Imagine This: A Next-Gen Playout Production Center


Imagine Communications, a company dedicated to “empowering the media and entertainment industry through transformative innovation,” is working with MSG Networks to revitalize the Townsquare Media investor’s New York City playout production facilities.

The new installation is designed to expand the performance and capacity of MSG Networks’ ingest, storage and playout operations, while providing one of the leading North American sports networks with cutting-edge editing capabilities and the ability to seamlessly evolve operations to meet future market demands.

“We needed to upgrade our playout facilities to meet today’s demands for compelling and immersive sports content and be flexible and extensible enough to enable us to accommodate future technology updates and market requirements,” said Belinda Binkley, VP/Engineering at MSG Networks. “Imagine Communications has been a responsive and reliable partner in the past and we were confident that it could deliver a solution that would grow and expand in lockstep with our needs and our customers’ unquenchable appetite for sports-related programming.”

At the heart of the deployment is Imagine’s Nexio+™ AMP media server technology, which is providing both ingest and playout functionality. The software-based platform supports upward of 80 channels at MSG Networks and integrates with Adobe Premiere Pro, the network operator’s preferred editing system.

Nexio Insight delivers critical asset management capabilities, enabling the network operator to improve efficiency by streamlining multiple tasks involving the cataloging, editing and distribution of content.

Anchoring the new playout production center is Imagine’s Versio IOX Storage, a recently introduced high-bandwidth storage solution optimized for the rigorous performance requirements of live production facilities.

Versio IOX Storage provides MSG Networks with sharable and scalable storage over a 10-gigabit Ethernet link for managing the entire content life cycle. Versio IOX Storage provides the network operator with the speed and performance of a SAN storage system, but with the affordability and easy manageability associated with NAS solutions.

The MSG Networks deployment marks the debut of the Versio IOX Scale-out NAS Storage solution powered by EditShare EFS, the scale-out file system and storage software platform provided by Imagine’s technology partner EditShare, a leader in intelligent shared storage and media management solutions. Versio IOX Scale-out NAS is designed to provide the network operator with an easy-to-manage and powerful storage system optimized to support high-bandwidth, high-volume media ingest operations. It fortifies MSG Networks with massive storage capabilities and the ability to share assets across workflow operation with less complexity than would be required with a SAN solution.

One of MSG Networks’ major business objectives was to build a playout production facility capable of keeping pace with evolving market demands and frequent technology refreshes. In addition to supporting both UHD and HDR, Nexio+ AMP offers market-leading support for a large variety of codecs and formats. Versio IOX Storage is also designed to futureproof network operators against wholesale infrastructure replacements by providing storage for today’s video formats and seamlessly scaling to accommodate future increases in storage requirements, including 4K/UHD and higher resolution formats.

“Madison Square Garden is a celebrated and iconic sports brand and Imagine Communications is proud of its long history of assisting MSG Networks in delivering some of the most exciting and memorable moments in sports to millions of viewers,” said Mark Senecal, VP/Product Management at Imagine Communications, which displayed in the well-trafficked South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center during the 2017 NAB Show. “The new playout facility enables MSG Networks to up its game to an even higher level and helps ensure that the company will be able to seamlessly evolve its network to serve the needs of New York area sports fans for the foreseeable future.”