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KTVK-TV’s station automation solution

KTVK-TV’s station
automation solution

In late 2003, Belo media company embarked on a plan to centralize the master control operations of its four Arizona stations and their DTV counterparts from KTVK-TV’s remodeled Phoenix facility.

Because the plant’s aging cart machine was close to retirement, KTVK chose to start centralcasting and installed an automation and video server large enough to run all four stations.

The solution is based around a Sundance Digital Titan multichannel automation system that operates four SD channels and four HD channels. Belo chose the system for its ability to manage Belo’s widespread geographic sites.

This enabled the organization to add multicasting capabilities or additional zones of control as needed in the future. The company customized the system to allow for alternate logs for rain delays and to enable it to insert pitcher relief breaks for live programming and sports shows. Titan controls a Thomson Grass Valley Profile 3500 Open SAN system that was designed to store SD and HD material and can upconvert and downconvert in real time. All receivers for incoming feeds, the station’s routing switcher and an RF router fall under Titan as well. The station can transition to HD when needed. The facility went from a totally analog and tape-based operation running on rudimentary automation, to a fully digital automated, server-based system running four stations.

Even before planning began on the centralcasting project, the decision was made to produce a newscast for sister station KMSB-TV using the KTVK newsroom. To do this, fiber was leased to connect the two facilities. The centralcasting model made the fiber costs much more palatable.

The team introduced video-over-IP technology to send nine streams of SD video and two SMPTE 310 streams from the Phoenix location to Tucson. Seven SD streams for live video and editing were returned over multiple duplex fiber paths furnished by COX. Because Tucson produces its own local programming and commercials, a small Profile and Sundance Media Prep station were installed in that location. A Gateway transfers the video files to Phoenix for playout.

The Tucson station also has the ability to take control of its channels through a Titan Air Control station. The facility was originally designed to house two TV stations and two radio stations, so space was sufficient for the master control room expansion. During construction, KTVK was able to parallel the two operations so the operators moved from one to the other. The organization now produces twice as much with a smaller team in Phoenix and no MC operators in Tucson.

Design Team
Craig Harper, Reed Wilson and Wayne Kube

Jim Cole and Mike Lopez

Lou Medran

Thomson Grass Valley:
Richard Brown and Sam Peterson

Sundance Digital:
Robert Johnson, Eric Harrington, Brij Singh and Sean Pendleton
Equipment List
Sundance Titan automation
Thomson Grass Valley: 3500 XP Profile, Redundant Profile Open SAN system, M2100 MC switchers
Ciprico RAID chassis
San Valley 2000 Gateways
Cisco: 4000 series switch, 7800 series router
TANDBERG: E5710 encoders, TT6120 / TT1260 decoders
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