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WDSE-TV, the PBS affiliate in Duluth, MN, and Heartland Video Systems started planning the rebuild of the WDSE master control room in early 2008. At that time, WDSE’s digital broadcast stream consisted of an HD rebroadcast from PBS; an SD rebroadcast of PBS Create, an SD channel that also fed the analog transmitter; and the MN Channel, a service consisting of Minnesota government sessions and local series programming.

The primary goal of the project was to provide a fully functional master control switcher for all four services as well as to make all of WDSE’s content available on all services.

The primary design departure from the traditional HD/multiple SD system is that all content is ingested into the server in 1080i, switched through all the master control channels as 1080i and then cross- or downconverted just prior to encoding and transmission using Miranda XVP-1801 cards. While it might have been expected that this approach would have increased the cost of the project, it actually reduced the overall cost. Because a majority of the equipment already in the facility allowed for the output format to be set as HD regardless of the source material, the need for format conversion was greatly reduced. The Bitlink IRDs for PBS were all able to be reconfigured at no cost, and the TANDBERG RX1290 receivers were licensed for upconversion. The remainder of the SD equipment uses a small pool of AJA FS1s for upconversion. This concept also provided a natural level of redundancy for bypass switching because everything is in one format.

The existing Omneon server was upgraded with new HD media ports and a modest amount of additional storage capacity. NVerzion’s TeraStore provided 72TB of nearline storage to handle all the HD content. An Omneon ProBrowse proxy server was included in the system to allow remote monitoring of content, and Utah Scientific’s MC-400 switchers are fully SD/HD configurable and were set up to switch in HD.

A challenging aspect of the project was the requirement to build the new master control room in the same physical space and not interfere with daily operations. Two edit suites adjoining the existing master control room were combined to provide space for the new equipment room. The new equipment was installed and made operational, and the master control room was temporarily moved to an unoccupied office down the hall. Utah Scientific’s MC-2020 master control console and the Miranda Kaleido-X multi-image processor made it possible to set up a temporary master control without moving much equipment. When the master control room was moved back into its permanent home, the NVerzion automation system was put online, automating all switching, recording and server playout.

All of WDSE’s local programming is now being done in HD. The Snell Kahuna allowed for reconfiguration of its output to feed HD to the WDSE plant. At the input side, the Kahuna can accept SD or HD sources and transition between the two.

  • New studio technology — HD
    Submitted by Heartland Video SystemsDesign teamHVS: Dennis Klas, pres./design eng.; Chad Olig, sys. eng./proj. mgr.
    NVerzion: Reed Haslam, dir. sales; Larry Tsosie, sales/proj. mgr.; Lynn Williams, eng. proj. mgr.
    Omneon: Ben Frost, sys. eng.; Ron Schultz, field service eng.; James Skupien, regional sales mgr.
    WDSE: Jay Conley, station eng; Rex Greenwell, dir. eng./op.; Alroy Kessler, station eng.Technology at workAJA: Up/downconversion
    Blackbox: KVM switch
    Ensemble Designs: Video conversion, reference signaling
    Middle Atlantic: Equipment racks, consoles
    Miranda: Kaleido-X multi-image display, video/audio processing, JAZZ upconversion, MPEG decoder/processors, Vertigo XG graphics
    NVerzion: Automation, nearline storage
    Omneon: Servers, ProBrowse proxy server
    Snell and Wilcox: Kahuna production switcher
    TANDBERG: Encoding system
    Tektronix: Video monitoring/timing
    TV Logic: Video monitoring
    Utah Scientific: Routing switcher, MC-400 master control switcher, channel branding

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