KCET recently had the rare
opportunity of building a broadcast and
media facility from scratch, as part of our
relocation from a facility that had served us
for four decades. The new infrastructure is
based on an XDCAM file-based workflow,
with Harris signal processing and networking
gear cementing things together.
The Harris gear resides in the central
equipment room, yet touches every corner
of the plant. The package includes a Platinum
router with integrated HView SX Hybrid
multiviewers, along with X85 and X50
units for frame synchronization, signal conversion
and other tasks, as well as 6800+
core processing gear.
The Harris Selenio media convergence
platform we installed was perhaps the most
interesting technology choice, as it provides
a compact and bandwidth-efficient system
for over-the-air signal encoding.
KCET has used Harris NetVX gear to
encode terrestrial signals for a long time,
and today Selenio is cleanly encoding four
over-the-air feeds from the new facility.
Immediate benefits included a reduction
in rack space requirements and elimination
of auxiliary conversion equipment.
KEEPING A LOW PROFILE
The Selenio package fits comfortably
in 3RU and handles the required 1080i-to-
720p cross-conversion within
its frame. (Our HD programming
reaches Selenio in 1080i, yet we
broadcast in 720p to take advantage
of additional subchannels.)
This internal conversion
removes an additional box and
Selenio also provides statistical
multiplexing for efficient
bandwidth management. The
HD signal, compressed in MPEG-
2, varies between 10 and 12
Mbps, with SD channels encoded
at approximately 2.5 Mbps,
including audio. The bandwidthefficiency
improvements of the
SD conversions have been especially
noticeable, with viewers
offering specific feedback on
Selenio also encodes the direct-
to-satellite and cable feeds
for fiber delivery. This includes
Link TV, originated from the KCET facility
and delivered to DirecTV and the Dish Network
in MPEG-4. Selenio’s ability to handle
both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 within the same
frame is another key benefit of the system.
QUICK CHANGE ARTIST
The setup was also simplified with Selenio.
While Harris took care of things initially,
recent updates, including the MPEG-
4 license, were implemented in-house
with ease. NetVX required that the user
manually implement and apply changes.
With Selenio, updates are automatically
applied. I’ll admit that this was initially a
bit unnerving, but we’ve become comfortable
with the process and it is clearly a
Elsewhere, the X85 and X50 converters
bring value through multitasking. Both
products provide color correction in addition
to up, down, and aspect ratio conversion,
especially important for the insertion
of remote feeds into live newscasts.
We’ve found that the X50 is ideal for
straightforward color correction and frame
synchronization, and we also use the X85
for the audio processing and AFD code insertion
that’s required when downconverting
HD signals for cable.
We are a firm believer in one-stop shopping,
and the complete infrastructure offered
by Harris has allowed us to accomplish
this. Routing, encoding, processing
and conversion operations all talk to each
other via the same network, and we can
control and monitor all components using
Harris Nucleus panels. The comfort and
convenience of working with a single vendor
is really hard to beat.
Gordon Bell is senior vice president of,
engineering, operations, and IT at KCET.
He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact
Harris North American Sales at 800-231-
9673 or visit www.broadcast.harris.com.