Memphis Public Broadcasting Goes HD with Grass Valley

PBS member station WKNO recently completed a comprehesive HD upgrade to their Memphis, Tenn. studios with Grass Valley technology. The studios -- measuring 40x40 and 60x40 -- are housed in the WKNO Digital Media Center, a brand new 44,000 square foot building also home to the WKNO offices and digital FM station.

The upgrade consisted of four LDK cameras and a Kayak switcher, and is the result of a design, fundraising and construction process spanning ten years. According to the WKNO Web site, construction of the center was completed debt-free.

WKNO’s cameras are the single-format, LDK 4000 Elite HD 1080i model, equipped with three 9.2-million pixel HD-DPM+ CCDs, native 14-bit digital signal processing and a switchable operating frequency running between 50 and 59.94 Hz. The LDK is available with a 720p or 1080i resolution camera head, optional 8.4-inch HD LCD viewfinder and optional SuperXpander adapter, enabling the use of full-size studio or OB lenses and accessories.

Three of WKNO’s cameras will be equipped with the SuperXpander and box-style Fujinon HD lenses; the fourth will be operated on a jib or handheld, in-studio or out in the field.

WKNO’s new production switcher is the Kayak 2.5 M/E HD, featuring digital 10-bit, 4:2:2 inputs and outputs, embedded audio record and playback with video, backup and recovery with the KacheBack real-time RAM recorder and hot-swappable modules.

Russ Abernathy, WKNO’s director of technology, is looking forward to what a fully HD studio means for the production future of the station.

"The new Grass Valley cameras and switcher will allow us to create more programming than ever before. The ability to produce programs in HD is really the final piece in our migration to HD operations. Our new HD production capability not only benefits our local viewers, but the entire PBS family of stations, as we occasionally make our shows available to public broadcasting stations nationwide."

WKNO went on the air in 1956 and is Tennessee’s first public television station.