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Next TV Summit: Disney/ABC’s New Virtualized Reality

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Thanks to a move away from monolithic, “big iron” infrastructure to much more agile, “virtualized” systems, programmers such as Disney/ABC Television Group will soon be in position to spin up new types of channels that could be made available for a few hours, a few days, a few weeks or perhaps just around specific events.

That was one of the potential use-case examples cited here Thursday at the Multichannel News/B&C NextTV Summit during a case study about “Project Columbus,” an initiative that Disney/ABC and Imagine Communications kicked off in 2011 to virtualize the programmer’s workflow, master control and playback operations, positioning the broadcaster to support a new IP-based world that now includes streaming players, gaming consoles, tablets and smartphones and is, more generally, altering the way viewers are consuming video.

The initiative, which is global in scope, aimed to “virtualize and get away from big iron broadcast centers that don’t have the ability to scale,” Vince Roberts, Disney/ABC Television Group’s executive VP, global operations and chief technology officer, said.

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