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Pittsburgh's WQED-TV becomes first and only HD broadcaster in its tri-state region


Station automation

Submitted by Utah Scientific Design Team WQED-TV: Paul Byers, dir. of eng.; Dick LaSota, eng. staff; Mike Laver, eng. staff; Jerry Cobbs, eng. staff; Don McCall, eng. staff
AZCAR USA: John Humphrey, Greg Abel, Dave Coopey
Texolve: Mike Gianutsos, pres.; Jeff Barnes, sound design Technology at work Alesis 24-track audio recorders
Dolby E and AC-3 processing
Evertz signal generators
Genelec audio monitors (set up for 7.1 surround sound)
Harris graphics system and rasterizer
Miranda master control, graphics automation and processors
Sony switcher and monitors
TANDBERG satellite receivers
Utah Scientific
SC-4 Control System
UTAH-400 routing
Videotek testing equipment
Yamaha audio consoles

Pittsburgh's WQED-TV becomes first and only HD broadcaster in its tri-state region

Pittsburgh's WQED-TV, the first public broadcaster in the nation and home of 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," is now the first and only HD broadcaster and production center in its tri-state region, thanks to a major renovation of master control and editing, as well as all-new audio and video control rooms. WQED has been transmitting in HD since 2002, but prior to this upgrade, the broadcaster was only able to transmit PBS's HD feeds.

The first phase of the renovation, brought online in December 2006, comprised new Miranda master control and editing facilities. In the second phase, completed in April 2007, two dusty rooms in which superannuated equipment had been accumulating for 15 years were gutted and built out - one for HD audio and one for HD video control rooms. The systems integrator for the project was AZCAR.

Tying the new facility together is a Utah Scientific UTAH-400 routing switcher, handling both SD and HD signals for a total of six channels, four on the air and two over IP - a simulcast and a local production called WQED's Neighborhood. The UTAH-400 (144x144 frame loaded 16x16 HD and 48x48 SD), managed by a Utah SC-4 Control System, routes signals to the Miranda master control, which can access any of the crosspoints on the Utah router. The SC-4 Control System represents an upgrade from Utah's SC-3, enabling WQED to take advantage of new features, including enhanced and simplified GUI applications.

Besides being the region's public broadcaster, WQED serves private clients. As a result of the major renovation, WQED can offer a complete HD package, from field shooting to editing to studio production and graphics. The first project to take advantage of the new HD facility was "Jennifer," a series of 27 half-hour shows produced for the local ABC affiliate about making life easier for moms juggling work and family. Deadlines for delivery of that project meant that the build-out of the two new control rooms had to be completed in a mere 90 days.

As a broadcaster, WQED focuses on community-based programming, including a half-hour nightly news magazine and minority affairs program, "Black Horizons." Popular PBS series produced by WQED include "American Soundtrack," "All-American Documentaries" and "America's Home Cooking."

Still in the works is a plan to dismantle an analog control room and convert it to HD. When that is complete, WQED will replace the chassis of its UTAH-400 router with a larger one, a simple operation because Utah equipment is designed to be incrementally expanded with minimal disruption to operations.