KPSP's new Palm Springs facility

For the first time in 35 years, the Palm Springs market has become home to a new television station. KPSP-TV, locally owned by Desert Television, is the first CBS affiliate local to the market. The new, multi-million-dollar facility successfully integrates standard- and high-definition capabilities and a wide array of new broadcast and production equipment. The station is also a multichannel environment set up to handle four standard-definition streams. Digital System Technology (DST), a systems integration firm based in Irwindale, CA, provided a full range of integration services.

The master control room is separated into an ingest area and an air feed section. From the latter, KPSP continually feeds either a true HD feed from CBS or its own upconverted programming.

The station owners also hired Weyercliff Century, a consulting and engineering firm based in Cathedral City, CA, just before contracting with DST, to help with the equipment-selection process.

Master control Much of the equipment within the station is HD-ready but operating at standard definition. The master control room features about 20 racks of equipment and is divided into two segments: an ingest area and an air-feed section.

The air-feed portion features Sundance automation for equipment control, with twin Thomson Grass Valley Profile 1100 series servers for play-to-air. This is set up as a storage area network (SAN) so everything on the main server is backed up thoroughly. The automation system enlists a list-sync feature, which rolls both the main and backup simultaneously. If one unit fails, the push of a button switches to the second.

A Thomson Grass Valley M2100 switcher serves as the main master control switcher and is controlled through the automation system. A manually operated Leitch 16x1 switcher serves as backup to the M2100 in case of failure. Zandar multi-viewers are fed into 50-inch Panasonic plasma display, which allows them to dynamically change the control room monitoring.

The signal display provides the same color temperature for each image. The multi-viewer provides 18 images to the screen as well as trouble alarms and, eventually, will provide audio monitoring. Modules can be inserted into several open slots for high-definition monitoring. A Pinnacle HD Deko 500 CG and Thunder still store serve graphics production.

A sliding glass door separates the air-feed portion of master control from the ingest section. Several racks with Panasonic and Sony VTRs comprise the interformat part of the ingest area. DVCPRO50 and other machines convert commercials and other short-form programs before the servers ingest them. Nearby, a Sundance IntelliSat system connected to automation controls the satellite receivers for recording incoming program feeds.

Integration of standard- and high-definition capabilities has become easier as networks have made the breaks within programming coincide between the two realms. CBS feeds a variety of high-definition programming, mainly during prime time and live sporting events. A 12x2 high-definition Evertz switcher communicates with the automation system, which switches to true HD programming when available from the network. When not available, the station feeds an upconverted version of its standard-definition programming using a Snell & Wilcox 5200 upconverter. Thus, the station is continually feeding either a true HD feed from CBS or its own upconverted programming.

The Thomson Grass Valley Kalypso production switcher in KPSP’s production room was chosen for its upgrade path and ability to accept high-definition frames.

To lower costs, the Evertz switcher provides two feeds: One output feeds the program into a high-definition downstream logo generator and out to the local cable company, while the other output provides monitoring for incoming CBS feeds. The high-definition programming that enters the building is frame-synced by Snell & Wilcox IQ Modular equipment and fed into the switcher. The station plans to set aside room to install an HD M2100 when feasible. At that point, the Evertz switcher will become the backup.


The production portions of the facility are more focused on digital standard-definition equipment. A Thomson Grass Valley NewsQPro interface between NewsEdit nonlinear editors and Profile servers creates a tapeless environment for news production. Editors edit stories on the nonlinear editors before the stories transfer to the server as files. An AP newsroom system automates scripts. The integrator secured two terrestrial ENG trucks through manufacturer ENG Mobile for the station’s field coverage.

To assist in news production, all of the newsroom’s hardware and software communicates through MOS and ActiveX protocols. This allows the production crew to cost-effectively produce a newscast with a staff of six, without automation, while achieving a clean, high-end look.

