Excellence Awards Omneon ION

Category New studio technology — HD Submitted by Omneon Design teamGarrett Communications: Paul Garrett, integration
ION Media Networks:
Brian Reitmeyer, chief sys. design; Dave Glenn,
pres. of eng.; Matthew Gluntz, Sal Pistone,
integration team; Mark Greenlee, VP network
op.; Vincent Giordano,
chief eng.; David Goosey, network eng.; Brian Reitmeyer, sr. sys. eng.; Dan Cusmano, sys. eng.; Brian Pinta, sys. eng. Technology at work Barco
Hydra processors
OverView DLP projector
Solaris LCD fl at screens
MV-100 encoders
MN20-4 remultiplexers
Harris ADC automation
Masstech MassStore
media asset
Omneon Spectrum
Snell & Wilcox
RollCall, RollMap,
L700 tape library
FlexStore arrays
Utah Scientific Utah-400
Videotek RS-12DV

ION Media Networks’ new HD-ready facility supports the transmission of 12 digital feeds

In entering the digital age, ION Media Networks replaced its legacy analog infrastructure with an HD-ready plant. While remaining on air, ION Media rebuilt its Network Operations Center (NOC) to support the transmission of 12 digital feeds, comprising main programming feeds as well as backhaul channels, delivered via satellite to 60 stations across the country.

The network’s team essentially built a new facility right next to its existing facility. Testing and training on the new system took place while the traditional playout operations went on normally. After transmission went live on the new system, the analog infrastructure was kept as a backup before being disassembled. Today, the entire digital facility is contained within five rooms.

At the heart of the NOC sit two Omneon Spectrum media servers, each configured with 10 inputs and 20 outputs, providing both main and backup systems for a fully mirrored operation at all times. Each system currently has a capacity of 1800 hours of playout at 10Mb/s. In addition to handling feeds delivered to the group’s stations, the server outputs are used for quality control and monitoring.

Running under the control of Harris ADC automation, the servers allow operators to take advantage of automation control, with a new level of functionality in accessing, navigating and playing out media clips. The servers occupy 2RU and can be upgraded to HD.

The automation system also manages Masstech asset management software and a StorageTek L700 tape library with a capacity of 27,000 hours, 4000 of which are already in use. Harmonic provided encoding, and Snell & Wilox provided the facility’s new distribution, conversion and processing gear, which supports HD and SD signals. On-air material is switched via Videotek switchers, and the main in-house router is a Utah Scientific Utah-400. A Barco processor monitors all return feeds and sends images to both Barco DLP projection and LCD fl at screens.

Engineers turned an old storage room into an equipment room with requisite power and air-conditioning. Other existing technical areas were also revamped, adding the necessary cable infrastructure, patch bays and routers to support digital and HD operations. The entire facility power grid was reworked to provide separate A and B power to every rack, with each source protected by its own 80KVA UPS and 350KVA generator. All of the operational elements of the facility are situated together, rather than separated by racks of equipment.

ION Media experienced a smooth and successful transition from analog operations to an HD-ready facility. Its 12 fully automated network channels can run with minimal intervention. Despite space limitations, the new facility has plenty of room to grow.