Key technology: Sundance Digital FastBreak automation: Digital ListSync, Digital Intelli-Sat, Digital MediaCacher; Thomson Grass Valley Profile servers

Automation Facilities Excellence Awards Runner-up

KPSP-TV Channel 2 set aggressive goals from its very inception, and Sundance Digital has been instrumental in helping to reach them. When the station in Palm Springs, CA, made the decision to go from start-up to full CBS affiliate in less than six months, Sundance, along with systems integrator Digital Systems Technology, based in Irwindale, CA, was able to ensure that it met its aggressive Sept. 2, 2002, deadline to go on-air.

KPSP management knew that while time was a heavy factor, allowances could not be made for reliability or quality because viewers' positive first impressions of the new station would be critical to its early ratings success. As such, the choice of Sundance Digital's FastBreak automation, a robust, scaleable and frame-accurate controller of video servers and other station peripherals, played a key role in ensuring that the station's initial on-air look would be the best it could be. Furthermore, choosing FastBreak early in the planning stages helped the design team flesh out the rest of the station's technical backbone.

This was the first installation of FastBreak Automation with the new Thomson Grass Valley Profile in its Media Area Network (MAN) configuration. The system has two ingest stations — one in master control and the other in the traffic department. It uses one main Air Station and one ListSync, a redundant backup for the primary Air Station, along with an Intelli-Sat feed scheduling and record system. The various elements are connected to a central SQL database, assuring a smooth workflow from ingest to playout.

As currently configured at KPSP, FastBreak controls two Profiles with a total of 12 channels. However, should KPSP find it necessary to expand the system, it can be upgraded by simply adding workstations for ingest and play-to-air.

Also included in the KPSP setup is Sundance's MediaCacher, which interfaces with FastBreak to efficiently and automatically cache content from tape to the video server.

KPSP was a greenfield installation: The building, equipment — and the people — were all new. To ensure that KPSP's staff would be comfortable with the automation system when the time came to go on-air, Sundance Digital engineers went on site for the initial commissioning and operator training long before the station's air date, and even returned for additional brush-ups and last-minute training during the week KPSP went on-air.

With the help of Sundance Digital and Digital Systems Technology, KPSP hit its deadline and is now a full-service CBS affiliate broadcasting a full slate of network programming, including CBS's NFL football package, as well as four hours of daily local news and arts/entertainment programming.

Sundance Digital is a provider of cost-effective, high-performance broadcast automation solutions, based in the metropolitan Dallas area.

Design Team

Sundance Digital:
Robert C. Johnson, president
Eric Harrington, director of engineering

David Gray, chief engineer, KPSP engineering

Digital Systems Technology:
Dwight Crumb, vice president of engineering
Ken Stanton, project manager/logistics
Janet Crumb, project manager/crew
Andre Pappas, CAD designer

Equipment List

Sundance Digital FastBreak automation
Sundance Digital ListSync
Sundance Digital Intelli-Sat
Sundance Digital MediaCacher
Thomson Grass Valley Profile servers

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