ongoing building work and meet the project targets, TSL Systems built the entire system off-site and then rebuilt it on location once the construction work was completed. Pre-building the system allowed the TSL project team to test it ahead of time, with just live testing and final deployment needed on-site.

Eventually, TSL Systems delivered a system that incorporated the best-of-breed technology that MBC wanted — including the Dante audio networking protocol and the first regional deployment of Avid Interplay Delivery — and was able to suggest alternative ways of implementation that made the system more flexible.

Raed Bacho, broadcast manager at MBC, concluded: “The support we had from TSL was amazing; they were extremely flexible about changing the scope during the project as the production team came up with different ideas. TSL met our expectations and delivered on the quality, design and infrastructure needs of MBC.”

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