As part of an ongoing upgrade of its broadcast facilities in Los Angeles, FOX Broadcasting has installed numerous Spectrum ChannelPort playout servers from Harmonic to handle branding, commercial insertion and other activities in a totally automated fashion. A total of 14 channels originate from the FOX network broadcast center and all have now made the shift to file-based playout with integrated master control capabilities. This streamlined workflow includes the new FOX Sports 1 Network, which launched on Aug. 17.
Harmonic said the dual DVE and eight-layer integrated branding capabilities offered by ChannelPort makes it easy for FOX to achieve an on-screen look for sports programming that is costly to achieve with traditional master control equipment. By placing both the main program and the commercial content on the same screen, a double-box effect allows FOX to go to a commercial break without leaving the action. The commercial runs in a large box while the game or other live program runs in a smaller box in the upper corner of the screen, with a themed background plate that matches the content of the commercial.
The Harmonic ChannelPort server supports up to four channels per rack unit (with low power consumption). This deployment includes Spectrum MediaDeck 7000 playout servers equipped with dozens of ChannelPort modules, redundant Harmonic MediaGrid shared storage systems, and MediaCenter server controllers with integrated storage that together provide dozens of ingest channels. A redundant Media Application Server is also integrated with the existing automation system at FOX to provide media asset management capabilities for the ChannelPort deployment.
ChannelPort speeds the cost-effective deployment of new SD and HD television channels by integrating branding and master control switching with clip playback on the Spectrum media server platform. The ChannelPort also allows the keying of multilayer graphics and dynamic text over playback or live video to produce rich on-air looks.