—KTNC-TV and KCNS
serve the San Francisco market with Spanish
language programming as their primary
services, and also offer a variety of secondary
program streams. Our studios are located
off the Embarcadero across from Fisherman’s
Just as most television station master control
environments have evolved from one or
two switched programmed streams to multiple
channel operations, our two stations
have steadily added additional programming
streams as the value of secondary services
have increased since the digital conversion.
This multichannel environment led to a
different design for master control switching.
As our central router was nearing the
end of its service life and only handled
standard-definition video, we decided to
introduce several smaller master control
routers dedicated to each program stream.
In addition to providing us with a higher
level of redundancy, these dedicated-channel
MC routers made it easy to convert
from standard to high definition on a channel-
We selected Ensemble Designs 9430
routers and 5830 control panels which fitted
our design requirements perfectly. Each
program stream has a main and backup router
controlled by separate automation ports.
The output of these redundant routers feed
an Ensemble 7460 protection switch to
assure reliable operation should any one
network satellite receiver, server playback
channel, or automation playlist malfunction.
Offline troubleshooting is made easy by
switching an alternate path to air.
The 5830 control panel’s thumbnail
displays are an incredibly helpful operational
feature. In addition to providing a
quick preview function, the images serve
as a built-in master control monitoring
backup to our multiviewer monitor wall.
Should the multiviewer need to be temporally
taken offline for software updates or
maintenance issues, operators can rely on
the thumbnails to verify correct programs
are on the air. This reduces the need for
additional monitors at the master control
console and simplifies the operational environment.
ROUTER SETUP IS A BREEZE
Configuration management of the Ensemble
routing system is based on built-in
and easy-to-navigate Web pages. The entire
system status and control is right there in
the browser window.
The routers and protection switches are
just two of the wide variety of hardware
cards available for the Avenue frames. Our
installations use a mix of Ensemble Design
distribution amplifiers, video and audio
processing, along with a mix of conversion
cards. The ability to mix and match what you
need in each frame simplifies path design
and minimizes external wiring.
Ensemble sent their support team to help
us during installation and configuration, providing
customized software updates and answering
any questions that arose.
We’re looking forward to a long service
life with this equipment, knowing the hardware
has proven itself reliable and trouble
Rick Owen is chief engineer at KTNCTV/KCNS. He began his broadcasting career
in 1978 and joined KTNC-TV/KCNS
in 2012. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact Ensemble
Designs at 530-478-1830 or visit