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Discovery Communications

Winner of new studio technology — network


The new Discovery Television and Technology Center in Sterling, VA, features a glass-enclosed, circular master control area surrounded by 10 transmission pods. Its control system is capable of transparently reassigning networks to any number of master control rooms. The facility was built to handle distribution for Discovery Communications' current U.S. networks and designed to seamlessly accommodate growth.

Ascent Media provided the technical integration services for the 53,000sq ft showcase that serves as the network origination for 13 of Discovery's U.S. networks plus BBC America — comprising 17 network feeds. The facility can support any mixture of 64 channels of HD or SD programming and currently provides West Coast feeds for three networks.

Each of the 10 transmission pods is easily configured by the push of a button and the click of a mouse to control up to six networks in any combination. These pods are monitored by three centrally located supervisory positions, each of which can take full control of any network. This design, resulting in significant cost savings, also allows the networks to be moved from pod to pod with all their associated audio and video monitoring and control, error reporting, graphic control and automation.

Three tightly integrated applications provide the key to this operational scenario. A custom-engineered Evertz MVP 3000 system with integrated packet routers serves as the core A/V controller for the entire facility. Each of the pods' MVP 3000s are responsible for all the audio and video monitoring, error display and logging and tallies, while also displaying all VBI information relating to a signal, such as closed captioning. The system takes full advantage of the extreme flexibility of the facility by reassigning any audio or video sources to any pod. With 20 images associated with each network, it supports and manages in excess of 640 inputs along with the connected audio, regardless of format. It also supports all the routing and control required to move formats between pods.

The other critical elements are a Miranda Presmaster multichannel HD/SD master control panel and the OmniBus Colossus automated transmission suite.

Discovery has its eye on the future with specialized technology that comprises a blended infrastructure of both broadcast and IT solutions.

Runner-up: Medcom


Technology at work: Clear-Com 128×128 intercom matrix; Evertz MVP monitor walls; Florical automation; Leitch Newsflash and NLE systems; Miranda Presmaster MC system with four streams; Quartz 256 × 256 SDI/AES with control and time code routing switcher; Ross Synergy production switchers; Wheatstone consoles.