Alaraby Television Network

Creating a state-of-the-art SMPTE ST 2110 media facility

Alaraby TV, owned by Fadaat Media, is an Arabic-language public broadcaster that operates two channels. The first, Alaraby TV, concentrates on news and analysis, while the second, Alaraby 2, provides a broader variety of programming, encompassing both cultural and entertainment offerings. The company’s programs reach audiences across the Arab world through satellite and broadcast transmissions, as well as digital platforms, including Alaraby’s official website,

Last year, Alaraby took the strategic step of moving its headquarters, production, and delivery services from London to Doha, Qatar. While originally operating from a conventional broadcasting center in London, the company saw the move as a valuable opportunity to create a facility built around fully IP, software-based technologies that adhere to SMPTE ST 2110 suite of standards. This decision was driven by the desire to optimize efficiency and reliability, made possible by enhanced interoperability and an open architecture.

Alaraby TV New 2023 Facility supported by Imagine Communications

7,500-square-meter broadcasting marvel

7,500-square-meter broadcasting marvel

500 square meters<br>of video walls

500 square meters
of video walls

90% IP ST 2110-compliant station

90% IP ST 2110-compliant station

The Challenge

Alaraby set a very tight timeline for migrating two operational channels from London to Doha, while maintaining on-air output. To ensure a successful transition, the company needed a technology partner for the new facility’s core infrastructure that provided reliable, field-proven solutions. Moreover, the equipment had to be based on open public standards in order to implement a seamless SMPTE ST 2110 ecosystem featuring multiple vendors, while also providing Alaraby’s operators a unified, intuitive system.

To meet its objectives, the company chose Imagine Communications to work alongside Asia’s leading integration partner, Ideal Systems, which has 30 years’ experience in delivering complex video and production systems. Imagine, Ideal and Alaraby worked closely together to determine the optimum workflows and technology for the new facility.

“Selecting Imagine Communications to supply the essential networking infrastructure for our new facility was a straightforward decision,” explained Ali Husseini, director of broadcast operations at Alaraby TV Network. “Firstly, the company was instrumental in establishing our London facility, so we already had confidence in their capabilities. Moreover, they have considerable experience in deploying SMPTE ST 2110 IP technologies for networking, backed by a host of leading-edge technologies.

“We also knew an Imagine solution would work well with those from other vendors, as it offers an integrated, centralized architecture that is not reliant on custom hardware. Another significant consideration for us was that the company has a genuine commitment to the Gulf region, boasting a substantial and expanding local team. So, we knew we would get the support we needed when we needed it.”

The Solution

Alaraby’s Doha-based facility’s networking infrastructure revolves around Imagine’s Selenio™ Network Processor (SNP) and Magellan™ Control System. SNP — the industry’s first fully network-attached media processing platform, supporting uncompressed HD and UHD based on SMPTE ST 2110 — handles all video processing and conversion requirements. Offering a unique architecture that is easily reconfigured with different personalities, the SNPs at Alaraby also serve as SDI/IP gateways and as highly scalable, low-latency production multiviewers.

The Magellan Control System is a well-established solution offering SDI/IP signal routing, parametric control, and equipment monitoring capabilities via user-focused, highly customizable monitoring and control interfaces. As the Doha facility houses three studios ― including a large newsroom operation and an augmented reality production studio ― a considerable number of third-party vendors had to be integrated into the control layer, including Sony cameras and vision mixers, Vizrt graphic engines and Ateme IRDs. The Magellan Control System ensures every component of the installation, including IP and legacy SDI systems, aligns with operator preferences, facilitating a smooth transition.

Alaraby TV New 2023 Facility supported by Imagine Communications
Alaraby TV New 2023 Facility supported by Imagine Communications

Core systems at the facility also incorporate Imagine’s widely deployed Versio™ integrated playout platform, which enables an end-to-end SDI/ST 2110 ecosystem for ingest, playout and content management. The Versio platforms at Alaraby feature ST 2110 1080i I/Os and integrate with 112TB of high-availability Imagine IOX NAS central storage. Rounding out the playout ecosystem is Imagine’s acclaimed ADC™ automation system ― the most widely deployed automation platform in the world ― which integrates with more devices and business systems than any other automation product, helping to ensure a seamless workflow environment.

The Imagine infrastructure comprehensively covers every facet of routing, ingest, audio and video processing, contribution, and monitoring, including connectivity with Alaraby’s 36 remote news bureaus.

“We were very proud to be chosen as the systems integrator for such a pioneering project ― the first facility in the region to implement the latest ST 2110 IP infrastructure based on COTS switches throughout,” said Ayman Alkhatib, Regional Director, MENAT at Ideal Systems. “Despite the aggressive timeline, we were confident that partnering with Imagine ― with their extensive IP field experience and open-standard solutions ― would enable us to successfully meet the goal.”

“Imagine was instrumental in establishing our London facility, so we already had confidence in their capabilities. Moreover, they have considerable experience in deploying SMPTE ST 2110 IP technologies for networking, backed by a host of leading-edge technologies.”
portrait of Ali Husseini
Ali Husseini
Director of Broadcast Operations at Alaraby TV Network

The Result

Alaraby’s state-of-the-art TV station is situated in the Burj AlFardan Lusail luxury commercial tower, taking over the entire fifth floor. This modern broadcasting marvel spans 7,500 square meters and features impressive design elements such as an open studio constructed over an Olympic-sized pool, which is equipped with a floating set, curved floating display, and broadcast-quality underwater lighting. It also has 500 square meters of video walls replacing the windows in its three studios, two fully equipped control rooms, and much more.

Yet, what really sets the station apart is its extensive use of IP technology, with over 90% of the station engineered to be IP 2110-compliant, and the collaborative efforts among various vendors that successfully brought it together.

“In order to ensure optimal network integration with the rest of the station, our Technical Operations and Management team collaborated closely with Imagine’s experts,” added Husseini. “They held numerous workshops to guarantee the effective design and implementation of the latest SMPTE ST 2110 IP technologies for networking and playout. And when it came to system operation, our team was already well-acquainted with Imagine’s technology from the London site. Retaining that familiarity in the transition to Doha provided us with a significant advantage.”

Anas Hantash, the head of Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa at Imagine Communications, said, “While our technology was undeniably instrumental in the successful launch of this IP SMPTE ST 2110-compliant facility, our capacity to work in close collaboration with Alaraby’s technical and operational teams to tailor every facet of the new facility was equally crucial. We take great pride in having been a cornerstone in Alaraby’s transition to Doha.”

Alaraby TV New 2023 Facility supported by Imagine Communications

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portatif of Steve Reynolds


Steve Reynolds

Steve Reynolds is President of Imagine Communications, a global leader in multiscreen video and ad management solutions that broadcasters, networks, video service providers and enterprises around the world rely on to support their mission-critical operations.

Steve brings 25 years of technology leadership in the video industry to Imagine Communications. He has served as the CTO at Imagine Communications and Harris Broadcast, Senior Vice President of Premises Technology at Comcast, Senior Vice President of Technology at OpenTV, and CTO at Intellocity USA.

Steve earned a MS in Computer Engineering from Widener University and BS in Computer Science from West Chester University. As the Chairman of the AIMS Alliance and a member of SMPTE and SCTE, he has participated in numerous standards-making bodies in the cable and digital video industries. Steve also holds over 40 patents relating to digital video, content security, interactive television and digital devices.