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03.01.2010
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
9th annual Broadcast Engineering Excellence Awards winners
More than 30,000 readers voted on this year’s state-of-the-art facilities.

TV Globo

Winner of new studio or RF technology – station

Submitted by
GLOBO Comunicação e Participações SA

Runners-up:
Oklahoma Educational TV Authority
Submitted by Axcera

WLII-TV and WSUR-TV
Submitted by AZCAR

Digital terrestrial TV is being launched in Brazil with great success, reaching more than 65 million people in less than two years. However, Brazil is a huge country, and there are rural areas that will never be covered by terrestrial TV. Aiming to better serve the rural communities and digitize the analog satellite signal before analog technology becomes obsolete, TV Globo decided to develop a system targeted for rural areas based on GPS.

Project planning for TV Globo’s Digital Television for Rural Areas (TVDR) began in 2005. Checking its location through a GPS module, the set-top box will only yield TV GLOBO’s satellite signals in rural areas of Brazil.

In November 2009, this system launched in the Rio de Janeiro rural area and will subsequently be expanded throughout Brazil. TVDR will feature only one satellite national feed, but regional feeds will replace the national feed, region by region. A conditional-access system was developed for this project, linking geo-referenced maps to each regional feed. As each regional feed becomes available, the receivers located in the corresponding region will automatically choose it. If the location is outside Brazil, no signal will be decrypted.

To ensure the launch of the first signal in Rio de Janeiro, the technical team designed, integrated and tested the whole system in detail. The operational team was involved and trained throughout the process to facilitate the start of this new operation. The key components of the system are a conditional-access system from Nagravision, encoders and multiplexers from Cisco, a set-top box from Thomson, and a GPS module from Prime.

TVDR’s project team developed a system that will benefit the population of rural areas with digital quality and lend to satellite transmissions the regional aspects of terrestrial TV, while helping to eliminate rights issues and preserve TV GLOBO’s business model.

CBS

Winner of new studio technology – network

Submitted by
Pilat Media

Runner-up:
Trans Video Communications Studios’ NET
Submitted by Broadcast Integration Services

CBS’ new Media Distribution Center (MDC) in New York City replaces aging, tape-based legacy equipment in the current Broadcast Origination Center (BOC) with HD digital file server-based scheduling and playout technologies. The MDC handles up to 80 inbound feeds and 18 outbound network feeds for program playout to U.S. affiliates. Fiber and satellite links connect the 19,735sq-ft facility to CBS Television City in Los Angeles, where scripted programs are prepared for air and disaster recovery operations are located. The MDC integrates live news and distributes live sports programs with regionalization as required and can support content for new media platforms such as CBS Sportsline, mobile TV applications and VOD services.

Key objectives focused on automating and streamlining the workflow for scheduling and playout operations and minimizing the potential for errors. CBS turned to Pilat Media’s Integrated Broadcast Management System (IBMS) for media management, program content scheduling and in-house technical facility scheduling.

By integrating its centralized, TV network enterprise-wide database and exploiting its integration capabilities with other systems, IBMS helps the MDC run at peak efficiency. Support for CBS’ legacy systems enabled IBMS to provide a smooth, progressive migration path to MDC functionality. Broadcast-relevant data flows into the IBMS system from a wide variety of interfaces. Commercial and promo information are received from the CBS sales system. Program format and timing information are entered into IBMS. The system also takes in data from a separate sales traffic system for The CW Network.

Media management is helping CBS migrate to a tapeless environment. The system processes acquisitions, logging the details of material received into the system and manages ingest of that material to servers. It also manages the MDC tape libraries within a single integrated environment.

WDSE-TV

Winner of new studio technology – HD

Submitted by
Heartland Video Systems

Runner-up:
HSN
Submitted by Sony Electronics

WDSE-TV, the PBS affiliate in Duluth, MN, and Heartland Video Systems started planning the rebuild of the WDSE master control room in 2008. At that time, WDSE’s digital broadcast stream consisted of an HD rebroadcast from PBS, an SD rebroadcast of PBS Create, an SD channel that also fed the analog transmitter and the MN Channel. The primary goal of the project was to provide a functional master control switcher for all four services, as well as to make all of WDSE’s content available on all services.

All content is ingested into the server in 1080i, switched through all the master control channels as 1080i and then cross- or downconverted just prior to encoding and transmission using Miranda XVP-1801 cards. While this approach could have increased the cost of the project, it actually reduced the overall cost. Because a majority of the equipment already in the facility allowed for the output format to be set as HD regardless of the source material, the need for format conversion was greatly reduced. The Bitlink IRDs for PBS were all reconfigured at no cost, and the TANDBERG RX1290 receivers were licensed for upconversion. The remainder of the SD equipment uses a small pool of AJA FS1s for upconversion. This concept also provided a natural level of redundancy for bypass switching because everything is in one format.

