Applied Electronics Upgrades The Shopping Channel to HD and Implements New File-Based, Automated Production Workflow Infrastructure

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The Shopping Channel, a division of Rogers Broadcasting Limited (a subsidiary of Rogers Media Inc.), is a leading interactive, multi-channel retailer, offering a vast assortment of exclusive products and top brand names to its customers. As one of Canada's most innovative and diversified retailers, The Shopping Channel incorporates entertainment, inspiration, personalities and industry leaders to provide a unique shopping experience, where customers find exceptional selections in Health & Beauty, Jewellery, Home/Lifestyle, Fashion/Accessories, and Electronics. The Shopping Channel, headquartered in Mississauga, ON, reaches over 7 million households across Canada and does not sell air time or broadcast advertising, but rather retails products much like other major retailers in more traditional channels.

The Shopping Channel reached out to Applied Electronics with the goal to upgrade its broadcast facility to HD and implement new file-based, automated workflows.   In reviewing Shopping Channel’s existing systems, Applied Electronics and the Shopping Channel found many opportunities for improvement.  For example, media was labelled with many disparate media ID names and numbers and there were many variations of the same piece of media, housed in many different playout devices.  A great deal of manual assistance was needed throughout the broadcast chain to ensure the correct media made it to air at the correct time.  It was important, therefore, to develop a system which was automated, easy to use, and which made finding assets straightforward.

Services and Technologies Engaged:

  • Applied Electronics Integration Services
  • Evertz 128 x 128 Router
  • Ross Tridium Switchers
  • Ross Expression Character Generators
  • IPV Media Asset Management System
  • EVS XS 6 channel Servers, XT Access, IP Directors, Redundant Database
  • Isilon/EMC server storage system
  • Telestream Pipeline ingest system
  • Telestream Vantage transcode system
  • Wohler audio monitoring
  • Think Logical fibre KVM
  • AJA FS 2 conversion
  • Ross Glue and Conversion Gear
  • Brocade Fibre and Copper network switches

To solve the issues and streamline operations, Applied Electronics introduced IPV, a Media
Asset Management System, which would act as the gatekeeper of all media.  IPV oversees the ingest process, moves media within the system, culminates and parses information from the in-house sales and enterprise systems, constructs playlists, and deletes stale-dated material.   Existing workflows were revised to include ingesting material through Telestream Pipeline, transcoding the material through Telestream, moving the material onto an Isilon storage system, and migrating the material onto EVS Servers and Ross Xpression Character Generators for playout.  As the EVS servers are also needed to record the studio, and both clean and dirty on-air records, two 6 channel XS Servers were installed which supplied 184 hours of useable storage space.  To ensure all users had desktop access to the most recent material, the record trains of the EVS are automatically chunked into one hour sections and sent back to the EMC Isilon system where a lo-res proxy is automatically generated.  This material is then re-purposed and conformed to be sent to VOD (video-on-demand) and OTT (over-the-top) devices.

Additional technologies that were implemented included an Evertz router, Ross Vision-Tritium switcher, Ross Xpression character generators, EVS Servers, Wohler audio monitoring, Tektronix QC systems, Thinklogical KVM, and Terminal Gear which included Ross, AJA, Ward Beck, and Brocade. 

Although keeping The Shopping Channel broadcasting live for 17 hours per day while introducing and implementing the new software-based workflows proved to be an interesting challenge, Applied Electronics successfully completed the project with virtually no downtime.

The new Media Asset Management and production systems provide The Shopping Channel with substantial benefits such as capability to view and edit media from every desktop in the broadcast facility, the ability to move media seamlessly throughout the system from practically any location in the station, and the ability to receive footage in any format.  Finding media has become much easier for production staff as any user can conduct a search through all systems, for any type of media, in just mere seconds.  The Shopping Channel’s website production team also benefits from the improved editing and ‘posting to web’ workflows that are now in place.


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