Evertz MVP monitors KQED-TV

Evertz’s MVP has 15 agnostic slots in a 6RU, front-access enclosure. It is a versatile multi-input signal monitoring and display solution.

KQED-TV serves the San Francisco Bay area and is the third largest PBS affiliate. The station has followed a steady path toward DTV beginning with the launch of its digital television 30 channel in 2000. Since then, the facility has migrated to a fully digital multichannel system that transmits four simultaneous SD channels at any time or one HD plus one SD stream during prime time.

The migration to multichannel was part of the facility’s complete analog-to-digital upgrade, which features a tapeless environment with servers and other automation. To monitor the facility’s multiple broadcast signals, satellite and ingest reach, KQED selected an Evertz MVP multi-image display and monitoring system.

In addition to monitoring video, the display system provides monitoring for closed captioning, analog and AES audio, as well as user-configurable analog and digital clocks for timing.

The system is installed in the digital master control room and two ingest stations, with five processors shared between the three rooms. Three processors are in master control, and one is at each ingest station. Digital master control monitors a variety of SD and HD signals on a full wall of Christie 60-inch cubes, including cable and off-air feeds, as well as satellite recordings and automation playlists. Meanwhile, ingest operators use MVP’s multi-image display on Clarity 42-inch LCD screens to monitor the quality of incoming synchronized satellite feeds, ingested archival material and QC competence playbacks. Audio-level monitoring is important to the ingest process, while in master control it’s only necessary to ensure the presence of audio.

The station also has purchased a second monitoring system, which is fed by multiple aux buses from the production switcher. Each processor provides single-card multiple outputs for both SD and HD signals. Unlike the on-air encoder, which switches between SD and HD formats, the MVP accepts feeds of both formats, plus composite analog, on the same BNC when ingest signals change between SD and HD. While configurations can be altered easily, there hasn’t been much need to alter the image displays. Changes to window size, aspect ratio (4:3 to 16:9 and vice versa), HD/SD integration, luminosity and other display aspects are made through a software interface and PC. The multi-image display layout is set up through templates. Preset selection and an intuitive drag-and-drop application allow the user to make changes and save them in the template.

The Evertz MVP multi-image display and monitoring system is used to monitor the facility’s numerous broadcast signals, satellite feeds and ingest applications.

Evertz enhanced its display with VistaLINK PRO, an SNMP monitoring and configuration tool that provides integrated signal monitoring and an open alarming interface to pinpoint signal problems. While some systems provide two to four simultaneous monitoring parameters for a single input, the MVP can provide extensive fault monitoring for up to 72 unique inputs per display. The system can present fault detection in in numerous ways, including user-configurable on-screen alerts and audible alarms.

The multichannel environment has streamlined station operations. The automation is in control of switching because a single operator cannot handle switching all channels and breaks. One digital master control operator and one or two ingest operators monitor the displays at all times for signal health.

MVP provides a return on investment through the elimination of unnecessary system components, such as master control under-monitor displays. MVP accepts program information from the server and displays clip numbers, counts up- and down time and other playlist information. The display system decodes monitored signals for closed captions, so a separate decoder is not needed.

KQED will expand MVP within the next year to replace CRTs in the production control room, where it will add HD cameras and other HD equipment. While the production control room will be used as a separate feed from master control and ingest, the current system frames can be used and power supplies will keep expansion product costs to a minimum. The frames have swappable modules, so it’s possible to replace a current single-output card with a dual-output card. This product design also addresses simple maintenance issues. Old modules can be easily replaced, and the entire system runs on redundant power supplies. Evertz’s MVP is a future-proofed monitoring system with features that should fulfill KQED’s monitoring requirements for a long time.

Lee Young is manager of engineering facilities for KQED-TV.