The existing Omneon server was upgraded with new HD media ports and a modest amount of additional storage. NVerzion’s TeraStore provided 72TB of nearline storage to handle all the HD content. An Omneon ProBrowse proxy server allows remote monitoring of content, and Utah Scientific’s MC-400 switchers are fully SD/HD configurable and were set up to switch in HD. All of WDSE’s local programming is now being done in HD. The Snell Kahuna allowed for reconfiguration of its output to feed HD to WDSE. At the input side, it accepts SD or HD sources and transitions between the two.

Rensselaer Polytechnic

Winner of new studio technology – nonbroadcast

Submitted by
Ross Video

Runners-up:
Transportation Security Administration
Submitted by Professional Products Inc.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Submitted by Communications Engineering Inc.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, is one of the nation’s oldest technological universities. Rensselaer founded the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), a facility with next-generation presentation and production capabilities for art and science.

Rensselaer faced its biggest challenge by starting from a blank page in designing and implementing EMPAC. EMPAC’s engineers, in concert with other EMPAC staff and representatives from Rensselaer, worked with team members from AZCAR, Audio-Video and product vendors.

EMPAC’s space, equipment and workflow needed to be reconfigurable. With little turnaround, the concert hall may be used for a live orchestral concert for an audience of 1200, a lecture series, recording solo piano work, architectural acoustic research or hosting an independent film festival. Physically, all spaces are also designed with NC15 noise floor criteria, making them ideal for live performance, recording and research platforms.

There were many vendors involved in the building of EMPAC, and flexibility was key when it came to choosing every detail. This is the main reason Rensselaer chose Ross for the switcher. The Ross Video Vision 3 QMD-X multidefinition production switcher fit the budget while leaving room for features such as VTR control, aux keys and smart conversion.

EMPAC’s A/V infrastructure embraces the very latest in broadcast, live performance, post-production and research technologies. It installed an extensive cable plant of single-mode fiber, Cat 6A F/UTP and other traditional and nontraditional cable technologies to tie all the building’s venues together. By doing this, any activity can be easily centralized or decentralized.

Since opening its doors in 2008, EMPAC continues to impact students, researchers, artists and audiences with opportunities fostered by leading-edge science and engineering performance technology.

Jewish Life TV

Winner of station automation

Submitted by
Compix Media

Jewish Life TV (JLTV) is a Los Angeles-based broadcast channel that reaches nearly 25 million viewers in the United States. In delivering high-quality programming to this audience, JLTV faces two challenges: producing professional presentations for viewers and offering attractive advertising opportunities and a high level of visibility for program sponsors. To meet these challenges, JLTV worked with systems integrator and consultant Jonathan Landman of Newcast to design and implement a facility with an emphasis on reliability and functionality at an affordable cost. One of the key requirements was the ability to display information from the Web as a live ticker on the screen plus the simultaneous integration of viewer and sponsor messages into these tickers.

The installation features the ProTrack TV scheduling traffic system and NVerzion automation system. The ProTrack system feeds the JLTV schedule to the automation software, which then automates the control of the

360 Systems Maxx video server for continuous spot, interstitial and program playback. NVerzion also controls Compix Media’s branding, logo, ticker and text overlay system, which employs template-based branding and automates data entry to provide current, targeted graphical messaging.

When the system went live in October 2009, it gave JLTV a powerful tool for boosting ad sales and attracting new viewers. The Compix CynerG2 enables the JLTV staff to insert sponsor branding along with continuously updated news crawls at the bottom of the screen during regular programming, thereby bypassing the growing issue of viewers using DVR recording to skip interstitial, spot-based advertising. The facility is also using the CG system to insert custom messages from viewers in a secondary crawl, and this personalization of on-screen content along with programming and sponsor-driven content helps to engage and build JLTV viewership.

Comcast Media Center

Winner of network automation

Submitted by
Diversified Systems

Runner-up:
Red Bee Media
Submitted by TSL

Versus has become one of the fastest-growing sports cable networks in the country. It is the exclusive cable TV home of the NHL, IndyCar Series, Tour de France, World Extreme Cagefighting, and Professional Bull Riders. It also airs college football from top conferences. Growing demands pushed the legacy system to the limits. The broadcaster launched a shared HD channel with sister network Golf Channel in December 2007, known as Versus/Golf HD. To accommodate its own dedicated HD Channel launched in December 2008, Versus needed its own network operations facilities.The broadcaster built its new network operations center within the Comcast Media Center (CMC) in Denver. With the amount of live events rapidly increasing, it needed a network operations and transmission facility to accommodate both HD and SD playout, as well as provide for the blackout requirements of the sports franchises.