A Pinnacle FXDeko CG and Thunder still store serve graphics creation. The integrator chose a Thomson Grass Valley Kalypso production switcher for its upgrade path and ability to accept high-definition frames. This, along with four Thomson Grass Valley LDK 6000 high-definition cameras, represents the depth of the HD-ready equipment in production. The station can add high-definition recorders for a full high-definition shoot. Four nearby promotional edit bays feature FinalCutPro nonlinear editors running on Apple G4 computers, which the station can upgrade for high-definition productions.

An audio control room also sits nearby to support production control. Because space was particularly tight within this area, the integrator employed a truck-style installation. A Studer 928 audio console serves as the centerpiece of this room and is partially sunk into the console. Wiring runs underneath the board. The equipment racks in the audio room feature unique patchbay connections. The patchbays are harnessed against the wall and connected to sources on the bottom half of the racks to fix the connections. The top half of the equipment racks hinge open for access to any audio support equipment on the rack’s upper half.

The core

The station’s central area houses all of the electronics and core equipment. This area provides feeds to the local cable company and low-power transmitter, and steers the satellite antenna. As of today, only 70 percent of the space in the central core area is occupied, which means there is much room for expansion. The first three racks in the core area are empty. This is the space where the station would install equipment for channels 2, 3 and 4 for a multichannel system. Much of the equipment within the core area is HD-ready. A 128x128 embedded SDI Thomson Trinix 2000 router with Jupiter control is the heart of the station’s equipment, connecting to nearly every source in the building. An Encore interface to the M2100 and Kalypso switchers provides communication between the switchers and the Jupiter control.

The news set at KPSP features Thomson Grass Valley LDK 6000 high-definition cameras. One of the station’s biggest challenges was producing a small-market newscast with a big-budget look.

Snell & Wilcox IQ Modular equipment handles the majority of the processing and distribution chores throughout the facility. The modules are fitted into IQ enclosures that feature a number of additional slots for future upgrades. The tasks these modules perform include encoding, decoding, aspect-ratio conversion, audio and video distribution, analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion, audio delay, audio embedding and de-embedding and, finally, synchronization. An Ethernet connection ties together all IQ frames for error reporting.

The station can upgrade the Snell & Wilcox equipment to HD by adding modules. Some high-definition modules for frame synchronization currently operate within the enclosures next to standard-definition modules. Other high-definition backbone equipment includes Tektronix TG700 sync generators.

Icing on the cake

One final setup features a total of seven Hitachi digital broadcast cameras for bumper shots, three of which feature Eagle pan-and-tilt robotics. Four of the cameras are located within the newsroom and production control. One camera is attached to the roof and robotically controlled from production control, providing a clear shot of freeway traffic. The second outdoor camera is a Hitachi HV-D30 positioned at the top of a tram that reaches altitudes of 6000 to 7000 feet and is robotically controlled over a microwave link. This provides a view of snow-capped mountains overlooking the desert valley. The third robotic camera is located in the newsroom for stand-ups.

Dwight Crumb is vice president of engineering at Digital System Technology.

Design TeamDST:Dwight Crumb, design engineerJanet Crumb, installation managerBill Hodson, Simon Sheperd and Patrick Daly, installationDonna Gramlich, director of purchasingChris Cuitino, purchasingWeyercliff Century:KPSP:Bob Hoffman, senior broadcast consultantDavid Gray, chief engineerEquipment listSundance FastBreak automationThomson Grass Valley:Trinix and Jupiter router controlNewsQPro interfaceNewsEdit nonlinear editorsM2100 master control switcherKalypso production switcherLDK 6000 HD camerasSnell & Wilcox IQ Modular equipmentEvertz 12x2 HD switcherLeitch:16x1 analog QC switcherDPS575 frame synchronizersPinnacle:FX Deko and HD Deko CGsZandar virtual monitor wallCanon HD and SD lensesPanasonic VTRs and monitorsIkegami video monitorsWard-Beck audio monitorsTektronix test and measurementHitachi HV-D30, HDV15 and JU-Z2 robotic cameras

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