Excellence Awards Utah WTAP

Category New studio technology — station Submitted by AZCAR/Utah Scientific Design teamWTAP-TV: Kevin Buskirk, broadcast eng.; Joseph
Dumas, former chief eng.; Larry White, production mgr.; Roger Sheppard, gen. mgr.
Ohodnicki, project mgr.; Hakim Kharbut, lead eng.; Jack Ormond, sr. systems eng.; Mike Walter, sr. systems eng.; Steven Wang, systems eng.; Doug Waldron, site
supervisor Technology at work Clear-Com Eclipse-32
intercom matrix
Evertz VIP 4 multi-image
processor and VIP 12
multi-image processor
Omneon Spectrum server
Ross Video SYNERGY
2.5 MD switcher
SqueezeMAX digital
video effects system
TANDBERG Television
5780 HD encoders
5720 SD encoders
MX5000 multiplexer
Utah Scientific
UTAH-400 SD/HD router
SD/HD MC-2020
master control switchers
Wheatstone G6 audio

WTAP-TV makes the jump to multichannel digital broadcasting with a facility upgrade

On April 1, 2006, WTAP-TV, the Gray Television NBC affiliate in Parkersburg, WV, went from broadcasting a single NTSC television channel to broadcasting an additional four digital channels — NBC, NBC HD, FOX and UPN. It was a transformation that required a complete overhaul of its facilities. Not only did it have to replace most of the 1970sera broadcast equipment with new state-of-the-art digital gear, but also it had to rebuild the station from the ground up. WTAP’s biggest challenge was that it all had to be done in just four months.

The station enlisted the help of AZCAR for the design, integration and equipment procurement. An outdated electrical system had to be replaced with all new wiring and advanced surge protection. The one large space that housed both master control and the central equipment room had to be expanded and then divided to provide a discrete master control operation center, which would be essential when running multiple channels from the one facility.

The studio production control room was enlarged from 275sq ft to 728sq ft. A Ross Synergy 2.5 multidefinition switcher and Evertz multi-image displays were installed in the production control room, along with a Wheatstone G6 audio console. The core infrastructure that WTAP and AZCAR chose was built around a UTAH-400 routing switcher and an MC-2020 HD/SD master control switcher from Utah Scientific. An Omneon Spectrum server with 19 SD and HD I/O ports was specified with 464 hours of storage. The server is able to accommodate multiple format playback. If operators are playing out one program in HD, they can simultaneously play out the same episode in HD, with no need for up- or downconversion. The UTAH-400 router was selected because it could handle all the HD and SD formats that would be used, including 720p for both FOX and NBC HD signals, and a 480p SD signal for MyNetworkTV (which replaced UPN in September).

All signals within the facility are routed through the switcher, including the playout of programming from the server, which goes to air via Utah Scientific MC-2020 HD/SD master control switchers. The four master control switchers provide the station with a full range of mixing and keying functionality and drive all the switching and routing functions within the station’s master control room. Each master control unit features two keyers per channel, which allow for a fl exible approach to clean-feed and regional-feed applications. The switchers also provide the station with full audio mixing capabilities using embedded audio, ensuring timing between video and audio will always be in-sync.