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AFN Moves Toward HD With Harris ONE

The American Forces Network Broadcast Center is getting HD-ready with a major installation by Harris Corp.

The Harris ONE system at AFN (at the Defense Media Center in Riverside, Calif.) includes routing, automation, video server, core processing and asset management products that enable a smooth upgrade to high-definition video.

AFN delivers news, information and entertainment to almost one million troops worldwide outside of the United States.

“AFN has been utilizing video server technology since 1995,” said Jerry Shorter, chief of broadcast engineering for AFN. “We wanted to improve our legacy ingest and on-air video server capability, backup redundancy, and move toward receipt and delivery of all programming in digital format. Additionally, we wanted to advance from just receiving HD to providing a technical path of broadcasting it to troops globally.”

Designed by systems integrator Snader and Associates, the system uses 18 Nexio AMP servers, which enable AFN to prepare for air and play out up to 12 standard-definition programs daily. Two Harris/Isilon Systems NXIQ clustered storage silos reliable near-line storage for AFN content.

To maximize speed and consistency in the quality assurance process, the Videotek QuiC media analysis server analyzes compressed digital content during ingest and enables problems to be corrected on the fly with no operator intervention. Invenio digital asset management oversees concurrent tasks taking place throughout the broadcast workflow. CCS Navigator software enables AFN to streamline its day-to-day operational workflow by providing centralized, real-time control and monitoring of the entire broadcast system—including third-party products such as Dell Power Edge servers. With Navigator, operators can take control of any SNMP-enabled device on the network.

In response to AFN-BC Engineering's performance work statement, hundreds of new custom user interface pages were designed to meet the specific requirements of the AFN workflow, improve control efficiency and monitor hardware failures across the network.

“Because maintaining full operational control of a network is critical to today’s multichannel broadcasters, this aspect of the new AFN system was key in terms of size and scope and the overall work that was put into this project,” said Lucius Stone, director of Government Solutions at Harris Broadcast Communications. “Harris customized operator screens for audio and video processing, software routing control panels and more than 300 user interface pages for the AFN installation, which now represents one of our largest, single-site custom user interface implementations.”

AFN serves nearly 1 million American service men and women, Department of Defense civilians and their families overseas, stationed at bases in 175 countries and aboard 140 U.S. Navy ships.