Miranda Shines in Knowledge Conversion

Our upgrade included a complete top-to-bottom facility overhaul, including our master control and central equipment room, as well as our content creation and ingest areas.
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Knowledge uses more than 400 Miranda Densité signal processing cards for conversion, mixing and encoding/decoding at its newly upgraded facility. BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Even though Knowledge is a public educational broadcaster, we do compete with commercial stations for audience share, and with an audience of 1.2 million viewers each week, we're already reaching one in four Canadians living in British Columbia.

This past February, Knowledge refurbished its facility for digital operations, with an eye to being ready for high-definition program delivery.

As part of that renovation, we elected to add additional service streams and third-party services with the idea that operating expenses reduced with their implementation. Currently, we broadcast a single stream through four different broadcast distribution units, which, in turn, provide coverage for the entire province.

COMPLETE FACILITY MAKEOVER

Our upgrade included a complete top-to-bottom facility overhaul, including our master control and central equipment room, as well as our content creation and ingest areas. This even included new heating and cooling systems, carpets and wallpaper, and also the construction of a seismic restraint system to protect assets in the event of an earthquake.

We selected Miranda signal processing equipment for our makeover as it accommodates HD signals and thus places us in a great position for our next big step into the future of broadcasting.

Our new infrastructure is based around two Nvision 5128 mid-size, multiformat routers, and 34 Densité frames populated with more than 400 Densité modules. We were really impressed with Miranda's field-expandable modular infrastructure, which allows a wide mixture of different functions and formats to be slotted into any Densité chassis. With this product line, we didn't need half the equipment that would usually be required for signal processing, as Densité modules can do the job of multiple traditional cards and devices. Not surprisingly, this approach also reduced our purchase, installation and operational costs.

Among many different modules we're using are the XVP-1801 up/down/cross converter and signal processor with AFD, and the HCO-1801 changeover, which provides clean and silent switching. We also are using a number of DDA-1112 cards for AES3 digital audio distribution.

MONITORING/CONTROL SYSTEM

All the Densité modules, as well as third-party devices at Knowledge, are supervised by Miranda's iControl monitoring and control system. This provides a graphical representation of the entire network chain for our operators. They describe iControl as a "one-stop-shoping" type of status screen, as it makes life simpler by setting signal parameters with pre-determined limits and the use of intelligent alarms. It can also provide individual device level views, which saves us lots of time, should we have to investigate any signal faults.

Our signal processing infrastructure is complemented by other Miranda systems that provide monitoring and channel branding functions. These include the Kaleido-X multiviewer, and the Vertigo XG and Xmedia Suite for a highly efficient channel branding graphic workflow.

During our switch-over, Knowledge stayed on air 24/7 while our systems integrator, N Plus Designs, headed by Jim Nelson, remodeled 32 racks of equipment in our existing facility, including our master control room. This was a demanding transition, involving eight software providers and a complex exchange of data between traffic, our automation system and also among the various systems employed. This wasn't always easy, but we're now very proud of the end result.

Oliver Eichel is director of broadcast operations and IT at Knowledge, British Columbia's public broadcast educator. He also serves on the British Columbia Institute of Technology advisory board for Broadcast Communications. He may be contacted atolivere@knowledgenetwork.ca.

For more information, contact Miranda at 514-333-1772 or visitwww.miranda.com.