Lifestyle channel Wedding TV has become the UK's first channel to eliminate tape entirely from delivery to playout.
Lifestyle channel Wedding TV has become the UK's first channel to eliminate tape entirely from delivery to playout.

All Wedding TV content is being uploaded from its north London production centre to an FTP site for automated distribution and playout on Sky by Arqiva Satellite Media Solutions.

Advertising has been delivered electronically to Arqiva and other playout providers such as Red Bee Media and Globecast for some time, but this is the first occasion a station's entire schedule has been delivered without using tape.

'The move will significantly reduce the cost of production,' said Wedding TV operations manager Helen Taylor. 'We don't have to pay the extortionately high prices for tape playback and it cuts down on the cost of couriers. It's a quicker, more efficient way to go to air.'

The Wedding TV channel is on Sky channels 277 and 278 for 24 hours a day and is free-to-air.

Arqiva head of marketing services John Dunlop said: 'Once we receive a tape, we ingest it once and store it digitally. Things like subtitling, audio description, language versioning or promos can then be done digitally.'

The move to tapeless transmission is likely to become more common as the industry shifts from physical media to file-based production. The practice also has environmental benefits.

Globecast media management facility manager Carl Petch said any decision to go tapeless was driven by cost savings rather than a desire to save the planet, but said removing tape from the chain cut out the carbon footprint of transporting media domestically or internationally.

Pepper Post co-director Shane Warden, however, sounded a note of caution. He said: 'I'd like to see the figures that suggest having hundreds of terabytes of storage drives spinning away creating heat and sucking power is greener than a library of tapes.'

BSkyB is among those planning to build more environmentally friendly facilities ( Broadcast, 07/06/07) while Red Bee is particularly keen to promote its 'green' credentials.

'We have helped broadcasters like the BBC and Virgin Media TV streamline their business process, ensuring that the effect on the environment is minimal,' said Red Bee creative head Nick Spilman.

The company is also launching an internal BeeGreen programme to raise awareness of power consumption and recycling.