New studio technology — network
Triveni Digital Design Team
Mike Strein, dir., DTV development and media planning;
Ken Michel, VP eng. sys.;
Steve Machanic, proj. mgr., eng.;
Michael Drazin, proj. mgr., technology and strategic planning;
Jim Jackson, proj. eng., engineering
Mark Corl, VP, eng.;
Dr. Richard Chernock, CTO;
Srinath V. Ramaswamy, dir., transport information sys.
Technology at work
ABC Network headend:
EEG HD480 data inserter
and software clients
Affiliated TV stations:
Optional local GuideBuilder
ABC leverages smart PSIP solution to address evolving demands of HD
The ABC Television Network develops, produces and distributes hundreds of hours of programming to more than 200 affiliated stations in the United States. Three years ago, the network began working with its owned stations to find a way to get late-breaking EPG data for HD programming from the network to the stations. At the time, the FCC was planning to mandate that station program guide information be up-to-date, and ABC sought an automated means by which last-minute changes to information could be incorporated into the HD digital television stream.
The data that supports the PSIP-based EPG is generated by third-party services and is typically available to ABC affiliate stations two weeks prior to a broadcast. In the network’s earlier model, any last-minute changes due to breaking news or a sports event running long would be sent to affiliate stations for manual input into the local PSIP generator. Often, staff members were too involved in making sure programming got to air correctly to take time out to update PSIP information.
In developing an RFP for a new and improved approach to updating PSIP data, ABC specified the existing areas of information that needed to be scraped from network automation, network logs and on-air programs and subsequently packaged for transport to stations in different time zones and geographic locations. After evaluating different options, ABC opted to work with Triveni Digital’s GuideBuilder-based network PSIP management system, along with the GuideBuilder Network VANC Receiver (NVR) module, installed at affiliate stations. The NVR connects to a local GuideBuilder PSIP generator to enable local and network PSIP merging.
ABC’s HD network sends its affiliate stations not only regular HD video and audio, but also information in the VANC data band, including last-minute updates for closed captioning and other critical overrides provided by a central network administrator. An EEG HD480 inserts this data on the network end, and Triveni Digital’s network PSIP management configuration at ABC affiliate stations extracts the information carried in the VANC data band, composes a PMCP schedule file incorporating updated information, and, within seconds, merges it into PSIP data for local broadcasts. Network affiliates employing the new model benefit from immediate and automated scheduling and critical DTV system information updates as they happen.
ABC already has begun to roll out its new PSIP solution at owned stations around the country. Because processing of updated data is managed automatically, in the background, ABC and its affiliated stations working with this solution are free to focus on other parts of the broadcast workflow.