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American Forces Network deploys Harris communications system

Harris has helped the American Forces Network Broadcast Center (AFN) migrate to HD production with the installation of a Harris broadcast communications system. The ONE system at the Defense Media Center in Riverside, CA, includes an HD router, automation system, video server, core processing and asset management products. In addition, hundreds of new custom user interface pages were designed to meet the specific requirements of the AFN workflow, improve control efficiency and effectively monitor hardware failures across the network.

AFN delivers news, information and entertainment to almost 1 million troops worldwide outside of the United States.

While the AFN has used server technology since 1995, the goal of the new project was to improve the network’s existing ingest and on-air video server capability, secure backup redundancy, and develop the ability to receive and distribute programming as digital files. They also 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 Harris system at the AFN Broadcast Center employs 18 NEXIO AMP servers, which enable it to prepare up to 12 SD programs daily for air and playout. Two Harris/Isilon Systems NXIQ clustered storage silos provide robust, reliable nearline 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, mission-critical tasks taking place throughout the broadcast workflow and enables AFN to maximize the value of its digital assets.

CCS Navigator software enables AFN to streamline its day-to-day 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 using a familiar, intuitive application, and drag and drop parameters and alarms from multiple devices to easily build virtual device control and monitoring surfaces.