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RadiantGrid proves key to PBS file-based delivery system

RadiantGrid Technologies has played a key role in PBS’ move to a file-based delivery system to its member stations. The PBS Next-Generation Interconnection System Non-Real-Time Program File Delivery Project (NGIS-NRT) is relying on RadiantGrid transcoding, media transformation templates, archive management, resource management and closed-captioning management solutions for program distribution for this initiative.

The PBS migration to file-based delivery will allow member stations to receive programs as files. Currently, stations are receiving programming in real time via satellite. In 2010, PBS is beginning a phased rollout of its NGIS-NRT system to approximately 180 licensees. PBS stations use a number of different video servers, so the network requires a means to convert the files delivered by the NGIS-NRT to the relevant file format for each station’s server. The RadiantGrid platform was selected to handle these conversions.

Along with handling file transcoding, the RadiantGrid platform has an extended closed-captioning management layer. Jerry Butler, senior director and the PBS Interconnection Replacement Office, said, “[RadiantGrid’s] ability to handle closed-captions was particularly important to our project.”

The company’s closed-captioning management module can handle a variety of closed-captioning formats including SMPTE 436M; SMPTE 360M within VANC data in a GXF container; ATSC EIA-608 and EIA-708 within user data in an MPEG-2 program stream; ATSC EIA-608 and EIA-708 within VANC data in an MPEG-2 transport stream; bitmapped VBI data in the visible video stream; SMPTE 2016 (AFD, bar data); CGMS-A; XDS; or reading or writing SAMI and SCC textual formats. This system provides both the capability to extract closed-captioning from media sources and to insert closed-captioning back into the transcoded output file.

“When in full production, we expect that the NGIS-NRT system will transmit approximately 40 hours of programming in each 24-hour day,” Butler said. “Therefore, it is vital that the transcoding engine work faster than real time in order for stations to have usable files at their locations in time for air. The RadiantGrid platform’s TrueGrid technology is able to transcode faster than real time, ensuring that our stations will be able to make their deadlines.”