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Ascent Media builds, helps operate Current Network

Current, the new cable and satellite TV network founded by former Vice President Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, is operating from a new all-digital facility in San Francisco. The state-of-the-art facility was jointly designed by Current’s engineering and operations team and Ascent Media Systems & Technology Services. The facility is digitally interconnected to a Current stage in Los Angeles that produces daily programming for the network.

Part of Ascent Media Network Services, the Systems & Technology Services group, handled the integration and implementation aspect of the project. Additionally, AMNS is providing full-time transmission services for the new channel via its Glenbrook earth station facility, located in Stamford, CT.

Support services include digitally compressed uplink and fully protected satellite space segment via the Galaxy XI (C-band) satellite and terrestrial interconnect services, routed from Current's origination facility in San Francisco to Glenbrook. Conditional access support is also provided, including authorization, program definition, affiliate support, IRD service, troubleshooting and database management.

Presently transmitting in standard definition, Ascent Media based Current’s technical facilities around a DV format infrastructure capable of easily upgrading to HD playout. The broadcast center houses a full-scale satellite downlink antenna farm, in addition to master control, ingest, production and audio control rooms, post-production suites, one audio finish and three video finish rooms and an insert stage. The network uses Digidesign’s Pro Tools for audio and Final Cut Pro for video editing. The entire facility is server-based, only using VTRs for media that is acquired on tape.

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