Wohler's Presto Gets Top Billing at Starz Entertainment

Douglas Reither
ENGLEWOOD, COLO.—Starz Entertainment has undergone some exciting transitions in recent years, all with the aim of providing our subscribers with the highest possible premium movie experience. Most recently, we completed a migration from a traditional video server play-out system to an IT-based play-out environment for our 16 movie channels, including our flagship Starz and Encore brands.

With the new play-out setup in place, we next focused on updating our return confidence recording, compliance, and logging capabilities. As we have done many times in the past, we turned to monitoring solutions from Wohler to provide an important link in this project.

At the core of Starz' new confidence recording strategy is the Volicon monitoring and logging system, which continuously records all 44 of our HD and SD return confidence feeds. In order to provide quick, at-a-glance monitoring for the 44 inputs to the Volicon servers, we added Wohler's new Presto multiview source selector to our QC monitoring rack. The Presto is a compact 1RU solution that makes 16 sources readily available for monitoring and straightforward switching via integrated OLED pushbuttons.


The choice of the Presto for this purpose was an easy one, based on our long history of using Wohler's renowned rack-mountable audio monitors, as well as the company's Touch-It Digital 16-channel video color monitors for our server-based play-out system. However, for confidence monitoring we sought a more compact and pared-down solution, and quickly discovered that there were very few vendors offering a simple 16x1 or similar matrix SD/HD/3G router in single or double RU packages. The Presto unit provided what we needed at a price point that was very similar to what the other vendors offered, but with the additional flair of showing the active video for each crosspoint on the buttons themselves.

As each of the 16 OLED screens on the Presto serves as a switcher button that displays an SDI stream from any source, our operators can easily and instantly observe that all of the inputs to the Presto router have active video. All our operators have to do is press the button displaying the appropriate stream to route the input video and embedded audio to our QC monitoring and scopes for verification.


Downstream from the Presto routers, we've added Wohler's AMP2-E16V modular audio/video processing monitor. In a separate project, we've also upgraded our media encoding and QC racks with AMP2-E16Vs. They are extremely powerful and flexible unts, with dual 4.3-inch OLED displays that make the systems ideal for dedicated video monitoring, loudness metering and control, audio routing and mix controls, along with Dolby Zoom functions. We especially appreciate the AMP2-E16V's user-defined presets, which enable us to monitor simple AES stereo pairs, Dolby E, and 12-channel embedded feeds with ease.

Overall, the Wohler products provide robust, reliable, and easy-to-use solutions for many different monitoring requirements in our operation—from instant monitoring of the health of our play-out systems, to fine-tuning of audio quality, to handoff of return confidence feeds to our off-air monitoring and logging system.

Douglas Reither has been with Starz Entertainment for 14 years and played a lead role in the company's migration to digital SD/HD services and IT-based infrastructure. He may be contacted at doug.reither@starz.com.

For additional information, contact Wohler at 510-870-0810 or visit www.wohler.com.