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Omneon provides multiaspect ratio playout solution for Vermont's WCAX-TV

WCAX-TV, Vermont’s CBS affiliate, has selected an Omneon Spectrum media server system for fully mirrored ingest and playout of three channels. Located in Burlington, WCAX is a family-owned station that broadcasts both syndicated programming and locally produced news and other content.

WCAX required a system that could seamlessly ingest and playout SD and HD content side by side, including 16:9 SD and HD, 4:3 SD anamorphic and 4:3 SD. The station also needed a system that would enable a tapeless workflow and simplify operations overall by replacing two single-use playout servers (one for SD and one for HD) with a unified platform. Finally, WCAX wanted to provide a full 16:9 HD service to viewers while avoiding the appearance of stretched or squashed images.

To meet these requirements, WCAX purchased a mirrored Omneon Spectrum media server system, including two MediaPort 4102 I/O modules to support up- and downconversion, and Omneon TrackTool to insert AFD information into clips to tag odd aspect ratios. Using TrackTool, WCAX operators can tag each program according to its formatting.

The Spectrum system, running under the control of Harris automation, plays out three separate channels: WCAX’s main SD and HD program channels and WCAXtra, a second digital news and weather channel. Using the information set with TrackTool, SD content (4:3, 16:9 or letterbox) is automatically played out with the correct aspect ratio on the upconverted HD outputs.

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