The project had an aggressive schedule with only a few short months to design, build and cut over the master control and transmission systems within a greenfield space at CMC. After a thorough, competitive bid process, Diversified Systems was selected as the integrator for the project. Diversified was up to the challenge and brought the project in on time and on budget.

The system had to tie in seamlessly with the Versus Stamford, CT, file-based production facility. Using server technology from Omneon along with automation and asset management from Avid’s Sundance Digital, Diversified and the team from the CMC created an efficient and highly reliable system that leverages the workflow established in production. The flow of the space and the adjacencies of the various functions such as master control, feed coordination, ingest and media prep were primary concerns in laying out the floor plan. After several revisions, the team created an environment where the operations staff could visually monitor the aforementioned functional areas from a centralized work area without unnecessarily disrupting the operators.

NY1 News

Winner of newsroom technology

Submitted by
Azzurro Systems Integration

Runner-up:
WFTV-DT
Submitted by Grass Valley

NY1 News, Time Warner Cable’s 24-hour news channel in New York City, is one of the most advanced newsgathering operations in the world. The station recently worked with Azzurro Systems Integration to upgrade and consolidate its master control environment. The consolidation allows the broadcaster to provide multiple distribution streams from a single master control area using three master switcher systems. All feeds are distributed in both HD and analog. HD feeds are converted to ASI streams and analog video and audio in the final stage prior to transmission. One feed carries normal NY1 News programming and is distributed to Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Bergen County, NJ. A second master switcher feeds a local insert to Queens, and the third system provides Spanish programming. Local ad insertion capability has been built into the system. Internal routing and distribution is accomplished via HD-SDI with embedded audio channels.

Programming for each feed is switched with an Evertz QMC-2 HD-SDI master switcher. The master switchers each control an Evertz Topaz 16 x 16 routing switcher, which provides subswitching for the program, preset, bypass and key feeds to the master switcher. Sources feeding the Topaz switchers include Omneon server ports providing inputs and outputs to and from a central storage system. The system has 16 bidirectional channels, 32 playout channels, and storage for 1250 hours of DV50 material and four audio channels. Additionally, an Omneon MediaDeck provides backup, central routing switcher outputs and additional sources. The MediaGrid active storage system provides 126TB of raw capacity using high-bandwidth content servers, 57TB of available storage with a replication factor of 2:2, and storage for 2035 hours of DV50 material and four audio channels. A Dalet Enterprise Edition automation system controls the server systems and switching.

Dome Productions

Winner of post & network production facilities

Submitted by
AZCAR

Runners-up:
Adtext, The Mill
Submitted by Softel

Golf Channel
Submitted by Solid State Logic

Today, for the sports entertainment world, customer demand is for HD. With the commissioning of Thunder, its fifth HD truck, Dome Productions wanted to select the proper mix of equipment to yield the greatest functionality, while keeping the vehicle’s gross weight under control. To achieve the right mix, Thunder used fiber optics to not only carry multiple signals on a single cable but also to reduce the weight. Dome worked with AZCAR, a leader in HD broadcast system integration and production, because it brought complementary management, experience and engineering expertise to the project.

With a 3-D eye to the future, Dome invested in the technologies that could take it to 1080p60, the format necessary for live stereoscopic 3-D productions when its clients see the need. This included the installation of an Evertz EQX 3Gb/s router and a cable infrastructure capable of handling the bandwidth and return loss characteristics of a 4.25GHz signal parameter. Ten switchable Sony HDC-1500R cameras allow for addressing the flexibility that sports and entertainment venue operations require. Sixteen channels provided by an EVS XT[2] LSM server complement Sony HDCAM and Sony SR high-bandwidth digital video recorders. Sound is managed with numerous Dolby E and surround encoder/decoder products, with surround mixing on a Calrec Sigma mixing deck with Bluefin, a 320-channel processor system capable of 8 x 5.1 surround, stereo or mono audio groups. The Grass Valley Kalypso HD 4M/E production switcher, Abekas Dveous/MX dual-channel DVE and Chyron HyperX2 SD/HD graphics CG make up video production. Audio support equipment includes an RTS Adam intercom, Wohler AMP2 audio monitors, Ward Beck AMS8-1AM monitors, Crown CTs-4200 amplifiers and JBL speakers.

The 53ft trailer features a 41ft by 5ft expando section that provides room for the three-deck production center and the 25ft-long transmission and video support area. Thunder’s first production, for MLB, aired May 12, 2009.



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