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This year marked another notch in the successful launch of digital television as WWSB began broadcasts from its new, all-component digital facility in Sarasota, FL. For the Channel 40, ABC affiliate, this transition was its most technically sophisticated undertaking since WWSB began in 1971 as WXLT.

With over 23,000 square feet, WWSB, along with system integrator A.F. Associates, designed a completely server-based and fully automated installation that exemplifies the concepts of collaborative production and shared storage. WWSB's infrastructure has the Omneon Media Server as the core storage and networking platform, using installed partner applications from Sundance Digital and Pinnacle's Liquid purple. From ingest through editing and transmission, WWSB's single, centralized system has optimized the facility's overall workflow. With the Omneon server as the repository for an all-digital library of high quality content, they have eliminated unnecessary encoding and decoding steps in the production process.

By minimizing the physical handling of content and increasing the infrastructure's reliability, WWSB has reduced their operating costs without sacrificing quality. The Omneon system was chosen in part for its ability to expand incrementally. Channels can be added without the restriction of adding storage, and storage can be added without requiring channels to be added. The system currently has over 120 hours of storage capacity available online.

The server's ability to openly interface with applications and platforms, and its ability to work with all major digital video formats was another critical factor in the decision.

Ingest of syndicated programming is managed by Sundance Digital's Intelli-Sat. Commercials and program playout are managed by Sundance's FastBreak automation system, and news is managed by Sundance's NewsLink, which interfaces with the AP's ENPS system.

Once material has been ingested, multiple users can then simultaneously access and edit news packages and promos. The Omneon system permits direct transfer of DV material from storage to the target application without conversion (encoding and decoding) from the native compressed format. Completed segments are “printed” back to the server's directory and later integrated into sequences using Sundance's NewsLink.

With this new operational paradigm, the physical handling of material has been significantly reduced and the ability to work in a single format has dramatically improved WWSB's efficiency. From an economic standpoint, these two factors were the biggest advantages toward a truly time-efficient operation.

WWSB has outmaneuvered their competitors with an integrated and easily scalable operation.

Design Team

AF Associates:
David Linick, project manager
Bud Pearson, project engineer
Bob Timpone, project engineer
Marc Bressack, vice president of sales Bill Hall, applications manager, Omneon Chris Simpkins, applications developer, Sundance Digital

Equipment List

Omneon Media Server
Sundance Digital automation system
Philips LDK-100 triax cameras/DD-35-3 production switcher
Calrec C2 audio console
Thomson Grass Valley Venus 2001 router for 128×128
Leitch DPS-475 frame syncs, format converters
Tektronix sync generators and scopes
Miranda Oxtel Presmaster master control switcher
Pinnacle Liquid purple edit stations

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