With the transition to HD still incomplete, many broadcasters find themselves caught in the middle. Such is the case at Télé-Québec, the state-owned, French-language public broadcast network in Quebec. “In Canada, we are still broadcasting in NTSC,” said Michel Séguin, technical director for the network. “We have to feed our NTSC network as well as using our UHD network. We decided to do it with a single switcher.” The network is actually running two operations, one in HD and the other in standard NTSC stereo.
To accomplish this, the network settled on Miranda products as an end-to-end solution. On the server, HD/SD content is stored in its native format, with SD material upconverted en route to the switcher with the Miranda XVP-1801, and the XVP-811i handling downconversion after the switcher.
“For audio, we ingest in HD with eight tracks with metadata, six for the 5.1 mix and two for the stereo mix. So on the HD network, we use the metadata dynamically. For quality control on levels and dynamics, we just make sure the measured value of the dialog level matches the dialnorm value in the metadata,” Séguin said. This system allows the stereo mix to be treated separately, with all producers being asked to comply with the Télé-Québec SD standard for level and compression.
“Télé-Québec is owned by the government, so we have to do public tenders,” Séguin said. “And since we renewed our broadcast center, we are involved with Miranda for a lot of product.” Currently, the network relies on AMX-1881 embedders and ADX-1881 de-embedders. Other Miranda products in use include the XVP-1801-FS frame synchronizer and the Vertigo XG branding engine.
“It’s funny,” Séguin said. “I have heard that Miranda is quite renowned outside Quebec. I have been here over 30 years and did not even know they were a local company until we tried their products.”
Headquartered in Montreal, Télé-Québec operates 33 transmitters throughout Quebec, reaching 95 percent of the population with educational and cultural programs.