Excellence Awards TSG Viacom

Category Network automation Submitted by The Systems Group Design team

Viacom: Lionel
Hightower, VP eng.; Mike McMakin, dir.,
proj. management; Tom Fumante, dir., eng. TSG: Scott G. Griffon, proj. dir.; Bob Sharp,
proj. mgr.; John Zulick,sr. systems eng.; Chris
Butler, integration
supervisor; Darwin
Clermont, manufacturing
mgr.; Rich Citelli, test eng.

Technology at work Evertz
MVP multiview
5600MSC & ACO
reference headend
7700 and 500 series
modular equipment
Grass Valley
Trinix routing
Venus routing
Jupiter routing
Harris ADC-100 Air
Imagestore SD and HD
Presmaster automation
NEC 61in plasma screens
Norpak VBI processing
Omneon Spectrum
Pinnacle MediaStream

Viacom's Supersuites allow rapid deployment of additional networks

Viacom Networks has maintained its Network Operations Center (NOC) in Hauppauge, NY, for more than 20 years. As the group conceived and launched new networks, the technologies used were chosen on an as needed basis.

In the summer of 2005, to accommodate a number of expected network launches, Viacom engineering conceived the Supersuite concept. The idea was to provide a common user-friendly design to accommodate all network requirements, allowing for the rapid launch of a new network within six to eight weeks of the request from operations. The new design would support a flexible, standardized and interchangeable operating paradigm so that any operator could command any channel from any workstation under a highly automated control system.

Having worked together on other critical projects, Viacom turned to The Systems Group to detail the concepts and bring the plan to life in a short four-month project cycle timed to launch the first four networks. Supersuite supports 16 SD channels and four HD channels under the control of five monitoring positions, all under the watchful eye of a single supervisor in the NOC control room.

The Supersuite uses a robust technical core, consisting of Harris ADC automation, Grass Valley routing (Venus/Trinix matrices under Jupiter control), Evertz 500 and 7000 series modular products and MVP multi-image processing, via NEC 61in plasma screens on custom mounts provided by Forecast Consoles. Four-channel audio is supported for each SD channel, with 5.1 capability in place for the HD channels.

The monitoring system includes several custom scripts to simplify and automate the configuration and setup time of a network that may be switched via an extensive KVM to another operator position.

Channel content is delivered via Omneon Spectrum servers (long form) and Pinnacle MediaStream servers (commercial spots) via Miranda Imagestore and Presmaster combination providing all of the branding required for each network application.

Supersuite has been a successful concept that allows Viacom the benefit of rapid deployment of additional networks under a fixed cost model that will support future growth of the broadcaster.