TV2 Media Group keeps audiences on the edge of their seats with seamless media streaming

Overview
When you’re watching a major television event – an awards ceremony, a big sports match, or your favorite talent show – the last thing you want is a garbled signal, a blank screen, or a ‘technical issues’ message to appear. To ensure that it can always deliver the high-quality, uninterrupted broadcasts that viewers expect on the devices they want, TV2 Media Group upgraded its core networking infrastructure to Lenovo RackSwitch. Now, the company can meet high demand for high-speed streaming.
 
“Thanks to our Lenovo infrastructure, we can be sure that shows are broadcast on time and to the highest level of quality – giving audiences the best possible viewing experience.”
 —Balázs Gál,
IT & Broadcast Engineer,
TV2 Media Group
 
Solution components
Hardware
Lenovo RackSwitch G8264
Lenovo RackSwitch G8272
Lenovo RackSwitch G8052
Lenovo System x3550 M5 with Intel® Xeon® E5 processor family
Lenovo System x3650 M5 with Intel Xeon E5 processor family
Lenovo System x3750 M4 with Intel Xeon E5 processor family
 
Software
Microsoft Windows Server
VMware
 
“By replacing old-fashioned tape cassettes with digital files, we’ve been able to speed up post-production considerably.”
 —Balázs Gál,
IT & Broadcast Engineer,
TV2 Media Group
 
TV2 Media Group operates some of Hungary’s most popular television channels, including TV2 – the country’s second-largest commercial station, which often happens to boast the highest viewing figures during weekend peak hours. Headquartered in Budapest, the group broadcasts a rich variety of programming and offers popular online streaming services.

Going digital
Millions of people tune into TV2 Media Group channels every day to watch their favorite shows – from sitcoms and soap operas to documentaries and talent competitions. What many viewers don’t realize, however, is the huge logistical challenge broadcasters face in delivering broadcast services.

Balázs Gál, IT & Broadcast Engineer at TV2 Media Group, takes up the story: “Starting with local production, we must ensure that all recorded material is transferred to our central IT infrastructure as quickly as possible to give post-production teams from different departments enough time to ingest the footage, edit the video and audio, and to prepare the final TV show ‘package’ ready for broadcast.”

Previously, TV2 Media Group’s production workflow was based on tape technology. As part of a wider modernization drive, the company wanted to digitize its production workflows to increase efficiency and cut costs.

Balázs Gál comments: “Our goal was to accelerate our production workflow to make it quicker to go from filming to finished show. Like many other broadcasters, we wanted to embrace tapeless, file-based production – but our existing network just wasn’t up to the task. We were already experiencing performance issues, so we knew that our network would be unable to cope with the huge increase in data volumes that digitization would bring.”

Switching on better performance
After evaluating offerings from several vendors, TV2 Media Group decided to replace its existing networking infrastructure with Lenovo RackSwitch technology.

“We needed networking switches that provided high throughput and low latency,” says Balázs Gál. “With Lenovo RackSwitch, we got exactly that. We can now be sure that our network can support the increased traffic that comes with file-based production. With the Lenovo RackSwitch solutions in place, we can easily transfer up to 1 GB of data per second – something that just wouldn’t have been possible with our previous infrastructure. What’s more, the price-performance ratio is outstanding.”

Next, the company implemented three Lenovo System x3650 M5 servers, equipped with the Intel® Xeon® E5 processor family, as the foundation for a distributed file system. An additional cluster, made up of four Lenovo System x3550 M5 and Lenovo System x3750 M4 servers, supports the company’s mission-critical media management and broadcast scheduling systems, as well as other important back-office applications.

Balázs Gál notes: “We’ve been so impressed with the reliability and performance of our Lenovo solutions that we chose to replace our existing fleet of desktops and laptops with Lenovo machines as well. As with the switches and servers, the Lenovo personal computing devices deliver a great price-performance ratio. We’ve learned that Lenovo technology is a fantastic fit for our organization.”

Lights, camera, action
Today, TV2 Media Group has successfully digitized all its production processes, unlocking a number of benefits.

“By replacing old-fashioned tape cassettes with digital files, we’ve been able to speed up post-production considerably,” says Balázs Gál. “What’s more, we’ve been able to improve the resolution of finished material from standard definition to high definition, giving viewers a sharper picture.”

As well as underpinning its new file-based production workflows, TV2 Media Group’s Lenovo networking infrastructure helps to ensure smooth media streaming thanks to real-time data ingestion.

Balázs Gál elaborates: “Some of our most popular shows are broadcast live, so we cannot afford even a second of unplanned downtime. Viewers, whether they’re watching broadcast TV or online, expect a very high quality of picture and audio. The high levels of availability, reliability and performance of the Lenovo RackSwitch switches mean we can be confident of live broadcasts streaming seamlessly to viewers’ TV sets, PCs and mobile devices.

“The same can be said of our Lenovo servers,” he adds. “We know that we can rely on them to keep our most important applications running uninterrupted, even during sharp spikes in demand. One such application is TV2 Live, a mobile app that allows viewers to interact with live shows – for example, by voting for their favorite contestant or sending messages to chat show hosts.”

Balázs Gál concludes: “There’s no room for error when broadcasting live shows, so reliability and performance are paramount. Thanks to our Lenovo infrastructure, we can be sure that shows are broadcast on time and to the highest level of quality – giving audiences the best possible viewing experience.”

For more information
To learn more about Lenovo Data Center Systems solutions, contact your Lenovo Sales Representative or Lenovo Business Partner, or visit: www.lenovo.com/data-center

For more information about TV2, visit: www.tv2.hu or connect with @TV2_HUN
 
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