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Turner Entertainment Networks

Turner Entertainment Network's 193,000-square-foot facility — part of the Turner Broadcasting System — handles 19 cable networks (channels) for both the U.S. domestic and Latin and South American markets, and has additional infrastructure capacity for well over 60 more. These new channels could include digital video, wideband high definition, stereo audio and Internet data.

Prior to this new facility, there was no router that could reliably handle this level of sophistication. So, Turner Entertainment Network (TEN) turned to a Thomson Grass Valley team to help them co-engineer a router that could handle the channels. This resulted in the Trinix digital video routing switcher and a faster version of the Jupiter facility control system.

The unique routing infrastructure at TEN enables deterministic switching, the ability to switch a large number of crosspoints quickly and frame-accurately, and to monitor the networks with Thomson Grass Valley NetCentral software, which supports SNMP and HTTP protocols. The key to the success of the TEN facility is a dual-path, fully redundant routing control infrastructure. This infrastructure, together with the front-accessible hot-swap modules for all active components in the Trinix routing switcher, allows TEN engineers to easily maintain the system in the unlikely event of component failure, providing a high level of security. Two automation systems, two switchers, two servers and two duplicate fiber-optic paths to the teleport support each of TEN's current 19 channels.

As further security against system failure, TEN has organized its 19 channels into four “pods” that consist of several of their entertainment networks grouped together, each with a larger network as the “anchor tenant.” These pods are generally based on a programming genre. Each pod includes a 128×128 Trinix routing switcher and two Pinnacle MediaStream 900 server systems, and contains four master control rooms. The pods are purposely isolated from each other, so that a problem with a feed in one will not affect networks in any other.

The new serial digital plant also features a media operations center that serves as a common area for all of Turner's entertainment networks. It houses dozens of VTRs and a huge, 22TB EMC redundant central cache with an additional 22TB of redundant storage in two Asaca DVD Jukeboxes.

To handle its hundreds of video feeds, TEN has installed nine Trinix routers, eight configured at 128×128, and one at 256×256. While most audio is embedded with the video signals, a number of Venus routing switchers are deployed for separate audio signals.

The Trinix routing switcher is designed to support both SD and HD operations within the same frame, which was another requirement from TEN to ensure future expansion and to make the most of their significant investment in new technology. This expandability includes the possibility to build out 30 control rooms, with some rooms (like those in TEN's international pod) handling four channels each. By September of next year, all 19 channels will be operating out of the new building.

Design Team

TEN Network Operations Group
TEN Engineering Project Group
Turner Properties
KPS Architects
Turner Construction Company
TEN Migration Engineering Group

Michael Wright, national project development director
Joe Fiscina, senior project manager

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