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KRGV-TV Grows Into Digital With Sierra

My engineering team here has been adding digital video capability to the station since 2002. Since that time we've effectively been running a typical "hybrid" operation: broadcasting in analog, while simulcasting in DTV, and working with both digital and analog feeds and content delivery. When we bought our first mid-sized digital routing switcher, I couldn't imagine we'd need more capacity than the 64-input Ponderosa HD-SDI/SDI routing switcher that Sierra Video offered.


We'd had analog Sierra Video routing switchers in operation at the station here for years. I was impressed that the company's routers always worked perfectly. They've been simple to set up and operate, have contained no surprises and have been so reliable that we could basically install and then forget about them. Sierra Video also offered simple and reliable 1RU remote control panels that we'd installed throughout the station. I have very rarely needed to deal with Sierra's support staff, but on the occasions that I did, the company's support team was always knowledgeable, helpful, readily available, and easy to work with.

When the time came to build a digital infrastructure from scratch, Sierra Video routing switchers were my first choice. Sierra's Ponderosa routing switcher was ideal in that it could handle any digital format we needed to throw at it—HD, SD, SMPTE 310—and was available at an attractive price. And it would dovetail nicely with our existing Sierra Video control system. The Ponderosa unit performed the way we expected a Sierra Video routing switcher always should—it proved to be reliable straight out of the packing box.

Our Ponderosa routing switcher was really the heart of our digital infrastructure. As the station's digital conversion drew near, the input capacity of our existing routing system began to fill up. Additional satellite receivers and monitoring of all four of our program streams placed a big demand on inputs. A new video server required more sources and destinations for recording, playback and monitoring. Additionally, program distribution services often mean new equipment has to be wired into the system. We can't always plan for such expansions. They always hit us out of the blue, and we have to be ready.


It soon became apparent that the hub of our digital video system would need to grow. Our 64-input machine would not be big enough for the fully-digital operation that was developing. We went back to Sierra Video and they directed us to their Trade In–Trade Up routing switcher exchange program. With this substantial trade-up allowance, we were able to simply upgrade our 64x64 Ponderosa system to a 96x64 system.

With the trade, our digital operations now have the room we need for any additional expansion that occurs in the coming years.

Our "hybrid" analog/digital video environment meant that we had been operating a robust digital system alongside our analog broadcast for quite some time before the digital conversion date. When the time came to make the official broadcast conversion, our process was relatively simple. We simply finished our noon hour broadcast and made our digital output our primary direct-to-air feed. A well-planned system and reliable products made our transition smooth and seamless for our viewers. The Ponderosa HD-SDI/SDI routing switcher is the heart of that operation.

Chuck Salge is the chief engineer at KRGV-TV and has been with the station for more than 30 years. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact Sierra Video at 530-478-1000