News Production & Post Production

QVC Partners with Imagine Communications for All-IP Upgrade to UHD in Japan

Imagine’s SMPTE ST 2110-compliant Selenio Network Processor anchors leading home shopping channel’s new state-of-the-art facility.

Imagine Communications is providing the critical processing, monitoring and management technology underpinning a new, state-of-the-art UHD and IP-based production infrastructure at QVC Japan.

The new facility, which supports uncompressed HD and UHD signals based on the SMPTE ST 2110 standards, enables the global shopping channel to significantly enhance the buying experience for Japanese viewers through the adoption of a software-based infrastructure that uses commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment.

QVC is one of the largest home shopping channels in the world, with operations around the globe. The upgrade and expansion of its Japanese teleshopping studio production room, which is among the first large-scale ST 2110-compliant UHD facilities in APAC, is part of the company’s initiative to upgrade the agility and flexibility of its technology foundation to rapidly respond to the evolving requirements of the next generation of television shoppers.

Imagine Communications worked closely with Diversified, a U.S.-based media integration solution supplier with oversight of the multivendor installation, to deliver the state-of-the-art solution. A staunch supporter of industry standards, Imagine supplied the new QVC channel with technology in full compliance with the recently ratified SMPTE ST 2110 standard for the delivery of uncompressed video, audio and metadata over IP network.

“QVC Japan required a next-gen infrastructure that leveraged the flexibility and economies of scale of IT technology, while delivering the precision and quality of traditional broadcast facilities,” said Joe Micucci, Vice President, Global Broadcast Engineering at QVC. “It was important that we work with a technology partner that was a leader in the shift to IP and an aggressive supporter of and contributor to industry standards for large-scale interoperability.”

At the heart of the deployment is Imagine’s recently introduced Selenio™ Network Processor (SNP). Both an SDI-to-IP gateway and an all-IP signal processing platform, the SNP provides a full spectrum of capabilities required in today’s evolving production operations, including HD-UHD up-and-down conversion and color space adjustments, as well as managing the High Dynamic Range (HDR) adaptations and conversions required for integrating UHD and HD signals. Leveraging industry-leading processing density, Imagine Communications’ SNP also provides important synchronization and timing functions, overseeing the integration of new signals into the production environment and helping to assure the optimal timing of ST 2110 signals for interoperability with all other compliant equipment.

For signal monitoring, QVC selected Imagine’s EPIC™ MV, a UHD-ready multiviewer that simultaneously supports SDI and IP infrastructures, enabling media companies to adopt a single monitoring solution for hybrid operations.  Powered by Zenium™, the company’s pure microservices-based software architecture, EPIC MV is capable of scaling to meet the monitoring requirements of the largest and most complex installations. EPIC MV offers native support for the monitoring of ST 2110 traffic.

Imagine’s Magellan™ SDN Orchestrator control system was selected to oversee routing management at the shopping channel. The multivendor nature of the deployment required a single control system capable of managing the IP signaling domain and integrating third-party devices into an IP-based routing system. The software-based control system simultaneously supports hybrid and all-IP routing environments, enabling QVC to manage the end-to-end installation with no operational disruption.

Networkwide compliance with ST 2110 was an imperative for QVC. In addition to ensuring interoperability across the multivendor installation, compliance with ST 2110 makes it possible for QVC to work with uncompressed UHD signals, enabling the Japanese shopping network to deliver high-quality video with low latency. The capability of ST 2110 to transport video, audio and ancillary data in separate streams also boosts the flexibility and efficiency of QVC’s production operations.

“Imagine Communications has been working with QVC is the U.S. for the past several years, supplying the iconic shopping channel with core routing and processing technology,” said Tom Cotney, CEO of Imagine, a founding member of the Alliance for IP Solution (AIMS), an industry advocacy group for IP standards and a driving force behind the ST 2110 standard. “Playing a critical role in the migration of QVC’s Japanese facility to IP and UHD is emblematic of our ability to provide leading broadcast clients around the world with a seamless transition to next-generation architectures that are highly reliable and futureproofed against rapidly evolving consumption patterns and ongoing technology advances.”

QVC’s Japanese UHD channel is scheduled to go live nationwide on December 1, 2018.

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