May 2, 2019

SBA complements existing Imagine playout with software-defined hybrid backup to protect archive and prevent disruption to service

Imagine Communications has implemented a disaster recovery solution for Sharjah Broadcasting Authority (SBA, formerly known as Sharjah Media Corporation) at its backup center in Al Thaid, UAE, using software-defined technology in a primarily IP-connected environment. The hybrid disaster recovery site will provide full cover for SBA’s four television channels, which are delivered by a primary playout system also implemented by Imagine.

Ensuring business continuity and protection of the broadcaster’s archive, the new system supports the expansion of operations, including additional channels designed to reach fresh audiences within the Emirate and the region. This expansion will depend upon smart, new functionality, delivered by software-defined networks.

“This project is a really important step on our migration path towards IP networks and virtualization,” said Aisha Alzareef, broadcast technology & information systems director at Sharjah Broadcasting Authority. “Collaborating with Imagine helps us ensure that our technical and operational teams understand the challenges of these new technologies. We have worked in close partnership with Imagine Communications since the foundation of our company 10 years ago, and with IP, we will be in a great position to prepare plans for future developments and the complete migration of our main playout centre.”

The key benefit of the disaster recovery playout system is in maintaining perfect synchronization with the main site, with full content mirroring to allow seamless switchover in the event of any problems. To achieve this, the system is built on Imagine Communications’ Versio™ virtualized integrated playout solution, which is designed for geo-dispersed operations. Versio is a software application running on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware from Hewlett Packard Enterprises, providing full automation and playout functionality, along with servers and content management, graphics, storage, master control switching – and management of the synchronization and mirroring.

As this is a major step in SBA’s migration towards IP connectivity, the system also needs to support legacy SDI content. To achieve this, the architecture includes a Platinum™ VX router and the Selenio™ MCP processing platform to provide SDI/IP conversion. Also supporting both connectivity systems is the EPIC™ MV multiviewer, which allows SBA to comprehensively monitor its entire operation. The system at SBA is under the control of Imagine’s Magellan™ SDN Orchestrator software control system, allowing it to easily manage and control its legacy infrastructure, while seamlessly incorporating next-gen technologies, switching and interworking between HD, Ultra HD and uncompressed real-time SMPTE ST 2110 streams.

“We are delighted to be continuing the journey with Sharjah Broadcasting Authority as they transition from their traditional playout facility towards the exploration of next-gen playout and networking technologies,” said Anas Hantash, head of Middle East and North Africa for Imagine Communications. “They recognize that software solutions running on standard COTS platforms and connected over IP are the future of broadcasting. Furthermore, they recognized that Imagine Communications was the pioneer of software-defined networks in the media and entertainment industry, and today lead the way with innovative, agile and adaptable solutions that enable the transition to next-gen IP-based architecture and business models tailored to their own pace of change.”

Sharjah Broadcasting Authority’s new disaster recovery center went live in March 2019.


About Imagine Communications
Imagine Communications empowers the media and entertainment industry through transformative innovation. Broadcasters, networks, video service providers and enterprises around the world rely on our optimized, future-proof, multiscreen video and revenue enablement solutions every day to support their mission-critical operations. Today, nearly half of the world’s video channels traverse our products, and our software solutions drive close to a third of global ad revenue. Through continuous innovation, we are delivering the most advanced IP, cloud-enabled, software-defined network and workflow solutions in the industry. Visit for more information, and follow us on Twitter @imagine_comms.

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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.