Michael Smereski, Director of Engineering Operations and Support, The Weather Channel /
06.12.2014 08:00 PM
Pixel Power Aids Weather Channel New Look
ATLANTA—Last year, The Weather Channel network began a complete redesign of its on-air “look.” This was an opportunity to re-invent the network’s iconic look to provide our fans with a deeper view of the weather and how they’re connected to it. One of our biggest changes in this initiative was to provide undisrupted access to local forecasts, regardless of what else might be on air.

Broadcast Automation Specialist Gary Ford uses Pixel Power to fine tune on air looks in The Weather channel development lab.
To achieve this, the on-air “look” has to change, depending on whether we’re running live programming, commercial content, or our traditional full-screen “Local on the 8s” weather display.

Previously, we would fade to black between commercials or before the local forecast segment. This provided us with some opportunities to change screen architecture. However, with our new design we never fade to black, and graphics are live all the time. To get the effect we wanted in this makeover, we needed a graphics system that would allow us to change the screen architecture dynamically while on-air in order to maintain the “look” that we sought. We evaluated several graphics systems, but it became obvious that Pixel Power’s LogoVision graphics playout systems could do what we wanted without any compromises. It also helped that Pixel Power designs its systems to meet high reliability and 24/7 operational requirements.

Pixel Power’s LogoVision has provided us with the sort of flexibility necessary to implement our new design, starting with playout of internally created content with the graphics, DDR functionality, and the multiple DVEs that we needed. Its ability to control layering of elements also provides a lot of creative control.

Many systems that we looked at had just a couple of inputs and provided a program stream with limited ability for manipulation in the box. Pixel Power’s LogoVision is a four-input system with plenty of on-board processing capability and this arrangement provided us with tremendous flexibility for adding exactly the graphics elements that we needed.

We went to Pixel Power with our design in late August with a November launch date in mind. Two weeks prior to that launch date, Pixel Power’s design expert arrived on site to ensure that the look was properly architected for the systems and to ensure that everything would layer correctly and deliver the “look” that we were seeking. The Pixel Power team also helped us integrate the new system with our existing automation controls.

We easily met our deadline and went live with the new “look” and graphics system at 4 a.m. Nov. 12. I’m happy to report that we’ve had no issues at all with the Pixel Power system. Based on our experience with other equipment, this is an impressive feat for systems that run constantly. All of our subsequent design updates and improvements have gone very smoothly.

Michael Smereski is director of engineering operations and support at The Weather Channel in Atlanta. He may be contacted at michael.smereski@weather.com.

For additional information, contact Pixel power at 818-276-4515 or visit www.pixelpower.com.

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