Evertz MC Worth the Wait for Raycom

MONTGOMERY, ALA.—Like many broadcast groups, Raycom Media has been steadily replacing HD infrastructure at its stations from the minimalist systems installed in the early 2000s to more fully developed ones.

To date, Raycom Media has 64 channels at 22 different stations on air using the Evertz 3025EMC master control platform, integrated with Evertz SDI routers, conversion and processing equipment and 3067VIPX multiviewers and are very happy with this solution.

Raycom Media is utilizing the Evertz 3025EMC platform at 22 of its stations.

For historical context, in 2008, Raycom Media deployed one of the early “station-in-a-box” systems—basically a hot-rod server with a fancy video card that was supposed to do it all: switch between live and server video sources, key, be a CG and DVE, and be tightly integrated with automation. When it struggled with these tasks, the vendor began stripping away the advanced features, and eventually it was downgraded to just play video files; and it wasn’t too good at that either. Raycom eventually pulled the plug on that effort, believing in the technology but acknowledging it needed more time to mature.

Nowadays there are more mature “station-in-a-box” solutions and many, many channels on the air using that approach. Raycom’s decision to move forward with an Evertz 3025EMC solution suited our requirements while the migration to IP-based master control systems continues to mature.

However, faced with the need to get on with it, we chose what looks to be a more traditional approach, using bespoke subsystems of router, master control switcher, conversion equipment and multiviewers. These are highly integrated and offer us many features that allow us to maximize our investment and offer extremely stable operation.

We have the Evertz router feeding the PVW and PGM inputs of the 3025EMC, through a pair of Evertz’s up-down-cross conversion cards with internal frame syncs, minimizing concerns about whether the source is SD or HD, genlocked or not. Any source on the house router can be taken in by the master switcher without glitch or audio pops, thus greatly reducing the need for additional conversion equipment.

Using Evertz’ X-link connectivity feature, up to 32 multiviewer sources are pulled from the router, without the need for extra DAs and cables. The multiviewer outputs are re-entered into the SDI router, making them available anywhere they are needed.

The system also has four sets of external key and fill inputs, minimizing a long cascade of downstream devices in the air chain, to key weather alerts, tickers, bugs, snipes, etc., each with their own latency and stability issues, eliminating a constant concern for the maintenance engineers and master control operators.

The 3025EMC has abundant interfaces to all of the third party ancillary equipment needed in a master control environment—AES inputs for voice overs, GPI control, serial and Ethernet. AES voice overs in conjunction with GPI control and the sophisticated embedded audio shuffling/mixing in the 3025EMC is used to implement the FCC required tones and insert the text-to-speech for emergency alerting to viewers, and passing the video descriptor audio on the second audio service. The 3025EMC also interfaces with the CAP/EAS unit to pass EAS alerts to viewers.

The commissioning, training and follow-up support from Evertz has been excellent, reinforcing that this was the right solution for Raycom Media.

Eric Bergman has been with Raycom Media’s Corporate Technology group for 10 years and at various TV stations since 1987. He can be contacted atebergman@raycommedia.com.

For more information, please visitwww.evertz.comor call 905-335-3700.