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01.11.2006
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
TV Guide Channel's new automation and master control facility

Network automation



TV Guide Channel’s new automation and master control facility



TV Guide Channel provides nearly 80 million homes in 27,000 different localities with comprehensive program listings and original programming. With its rapid growth, the channel has expanded its programming services, adding more live content and highlighting VOD and HD programming in its program listings.

To accommodate its increasingly sophisticated production and playout needs, the network selected Omneon Spectrum media servers and Pro-Bel automation for a more flexible transmission infrastructure for its transmission center in Tulsa, OK. The first phase in this project, completed successfully in May 2005, involved installation of a new automation and master control facility.

In overhauling its transmission operations, TV Guide Channel sought to move towards a dynamic and flexible output. To this end, the network integrated Pro-Bel’s Aurora control system, Sirius multiformat routing for audio and video, TX Series master control and Morpheus automation with Omneon Spectrum media servers, as well as existing Pinnacle DekoCast graphics and branding systems.

Morpheus gives operators at the facility’s transmission center the ability to schedule down into the details of playout. The automation solution allows operators to discretely schedule individual graphics without pre-authoring, which offers greater flexibility in presentation styles.

The Sirius and Morpheus systems respond to and react along with the operator, providing cut-in capabilities within master control and allowing users to switch, brand and change content as necessary.

In addition to updating transmission operations, the facility also streamlined the workflow between production and playout. The facility’s production center is located in Los Angeles, CA. Material is produced there using nonlinear edit systems. Finished sequences are then transferred to the Omneon media servers in the Oklahoma transmission center over fiber, transcoded by Telestream’s FlipFactory software. This IP transfer allows TV Guide Channel to maximize the use of both facilities while enabling the greatest flexibility.

As the facility delivers a growing amount of media to more consumers via television and other platforms, network staff will have the tools to efficiently move content around the primary pictures and sound. In addition to simplifying presentation of clever graphics, the new playout system also supports transmission of additional digital data for digital broadcast. As content is distributed to such platforms as mobile phone networks and IPTV, the automated master control will simplify many playout operations too complex and unwieldy to be handled manually.

Operating from its new master control system, TV Guide Channel is able to handle current transmission operations more efficiently and, in the future, to expand to different delivery channels while maintaining its existing staff and infrastructure.

Design Team Technology at Work
TV Guide Channel: Omneon Spectrum media servers
Lawson Adams, eng. Pinnacle DekoCast graphics
Jack Carey, SVP op. eng. : Pro-Bel:
Pro-Bel: Aurora control system
Neil Maycock, CTO Morpheus automation
Dave Collins, head of automation group Sirius multiformat routing for audio and video
Richard Harlan, Morpheus team leader TX Series MC switcher

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