Ion Taps Volicon Observer for NOC

April 1, 2009
Ion Media Networks has implemented an eight-channel Volicon Observer media monitoring and logging system for its new high definition channels. Installed at Ion Media's network operations center (NOC) in St. Petersburg, Fla., the Observer provides 24-hour recording of all aired content to support regulatory compliance logging for the HD channels.

"Our previous monitoring system was not capable of receiving HD signals, so when we added the HD channels to our distribution lineup, we needed a bulletproof method of capturing those feeds in order to demonstrate compliance with closed captioning regulations," said Paul Garrett, senior systems engineer at the Ion Media Networks NOC. "The Observer already has a great track record within our company for high performance and ease of use, so it was an easy decision to add the new system in our NOC."

Unlike monitoring systems that require an extra purchase of downconversion equipment to convert the HD signal to SD, the Observer monitoring system directly accepts native HD video. Because the HD stream is not downconverted, all metadata such as closed captioning is preserved, as well as the complete range (up to eight channels) of audio detail from HD signals recorded in Dolby 5.1 or 7.1. Optimized for HD's 16:9 aspect ratio, the Observer accepts signals from any HD-SDI interface with embedded audio.

By recording around the clock, the Observer provides a full log of all aired content for the eight HD channels that can easily be browsed and searched by any Ion Media operator with a Web browser. If the company needs to prove that a certain segment of video meets federal requirements for closed captioning, the operator can search for, and retrieve the segment quickly and easily, and then share a clip of the video with any requesting party via e-mail.

The new Observer system at Ion Media's NOC is an addition to last spring's deployment of two-channel Observers for each of the network's 56 television stations located nationwide.

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