Retro TV Powers Giant Hub With Omneon Active Storage and Media Servers

Equity Media Holdings Corp., the entity behind the Retro Television Network (RTN), is using the Omneon MediaGrid system for active online storage and Omneon Spectrum media servers for ingest and play-out of content to some 70 stations nationwide over RTN’s Central Automated Satellite Hub (CASH) system, in Little Rock, Ark.

RTN was specifically designed to air via multicast on a local broadcaster’s digital subchannel. RTN provides each affiliate with a customized feed that features not only the classic hit shows, but also local programming including news, weather, and sports.

Besides RTN, Equity Media stations include affiliates of Univision, Telefutura, MyNetworkTV, ABC, and Fox. RTN, an all-digital network that is based on classic programming and was founded in 2005, is driving Equity Media’s growth and is expected to top 100 stations by the end of 2008.

The CASH system even replaces local station master control because it also manages accounting, spot inventory, promotion, and production functions.

Equity Media recently renovated its facility from top to bottom to accommodate new RTN stations. The company’s restructured workflow, directed by Crispin Automation, ingests digitized content to the Spectrum server, then QCs and stores it on the MediaGrid system, prior to play-out on multiple Spectrum play-out servers.

“The flexibility, reliability, and interoperability of the Omneon equipment really make our workflow possible,” said Chuck Stanley, Equity Media’s chief engineer. “The speed and processing performance of the MediaGrid are especially valuable to us. For example, the MediaGrid enables a single stored copy of content—say an episode of ‘Mork and Mindy’—to run on multiple stations. Likewise, because it handles transcoding and QC, the MediaGrid enables us to avoid the complexity and delays of transferring media back and forth. When we want something on the air, it has to go on the air now, not later. MediaGrid makes that possible.”

Omneon MediaGrid, operating in tandem with the Front Porch Digital DIVArchive, enables RTN to ingest content once and keep a digitized copy of all these episodes ready for use at any given time. RTN currently has 22 TB of storage on the MediaGrid, and anticipates adding to it. The modular architecture of MediaGrid means it can be scaled without disruption to the system.

A library-based network, RTN runs classics like “Knight Rider”, “Quincy” and “I Love Lucy.”