Australia’s SBS Hits the Airwaves with Quantel Enterprise sQ

SBS, Australia’s national multicultural and multilingual broadcaster, has completed another major step in its transition to fully file-based operation having successfully gone on air with its new Quantel Enterprise sQ system in Sydney. The new system went live on schedule on Aug. 2; all News bulletins are now live with Long Form production and Sport scheduled over the next two months.

“The successful switch over to the Quantel system is the culmination of five years’ evolutionary change at SBS,” says Paul Broderick, SBS Director Technology and Distribution. “Our plan was to go to air with News on the Quantel system as soon as the World Cup (soccer) was over, which was an ambitious timeline having only ordered the new system in February this year. Quantel has met all the milestones to date for installation, training and commissioning”

A few years ago SBS was reliant on an aging fleet of 220 DVCPRO tape machines. The switch to Enterprise sQ and other tapeless ventures, such as non-linear cameras and a large automated archive, has enabled SBS to remove 160 of these machines from the operation.

As part of the transition plan SBS created a comprehensive training program with Quantel, which saw 215 staff get fully trained in a short period of time.

“This gave our staff a very high degree of confidence in the system which paid off in the smooth transition of each of the programs to live operation with the Quantel solution,” says Broderick. “We were particularly impressed with how quickly Quantel rectified the inevitable issues that arose during the commissioning phase. Their prompt response ensured that the project remained on track whilst the SBS engineering team were stretched across this project, The World Cup and the Tour de France coverage.”

The final phase of the project will involve transitioning SBS’s long-form current affairs and sports productions to Enterprise sQ, as well as Canberra, scheduled to be live by early September, and Melbourne, scheduled to be live early October.

“Quantel’s ability to manage workflows between sites and across great distances was a major consideration when we made our decision earlier in the year,” says Broderick. “We are totally confident that Quantel will rise to that challenge in the same way and be there when we need them.”

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