As a sub-project of PBS’ Next Generation Interconnection System (NGIS), the Non-Real-Time Program File Delivery Project (NGIS-NRT) 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 roll-out of its NGIS-NRT system to approximately 180 licensees.
Due to the variation in video servers at the stations, PBS requires a means to convert the file delivered by the NGIS-NRT for each station’s server file format. The RadiantGridTM Platform was selected to handle these conversions.
“NGIS-NRT will help to provide a delivery format to our member stations that is efficient, reliable and flexible,” explains Jerry Butler, senior director, PBS Interconnection Replacement Office. “With each station being an independent entity, and using a variety of equipment, we required a means of ensuring that our file formats were able to play anywhere. RadiantGrid transcoding software has been in use in the PBS Media Operations Center for some time, so it was logical to extend the use of the platform to the NGIS-NRT Project. As part of the total NGIS-NRT System, the RadiantGrid Platform will assure that all stations are able to use the program files that are delivered to them. Their ability to handle Closed Captions was particularly important to our project.”
“When in full production, we expect that the NGIS-NRT System will transmit approximately 40 hours of programming in each 24-hour day,” Butler continues. “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.”
“Our TrueGridTM transcoding is a great fit for a file-based broadcast workflow such as PBS’ NGIS-NRT System because source content can be transcoded in parallel across all available transcoding resources,” explains Kirk Marple, president, chief software architect, RadiantGrid Technologies. “This offers a quicker means to transcode files while also offering better utilization of the transcoding resources.”
Along with handling transcoding of files, the RadiantGrid Platform has an extended Closed Caption Management layer. 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.