Viacom's Miami Stations Consolidate Digital Operation and Improve HD Capability With PESA Cheetah Router

WFOR-TV (CBS) 4 in Miami has installed a new PESA Cheetah digital routing switcher to facilitate SD and HD broadcasting and simplify integrated production and playout workflows for WFOR-TV and four other Viacom-owned stations, WBFS-TV (UPN) 33 in Miami and WTVX-TV (TVX) 34, WTCN-CA, and WWHB-CA in West Palm Beach, from a single facility.

Viacom's Miami duopoly, which includes WFOR-TV and WBFS-TV, was formed in 2001 and has been operating from the WFOR-TV facility for the past four years. Also in 2001, operations for WTVX-TV were brought into the facility as well, allowing station engineers to consolidate production and playout tasks in a digital broadcast environment with HDTV capability. Expansion continues in 2005 with the integration of WTCN-CA and WWHB-CA into the Miami broadcast facility.

"WFOR-TV has been using PESA equipment successfully for over 15 years, so the installation of the Cheetah was a natural solution in our migration to digital operations and our move toward HD broadcasting," said Marcelo Sanchez, chief engineer at WFOR-TV. "In 2001 we combined operations for three stations under one roof, and the PESA switcher and accompanying control tools have made managing a multitude of signals easy, and they perform this function reliably within a small, space-saving footprint."

A full-featured digital routing switcher with the power to handle SDI and HDTV -- as well as other, non-standard digital signals -- in the same frame, the Cheetah router installed at the CBS station is a hybrid SD/HD system in a 512x512 frame featuring 256x192 SD and 128x128 HD/SD multirate modules. It is controlled via PESA's 3500PRO series system controller, which provides a powerful Windows-based user interface to the company's routing switcher control products.

"The versatility of the PESA routing system will play a critical role in the future growth of the Viacom South Florida Stations Group," concluded Sanchez.