Bilal Shirazi is associate general manager, Radio Division, Rogers Digital Media. Rick Dal Farra is director, Engineering Toronto Radio, Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
A pair of easily identified Orban OptiEXP expansion chassis at the Rogers Broadcasting Toronto facility. TORONTO — Rogers Media Inc. was in the market for a best-in-class audio processing and encoding product for our 55 stations spanning news, music and sports genres.
After surveying vendors and competitive analysis we needed a product that was reliable, worked with our CDN and our networking requirements and was above all highly reliable, especially in our PPM markets. After a short proof of concept, we selected products from Orban.
Rogers Media Inc. selected the Orban Opticodec 1211e package, a combination of the Optimod-PC 1101e DSP soundcard and Opticodec 1010PE software encoder. Where practical, the audio cards were installed directly into generic 3RU Intel rackmount computers. Markets requiring more streams than the motherboards accommodated received Orban’s OptiEXP PCIe expansion option, a separate 3RU chassis with capacity for an additional eight audio cards. Smaller markets with limited rackspace and minimal requirements use the 1RU, all-in-one Opticodec-PC 1511e solution.
All implementations proved solidly reliable. In our largest market we trust the main and primary streamers to automatically update Windows and reboot on alternate days unattended. We’ve yet to see an alarm.
Installation was straightforward thanks to Orban’s comprehensive documentation, simple wiring and excellent processor presets. The system’s architecture offloads audio processing to the card’s DSP and stream encoding is handled by a separate software service. Our existing Windows 7 Core i5-760 machines were powerful enough to generate 10 streams from five sources with under 15 percent CPU utilization. Unlike many of its competitors, the encoder supports automatic authentication for distributors who require it.
The overall engineering experience was excellent. Replacing a mix of audio processors and devices with a single, powerful platform across the chain greatly enhanced the listener experience. All streams now have consistently high quality with uniform and competitive levels. Minor processor tweaks were enough to satisfy our toughest program director, and the engineering department greatly appreciates losing the overnight encoder alarms. Orban’s engineering and sales departments were excellent to work with over the course of this project, always accommodating and focused on getting the best from their product. They’re clearly an engineering-driven organization.
We’re delighted with Orban’s streaming products and have no hesitancy considering more in the future.
For information, contact David Rusch at Orban in Arizona at (480) 403-8300 or visitwww.orban.com.