Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Grass Valley Upgrades SKY New Zealand

Wellington: SKY Network Television Limited (SKY), New Zealand's pre- eminent pay television company has appointed Grass Valley, a Thomson company (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS) a major turnkey project from technical design, equipment supply, to installation, testing and commissioning for their Broadcast Center Upgrade project.

The project will deliver new digital facilities at two locations: SKY’s current base at Panorama Road, Mt. Wellington, and at the recently acquired Prime Television (Prime TV) site in Albany, which will also provide a secondary digital broadcast center in the event that services from their main site are lost.

SKY delivers multi-channel television by satellite to more than 600,000 subscribers, more than 40% of all New Zealand homes. One of the fastest-growing pay TV networks in the world, it employs 600 people. The current transmission facilities had been developed on an incremental basis over the years with additional capacity being linked as new channels were added to the service. The resulting configuration could not meet SKY’s required efficiency levels. Further, the age of some of the equipment was causing concerns about reliability.

“The time had certainly arrived to create a tapeless environment which would provide a number of operational efficiencies, transforming our 15-year-old television station to a digital, server- based architecture,” said Derek Greenly, program manager at the SKY Broadcast Center.

In developing the detailed designs for the project, Grass Valley and SKY will establish workflow specifications that are influenced by both current practices and state-of-the-art broadcast operational concepts. Key principles in mind will be the savings and benefits offered by today’s leading TV production, transmission and asset management products.

Grass Valley will also provide additional sub-systems integration and project management services for integration and commissioning over the period of the entire transformation.

[Does anyone know how long this digital broadcaster's transformation will take?]

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