Snell Kahuna Boosts KYTX HD Launch

In planning our high-definition launch, we faced a common dilemma—how to continue to accommodate a wide variety of SD video sources and content for presentation in HD.
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(L-R) Scott Jones, KYTX Television director; Michael Lovelady, operations manager; and Dani Delgado, director, check out the new Kahuna. TYLER, TEXAS
KYTX serves a large area of East Texas including Tyler, Jacksonville, Longview, Lufkin, and Nacogdoches. In April, we became the first station in this market to go to air with a locally originated high-definition broadcast. This was the result of a carefully timed strategy that not only took the best advantage of the ratings period, but also provided that all-important element of surprise for the competition and our viewing audience.

One of the technologies that made this possible was a state-of-the-art Snell Kahuna SD/HD production switcher.


In planning our high-definition launch, we faced a common dilemma—how to continue to accommodate a wide variety of SD video sources and content for presentation in HD. As the world's first true multiformat SD/HD switcher, the Kahuna presented a cost-effective and powerful solution.

A big selling point for us was FormatFusion, the Snell technology that allows the Kahuna to handle simultaneous SD and HD operations in the same mainframe and on the same control panel.

With the Kahuna, we were able to plan our high-definition infrastructure without having to make a large capital outlay for external conversion equipment that would have created additional rack space and wiring requirements, as well as signal path delay and other complications in our live production environment. The Kahuna technology allows us to mix content from any source into our HD broadcast, a capability that greatly simplified and accelerated our transition to HDTV.


The Kahuna played a key role throughout our entire transition. In the beginning, the switcher allowed us to begin testing an HD broadcast, even though we were still relying on a large number of SD signal sources. As our budget permitted, we've been able to gradually convert more of our studio equipment and cameras to HD.

As it happened, our new studio was completed and we were fully high-definition capable some two months before we were ready to officially launch. In fact, during that period, we used the Kahuna to downconvert our new HD signal to standard-definition video for transmitting to air.

Those two months proved to be an interesting balancing act between keeping our true launch date hidden from our competition and holding the transition off until the first day of ratings in order to maximize the impact.

However, that time period also provided us a much neeed opportunity to discover and iron out any remaining operational bugs, and also to acclimate our personnel to the new high-definition environment.

Although most of our sources are fully converted to HD now, we still rely on the Kahuna to mix some residual SD content, including a few overhead studio news cameras and a legacy weather system.


Another powerful Kahuna feature that we've been putting to good use in our operation is the IMPAKT 3D DVE package and the full suite of 3D digital effects that it provides. We use these effects to add visually striking transitions to our weather and sports coverage.

In a market as competitive as ours, winning the race on the road to high-definition broadcasting has already proven to be a huge strategic advantage for KYTX television. And with its built-in upconversion and downconversion capabilities, the Kahuna switcher enabled us to strategically plan our high-definition launch in a manner that made the most sense for our business.

Moe Strout is director of engineering for London Broadcasting Company, the operator of KYTX television. He may be contacted

For additional information, contact Snell at 818-556-2616 or