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Digital Broadcast Revamps Group Ops

Jim DeChant
BEND, ORE.—News-Press & Gazette Broadcast Division owns and operates seven television stations in the western United States. We recently undertook an extensive project to update our master control operations for file-based MPEG2-splicing video streaming. This was done after carefully evaluating cost efficiencies and advantages of the latest technologies. Our research led us into a working relationship with Digital Broadcast to install and develop their MediaFire IP System.

TIME TO AUTOMATE EVERYTHING

While most of our stations' master control operations were server-based and automated, this wasn't universal. We decided to fully automate everything and revamp the MC control operations, so we began an extensive evaluation and cost analysis.

As part of this study, we examined our cable operation that used a file-based server system. This had proven to be very cost effective, and we decided it could be a very viable way to revamp our stations at a reasonable cost.

We identified the multiplexer we wanted to use in our configuration, and then sought out equipment that could control that system from a company that was interested in working with the new video streaming and MPEG-2 splicing technologies.

We'd tasked Digital Broadcast a few years previously to build a multimedia news editing system at our cable operation in St. Joseph, Mo. That installation worked out very well for us and we decided to work with them in our new project.

Digital Broadcast's MediaFire IP provides ingest of compressed ASI and Ethernet directly from digital satellite receivers. The system requires no decoding of content to baseband and then having to re-encode it into the MediaFire video server. It supports MPEG-2 compressed ASI transport streams and video over IP as SPTS (single program transport streams) and MPTS (multi program transport streams).

Our MediaFire IP playout provides multichannel master control splicing of MPEG-2 media for direct feeds to cable and/or the transmitter. It also maintains the streamed MPEG network so that no baseband switching or keying is required on most services.

With our MediaFire IP, incoming material is scaled to HD and/or SD as needed and the bitrate is automatically conformed for playout. The system splices the material and selects the output sources according to the system's automation schedule, thus bypassing the need for a switcher on select services.

SIMPLE IS ALWAYS BETTER

We see our MediaFire IP as the way of the future in broadcast. As a file-based system, it reduces the need for video encoding and decoding and also the requirement for a switcher and downstream EAS insertion for many of our services. Therefore, much of the traditional hardware required for program and spot insertion is no longer necessary. We estimate that this configuration is 40 percent less expensive than traditional master control equipment.

The flexibility of the system is another definite plus. Once a file is resident, it can be shared among multiple applications used by news and promotions editors.

All in all, we're very pleased with our decision to go with Digital Broadcast and their MediaFire IP.

Jim DeChant is director of technical operations for News-Press & Gazette. He may be contacted at jdechant@npgco.com.

For additional information, contact Digital Broadcast at 352-377-8344 or visit www.digitalbcast.com.