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LDS Conference Center

LDS Conference Center

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has a history of embracing media to communicate its message to its members and the community, with its first radio broadcast in 1922 and first video satellite broadcast in 1972. The LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City was built in 2000 with an HD broadcast and production facility to support the church’s media and worldwide broadcast efforts. With the advances in broadcast technology in the last decade, the LDS staff determined it was time to update its master control facility and satellite headend equipment. Because the church delivers its messages in as many as 96 different languages worldwide, with some 140 channels of satellite audio, the complexities of such an operation required strong consideration of efficiency and accuracy in both monitoring and control as well as the optimization of bandwidth in
transmission systems.

The newly updated facility meets the requirements with a new master control area with modern monitoring tools and a revamped satellite headend. This update enables greater broadcast accuracy with increased transmission quality and capability while reducing both capital and operational expenses.

After more than a year of analysis and review, plans were developed for the update based on the most demanding criteria that included long-range goals and maintaining current services. Diversified Systems was engaged for the design and integration of the master control phase of the project. The new master control design incorporates a completely new physical layout to improve operator ergonomics. Video monitoring is accomplished with Evertz VIP multi-image display processors, including newly incorporated technology to monitor up to 192 mono audio channels within the VIP system. Existing core systems, including the large-scale NVISION audio router and Omneon Spectrum media server, were further automated with newly developed software by NVerzion.

As the master control room was rebuilt, the LDS team selected Harmonic as the vendor for the new MPEG encoders. The new satellite headend uses Harmonic Electra 8000 universal broadcast encoders, which support HD/SD and MPEG-2/AVC, and ProStream 1000 processors for contribution and backhaul feeds. This combination of Harmonic equipment provides an open, flexible and cost-effective system for streamlined program distribution, with capability to transition to HD distribution (from MPEG-2 to AVC) and selective zone control that allows format-specific distribution by zone. The same holds true with the system’s extensive language support.

The new system increases flexibility and reduces costs in a number of ways. Operational expenses are lowered with automation of multichannel monitoring that simplifies the need for monitoring by on-site personnel, while the Harmonic compression and stream-processing systems improve bandwidth efficiency. As a result, the new LDS facility can broadcast more content in higher quality to more people around the world.

  • New studio or RF technology — station
    Submitted by HarmonicDesign teamChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Sean McFarland, chief eng.; Del Clawson, satellite eng.; Charles Criddle, satellite eng.; David Gabbitas, master control eng.; David Larsen, satellite eng. mgr.
    Diversified Systems: Greg Doyle, sr. eng.; TJ Kortlever, eng.
    Harmonic: Joel Wilhite, solutions mgr.; Jeff Pockey, national acct. mgr.Technology at workEvertz: VIPA-DUO multi-image processor
    Harmonic: Electra 8000 universal encoder, NMX Digital Service Manager, ProStream 1000 stream-processing platform
    NVerzion: Automation
    Omneon: Spectrum media server

© 2010 Penton Media, Inc.