Ohio News Network
WBNS-TV serves central Ohio, providing Columbus-area breaking news, weather, traffic and sports coverage. For 15 years, the station’s Ohio News Network (ONN) division used satellite delivery to contribute content to 16 cable headends in Ohio and surrounding areas. While this was a reliable model, it was an expensive solution — and one that had grown significantly more costly in the past couple of years. Looking to reduce the operational costs of contributing content without forcing employees, partners and customers to change the way they work from day to day and without compromising video quality, ONN decided to go IP.
Today, ONN uses the Haivision Barracuda H.264 encoder with the Zixi Media Broadcaster for cost-effective video contribution to cable headends across the region. The pairing of Haivision’s advanced encoding technology with the Zixi platform in a turnkey solution has enabled ONN to shift from costly satellite contribution to high-speed IP video delivery over the public Internet without otherwise altering its working environment or processes.
Video from the ONN studio is encoded by two Barracuda encoders (the second encoder is used to feed the backup encoding system), groomed by the Zixi Feeder and sent over a 10Mb/s circuit to a Bluemile cloud-based hosting platform supporting the Zixi Broadcaster. Bluemile multicasts the Zixi output over the public Internet to Wyse thin clients installed at each of the 16 headend locations. There, the stream is processed by an Enseo decoder, which provides the appropriate video output for cable broadcast.
This new solution boasts low packet loss and extremely low jitter while providing 24/7 performance, which WBNS/ONN engineers can manage and monitor through the platform’s intuitive interface. To keep bandwidth requirements low while applying robust forward error correction (FEC), ONN has set an eight-second delay for the system. As a result, just 3Mb/s is required per cable site, and, at that rate, the combination of advanced H.264 encoding, FEC processing and the broadcaster’s move away from its analog uplink yields better video quality over the public Internet than ONN achieved over a 9Mb/s satellite feed.
ONN was able to install this new IP solution with complete transparency, and the engineering team finished the job over an eight-day period — much shorter than the two months required for the older satellite system and infrastructure. In implementing this IP-based contribution model, ONN also eliminated the time and cost spent maintaining aging satellite receivers at cable headends; now, the company’s engineers can address equipment issues from their desktops and even their iPhones. Going forward, the station can easily expand the system to add channels or extend high-quality video to additional headends.
The installation at ONN demonstrates how, in the face of tough budget challenges, broadcasters can very simply employ advanced encoding and delivery solutions to realize significant cost savings with virtually no impact on operations or video quality.
New studio technology — network
Submitted by Haivision Network Video
WBNS/ONN: Patrick Ingram, dir. of eng.; Jamie Caldwell, IT manager; Joshua Kapsch, IT proj. lead and developer for IP delivery; Jason Knapp, eng. IT remote systems installation
Technology at work
Bluemile: Dedicated Internet access, primary X/O backup, enterprise cloud services
Haivision Network Video: Barracuda encoders
Wyse: C90LE Thin Client-C7
Zixi: Feeder, Media Broadcaster