Encompass Digital Media
Encompass Digital Media partnered with NBC Universal in the summer of 2009 to create an innovative broadcast solution for 10 owned-and-operated NBC stations, seven Telemundo channels and 20 digital subchannels. As the station group's hub, Encompass handles the national distribution of NBCU's syndicated content and network programs, promos and commercials. Operations also include 24/7/365 master control, engineering, traffic support, ingest, syndicated recording, quality control, playout and ad insertion.
Encompass' Atlanta facility provided the infrastructure necessary for NBCU to make HD upgrades, streamline operations and unify workflow among its local market stations across the United States. Systems integrator TI Broadcast Solutions Group (TI-BSG) worked closely with Encompass and NBCU on the design, installation and integration of equipment.
With an aggressive timeline, Encompass went from the reconstruction of its existing facility to having the first flagship station on the air in just 88 days. NBCU's hub spans 3200sq ft and features eight master control pods and a state-of-the-art machine room with 31 racks, plus dedicated space for traffic and ingest. Based on a store-and-forward design, TI-BSG integrated an extensive array of equipment collocated at each local broadcast station.
As part of the solution, Encompass paired Harris NEXIO servers with Snell's Morpheus automation system. This customized approach ensures seamless delivery of NBCU's digital content over a nationwide fiber infrastructure.
Encompass also leveraged the functionality of Miranda Technologies' wide array of Densité modular products for a majority of the ancillary gear. Using the Web-based iControl platform, Encompass engineers and operators can monitor and control the equipment in every remote location, allowing for real-time response when modifications need to be made.
Miranda Alto and KX multiviewers also enhance Encompass' capability to monitor multiple points within all of NBCU's stations. By bringing back full-resolution returns from the remote equipment, NBCU at Encompass can see and hear all content activity within each station's equipment racks. As a result of its Snell solution, Encompass' master control can roll multiple station breaks across several cities simultaneously.
In addition, redundant playout servers and A/V processing gear in Atlanta support each station undergoing maintenance with no interruption to the viewer. The playlist can run through servers in Atlanta and deliver content directly to the station's transmitter chain via fiber or satellite, bypassing the entire store-and-forward infrastructure.
Encompass' nonlinear, IP-based hub-and-spoke model has worked well for NBCU. The success of this central-casting solution has contributed to the successful broadcast of many high-profile events, including NBCU's coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. This signified the first major milestone for NBCU's hub at Encompass and serves as a testament to the reliability and effectiveness of the innovative new design.
Submitted by Encompass Digital Media
Encompass: Donald Rodd, VP eng. and tech. ops.; Jim Schuster, exec. VP, president Atlanta; Steven Southern, lead broadcast eng.
NBC Universal: Jason Kornweiss, VP broadcast ops.; Matthew Braatz, sr. VP broadcast ops.
TI Broadcast Solutions Group: Michael Wright, pres.; Jared Timmins, dir. strat. acct.; Patrick Daly, dir. design eng.; Brian Kincheloe, dir. field ops.
Technology at work
Harris: NEXIO servers
Isilon: NL36 storage nodes
Level 3: Multigig fiber infrastructure, OC-12 to each spoke site
Miranda: Alto multiviewer, EAP-3901, HCO-1821, IRD-3802, IRD-3811, KX multiviewer, XVP-1801
Signiant: Content Distribution Management software
Snell: Pro-Bel Morpheus automation and content management, Pyxis and Cygnus routers
TANDBERG: RX1290, E5780 encoder
Telestream: FlipFactory file-based transcoding engine