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TNT unleashes programming in HD

TNT unleashes
programming in HD

Turner Broadcasting System launched its first regularly scheduled HD broadcast in May 2004. The network implemented the all-server operation along the lines of existing networks by using the same program flow and workflow processes. This presented some challenges because the all-server operation required hardware that in some cases did not exist. HD clip servers, Dolby E support and the complex server architecture required to meet the project’s goals called for first-time implementations planned by the network’s netops engineering staff and designer/integrator AZCAR.

The project planning began in the fall of 2003. To fit into the facility, the team had to implement a seamless transition for the building’s routing systems. These were already multiformat but considerably too small to accommodate the expansion without affecting the on-air quality of the 19 entertainment networks that originate within the facility. Several Thomson Grass Valley Trinix routers were installed in parallel with existing systems. Outputs migrated when operations would be unaffected. The highly redundant nature of the netops signal path eased the transition.

The team also installed terminal equipment and MPEG encoders from Snell and Wilcox, under control of the Roll Call control and monitoring system. Chyron provided HD Clip servers and Quartz provided QMC HD master control switchers with 5.1 surround support. Dolby E is the house multichannel standard, and is supported by Sony SRW series VTRs. Program content is cached to Pinnacle servers from Sony Flexicarts under Pro-bel automation. Evertz provides unattended continuous QC of ingested feeds.

The team, which included a full-time site staff of 29 installers and managers, installed more than 500,000ft of cable during an intensive six-month installation.

Design Team
Turner Entertainment Networks:
Ron Tarasoff, VP, broadcast technology and eng.
Naveed Aslam, sr. dir. of eng.
Patrick Popham, project mgr.
Jack Gary, project eng. lead
Tom McDonough and Andrew Cox, project engs.
Matthew Brown, project mgr. Equipment List
Thomson Grass Valley Trinix and Apex routing switchers
Pinnacle Systems HD servers
Dolby E encoders and decoders
Quartz QMC HD MC switchers
Snell & Wilcox modular equipment, MPEG encoders
Barco Hydra projection displays
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