Atlanta’s WXIA makes five-month switch to HD

WXIA-TV in Atlanta began its transition to HD in fall of last year and was on the air in about five months, in time for the Olympics. Two technology companies played an instrumental part of ordering their back-end operations to accomplish this feat.

WXIA, a Gannett station and Atlanta’s NBC affiliate, supported its transition to HD using Utah Scientific's MC-2020 SD/HD master control switcher and a 256 x 256 UTAH-400 HD routing switcher. The station also tapped Ensemble Designs' Avenue frame syncs, video converters and logo inserters for the signal integration portion of the transition, citing the frame sync’s ability to work well in the station’s environment, which includes analog and digital sources coming into the station through an 8500 frame sync.

WXIA's investment included new HD master control and routing switchers and a new automation system, video server and signal converters. The company chose the UTAH-400 HD routing switcher for its ability to map out various feed formats coming through the facility. The UTAH-400 HD ensures that feeds of various formats and aspect ratios are automatically routed to the appropriate signal converters.

WXIA currently broadcasts an analog, SD and HD channel. The SD signal is devoted to NBC's Weather Plus — a digital weather channel. Along with the UTAH-400 and MC-2020 switchers, the station is using Harris automation, Omneon Spectrum servers and a Sony news production switcher to manage its HD broadcasts.

The MC-2020 SD/HD master control switcher drives all the switching and routing functions through one keyboard-like surface within the station's master control facility. It features four keyers per channel, as well as audio board kits for each channel for use with both separate AES and embedded audio. The UTAH-400 HD is designed as a scalable matrix architecture that allows users to expand from 8 x 8 up to 1152 x 1152, and it features redundant power supplies, crosspoint and controller cards.

Also included in the installation is Utah's SC-4 control system, which can be used with any of the current or legacy Utah routing switchers while also providing interface capability to many third-party control and switching systems.

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