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Ensemble Big Winner at Charles Town Races

This Teleview Racing Patrol installation relies on Ensemble Design's Avenue gear for signal
CHARLES TOWN, W.VA.
When Charles Town Races & Slots in West Virginia decided to move to high definition, they brought our organization onboard for the system design and installation. Teleview Racing Patrol is a service provider and systems integrator that specializes in the racing industry. We have a long history in the racing industry, beginning with film work for race tracks in the 1950s.

HD COMES TO THE RACES

Charles Town is the third track in the country to provide HD broadcasts and does programming and uplinks five days a week.

I worked with the Charles Town staff for nine months on system design, revisions, and proposals. Once we came up with the precise high-definition requirements, we purchased all of the equipment and pre-built the system at our Hialeah headquarters. This system included Ensemble Designs Avenue terminal gear, Ikegami cameras, a Utah Scientific router and a For-A production switcher.

We transported the system to Charles Town and took advantage of the Sunday afternoon through Wednesday night shutdown for the installation. Each of the new cameras and fiber paths were tested by running them through downconverters into an existing production switcher, with the HD switchover made shortly before Thanksgiving. 

Charles Town uses four HD cameras for race coverage, with two of these operating with fiber and two via coax. All camera video and other signals are fed through Ensemble d.a.s and then to the router, production switcher and monitoring area.

The in-house video is downconverted to SD for the simulcast satellite feed with an Avenue 7925, as we don't uplink HD because of the increased bandwidth and equally pricey uplink fees.

Simulcast satellite feeds are critical in races, with each track uplinking its races so that patrons at other tracks can view them and wager on multiple races. This enables tracks to attract more clientele.

REMOTE MONITORING

One thing that attracted me to the Ensemble Avenue was its IP monitoring and remote control capabilities. We operate more than 40 facilities from Florida to New Mexico and to be able to remotely monitor everything is a huge advantage to effective and efficient operations.

We also take full advantage of the Avenue PC alarm functions, setting alarms for signal absence, reference, card frame temperature, and many other parameters. This allows me to pick up possible trouble indications when I check my morning e-mail. One time I received an e-mail at 4 a.m. reporting a fan failure so I remotely checked the Avenue frame temperature and alerted the local production staff and they were able to clear the problem. This is an example of how Ensemble's remote alarm feature prevented a system failure.

A long-term benefit of the Avenue system is that it reduces travel for me, for I fly enough as it is. To me this is a major benefit.

The working relationship we've established with the folks at Ensemble has been a big plus too. If an equipment problem does arise, we receive a replacement part or board the following day, which is support the way it should be handled.

Rick Kipp is chief engineer at Teleview Racing Patrol and supervises broadcast operations for some 40 facilities. He may be contacted atrkipp@televiewracing.com.

For additional information, contact Ensemble Designs at 530-478-1830 or visitwww.ensembledesigns.com.