Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Discovery Communication’s control system reassigns audio and video to pods

New studio technology - network

Discovery Communication’s control system reassigns audio and video to pods

The new Discovery Television and Technology Center in Sterling, VA, features a glass-enclosed, circular master control area surrounded by 10 transmission pods. Its control system is capable of transparently reassigning networks to any number of master control rooms. The facility was built to handle distribution for Discovery Communications’ current U.S. networks and designed to seamlessly accommodate growth.

Ascent Media provided the technical integration services for the 53,000sq ft showcase that serves as the network origination for 13 of Discovery’s U.S. networks plus BBC America — comprising 17 network feeds. The facility can support any mixture of 64 channels of HD or SD programming and currently provides West Coast feeds for three networks.

Each of the 10 transmission pods is easily configured by a push of a button and a click of a mouse to control up to six networks in any combination. These pods are monitored by three centrally-located supervisory positions, each of which can take full control of any network.

This design, resulting in significant cost savings, also allows the networks to be moved from pod to pod with all their associated audio and video monitoring and control, error reporting, graphic control, and automation.

Three tightly integrated applications provide the key to this operational scenario. A custom-engineered Evertz MVP 3000 system with integrated packet routers serves as the core A/V controller for the entire facility.

Each of the pods’ MVP 3000s are responsible for all the audio and video monitoring, error display and logging and tallies, while also displaying all VBI information relating to a signal, such as closed captioning. The system takes full advantage of the extreme flexibility of the facility by reassigning any audio or video sources to any pod. With 20 images associated with each network, it supports and manages in excess of 640 inputs along with the connected audio, regardless of format. It also supports all the routing and control required to move formats between pods.

The other critical elements are a Miranda Presmaster multichannel HD/SD master control panel and the OmniBus Colossus automated transmission suite.

Discovery has its eye on the future with specialized technology that comprises a blended infrastructure of both broadcast and IT solutions.

Design Team Technology at Work
Discovery: Barco Overview CDR67
John Honeycutt, sr. VP, TV op. group DLP displays
Greg Larvenz, VP, eng. sys. design Cisco
Jonathan Perkes, VP, eng. 6500 series switches
Charlie Myers, dir. of eng. and tech. dev. 3550 series switches
Ascent Media Doremi
Paul Berg, sr. proj. mgr. MCS servers
David Liptak, lead design eng. DLSP servers
Kenny Brueck, proj. leader Evertz
MVP 3000 control system
500 and 7700 series glue
Front Porch Digital
Presmaster MC panel
Imagestore MC switching and branding processor
Intuition branding graphics co-processor
NVISION NV8256-Plus router
Omneon SD and HD servers
OmniBus Colossus automation
StorageTek SL8500 archive

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