Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET) operates a statewide terrestrial and satellite television and radio broadcast network. NET delivers off-air DTV programming via nine ATSC transmitter sites and provides programming directly to cable operators via satellite. Our DTV signal contains one high-definition and two standard-definition signals on a full-time basis. We also serve as a PBS regional uplink and provide programming nationwide to PBS member stations.
AUGUMENTING EARLIER SERVERS
It was my responsibility to choose a server system that would take NET through the transition from SD to HD as seamlessly as possible. We have been successfully using Harris (previously Leitch) VR440 SD servers and decided to augment these with the new Harris Nexio Amp HD/SD advanced media platform.
David B. Stewart The first Nexio Amp that we purchased featured integrated storage, and we used it primarily for HD. The backward compatibility of new server with previous generations of Harris servers made its integration easy. We simply connected the ins and outs into our router and the GPI playlist triggers into our machine control system, and it was ready to go. Because Nexio Amp can operate in an SD/HD environment, we were able to maintain SD and HD content on a single server. This cemented our decision to more Nexio Amp servers as part of a new play-out storage area network that could augment our SD servers and DVD-based archiving system.
Initially, we used the FTP server application included with Nexio Amp for transferring media in its native format. This worked fine, but was a manual process. We wanted an automated workflow, so we added Harris ADC automation to the mix, utilizing the ADC Global Media Transfer option.
ADC provides an additional bridge between our existing platform and the new servers. RS-422 and Ethernet connectivity provide the ADC system the ability to access both databases and move files accordingly. We can use either an ADC transmission list or a Nexio playlist for playout to air. Not only does this give us great flexibility, but it also provides a backup for both networks.
One of the best things about the Nexio Amp is that it allows us to use native files from the older VR440 system without any conversion or re-ingest. Another great feature is its ability to set aspect ratio on a clip-by-clip basis for HD content—no matter which server channel is being used, the clip maintains the proper setting.
The integration of the Nexio Amp servers and ADC automation has saved us both time and money. We didn't have to acquire and integrate a completely new system and the learning curve was almost nonexistent. Once the system went online, our operators were ingesting, prepping and playing out material the same day.
The Nexio Amp servers were integral in helping us to not only upgrade to HD, but also to utilize our existing SD assets without going through a convoluted conversion and re-ingest process. We're looking forward to taking advantage of all that the new servers offer, including AFD support, which we're preparing for in the near future. Our strategy to upgrade our facility with Nexio Amp has turned out to be the best decision we could have made.
David Stewart is chief engineer, network operations, for NET in Lincoln, Neb., and has been with for the past 17 years. He may be contacted at dstewart@NETNebraska.org.
For additional information, contact Harris Broadcast at 800-231-9673 or visit www.broadcast.harris.com.