WSVN has been on the air for more than 50 years and is a Fox-affiliated, news-intensive television outlet for South Florida. Like a lot of broadcasters, we've been faced with numerous challenges in the transition from analog to digital and HDTV. While the focus of this transition has primarily been on video technologies, there's also the issue of transitioning to HDTV audio with 5.1 surround sound, and doing so on a limited budget.
The Linear Acoustic AERO.air (5.1) processor One way to provide 5.1 surround sound is to convert every piece of equipment in the audio chain, which is a very costly and time-consuming proposition. To keep costs down, we began looking for an audio processing system that would work with our current equipment to produce 5.1.
NEEDED COMMERCIAL LOUDNESS REMEDY TOO
In addition to HDTV audio issues, loudness during commercials is another big concern for us. Not only have we frequently received e-mails from viewers with complaints about the sound levels associated with commercials, there's also the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM Act), H.R. 6209 legislation to consider. This bill was recently introduced and gives the FCC one year to enact rules requiring that television advertisements not be excessively loud. If this bill is passed into law, WSVN, and many other broadcasters, will need to identify a method for controlling the loudness of commercials being aired.
After evaluating various standalone products, we decided to purchase an all-in-one audio processing system that would give us both 5.1 surround sound output and serve as a loudness controller. We selected the Linear Acoustic AERO.air 10-channel TV audio processor/transmission loudness manager. This is an easy-to-integrate system that comes with several features which are especially attractive for our broadcasting operations.
With the installation and use of the AERO.air, we didn't have to change any of our current studio equipment. The unit accepts 5.1 network audio, two-channel local audio and digital or analog auxiliary/EAS stereo audio for processing. We simply feed the unit our existing stereo signal and it provides us with 5.1 surround. Things couldn't be easier.
The processor also features built-in Dolby (AC-3) digital encoding for high-quality surround sound. Linear Acoustics designed the unit to be reliable, and even equipped it with dual hot-swappable power supplies and a hard relay bypass system.
To resolve loudness issues, the AERO.air features a loudness controller that was engineered to eliminate volume inconsistencies. And the upmixing capabilities of the unit allow seamless integration of local two-channel audio and network 5.1-channel audio.
Our AERO.air was installed and placed into service this past April. The unit integrated seamlessly with our existing equipment, and I've certainly been impressed with the overall quality of the 5.1 surround sound it provides. If that weren't enough, viewer concerns over commercial loudness have been virtually eliminated, and we are now prepared if the CALM Act is passed into law.
For additional information, contact Linear Acoustic Inc. at 717-735-3611 or visit www.linearacoustic.com.