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Current network taps Ascent Media for new headquarters

Current, the new cable and satellite TV network founded by former Vice President Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, launched from a newly built facility on Aug. 1.

Headquartered in San Francisco, the facility was jointly designed by Current’s engineering and operations team and Ascent Media Systems & Technology Services.

Ascent Media handled the integration and implementation aspect of the project. Additionally, Ascent Media is providing comprehensive transmission services for the new channel.

Current specializes in short-form programming called pods, which are usually three- to seven-minutes long. Roughly one quarter of the programming is viewer-created content, or what Current refers to as VC2, allowing the audience to create the programming they want to watch.

Transmission for Current's programming is handled via AMNS' Glenbrook earth station facility, located in Stamford, CT. Services include digitally compressed uplink and fully protected satellite space segment via the Galaxy XI (C-band) satellite and terrestrial interconnect services, routed from Current's origination facility in San Francisco to Glenbrook. Conditional access support is also provided, including authorization; program definition; affiliate support; IRD service; troubleshooting, and database management.

Presently transmitting in SD, Ascent Media based Current’s technical facilities on a DV format infrastructure capable of upgrading to HD playout. The broadcast center houses a satellite downlink antenna farm, in addition to master control, ingest, production and audio control rooms, post-production suites, one audio finish and three video finish rooms, and an insert stage. The network uses Apple equipment including Pro Tools for audio and Final Cut Pro for video. The entire facility is server-based, only using tape for media that is acquired on tape. The San Francisco facility is digitally interconnected to a Current stage in Los Angeles that produces dialy programming for the network.

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