FCS launch advanced as FOX nears completion of two control rooms

FOX engineers and technicians working on the build-out of their new Houston Operations Center, installing a Thomson Grass Valley brand 2100 master control switcher, a Pinnacle Systems 1600 file server and a Harris automation system.

FOX Networks Group, which previously announced a late fall roll out of three re-branded sports channels, will complete technical preparations at its Houston operations center in time to launch FOX College Sports (FCS) Pacific, FSC Central and FSC Atlantic for the 2004 college football season.

To hit its new Sept. 4 target, the network is building out two control rooms. Currently, FOX engineers and technicians are continuing their work on the build-out, installing a Thomson brand Grass Valley 2100 master control switcher, a Pinnacle System 1600 file server and a Harris automation system.

Material stored on the Pinnacle file server will be available for playout across networks originating from the Houston operations center, while material that’s specifically intended for an FCS channel will playback from an Odetics cart system equipped with Sony Betacam SX machines.

When complete, the rooms will be used to control the presentation of college athletics originating as feeds from FOX’s regional sports networks. In Houston's center, regional commercials and promos will be stripped from incoming regional game feeds and replaced with network-specific commercial inventory. A separate traffic system is responsible for managing the inventory. Advancing the launch of the FCS channels gives FOX the opportunity to provide coverage of the 2004-05 college football season, rather than beginning coverage on its FCS channels at mid-season.

Separately, the network has announced that high definition, video on demand and interactive TV are in the works for the three FCS channels.

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