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KCRG deploys file-based platform

KCRG-TV9, the Cedar Rapids Television-owned ABC affiliate in Cedar Rapids, IA, is deploying a file-based platform based on a full complement of Grass Valley technologies, which, when complete, will make the station one of the first in its market to record and play back syndicated programming and commercial spots automatically in HD.

The move follows a number of firsts for the independently owned and operated station, such as being one of the first to broadcast HD programs in 2003 and operating the state’s first news helicopter.

The new playback system, scheduled to be fully operational in September, will be transferred into a new HD facility that KCRG is currently designing and is due for completion next year. It includes a number of Grass Valley technologies and systems that facilitate automated file handling and conversion as well as ensuring 24/7 broadcast operations. The system will allow KCRG to develop and implement multielement commercial logs and electronically insert content into them on a daily basis.

The engineering staff is now installing a new Grass Valley Maestro SD/HD branding and master control system, which will work in tandem with an automation system to handle two 720p HD program streams. There are also two Grass Valley K2 SD/HD media servers for commercials and syndicated programming playback. Grass Valley’s new K2 Capture Service software will also be used to automatically ingest commercials and programs coming from the DG/Pathfire service.

A Grass Valley Concerto Series HD router with Encore facility control software will serve as the heart of the station’s all-digital infrastructure and be used to distribute and manage the hundreds of files that come into the station on a daily basis, while Grass Valley GeckoFlex signal conversion modules, managed by a Newton Ethernet-based modular control system, will be used to convert files as well as handle SD to HD up/downconversions.

A Grass Valley NetProcessor system will be used with the Pearl ATSC-PSIP system to generate and display dynamic PSIP tables of the station’s on-air programs. The Grass Valley Amethyst Redundancy Switcher will be used to protect against on-air system failure by automatically switching to a backup of the MPEG-2 ATSC digital transport stream in the event of a problem.

In addition to its main over-the-air HD channel, KCRG also broadcasts an SD digital subchannel called Local 9.2, which also will be supported by the new Grass Valley technology. The channel includes a wheel of local news, weather and other features on part of the screen. The remainder of the screen has a news ticker, current weather conditions, rotating weather images and program listings.