KSL-TV, the NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City, operates two independent network channels under the same roof. On a daily basis, its engineering department handles content for the main station, a separate Comcast feed, local independent station KJZZ and the Live Well Network, which KSL broadcasts as a digital subchannel. Until recently, all programming and commercial content was manually acquired from eight different content delivery systems. Master control operators would perform about 80 to 100 dubs per day, and each dub would take approximately five minutes, making this process extremely time-consuming and cumbersome, as each content delivery system had its own procedure for acquiring content.
To increase operational efficiency and reduce costs, KSL employed an endto-end NVerzion automation system that provides a more streamlined, file-based operation and guaranteed redundancy of the station’s main, backup and archive devices. By backing up the station’s equipment, the automation platform ensures continuity for KSL’s broadcast operations. The system includes an NBase SQL media database manager, NView database viewer, NControlMC Master Control transmission playlists, NConvert manual traffic interface, NCompass ingest manager, NGest professional dubbing and recording software application, NTime event scheduling application, NPoint video preparation software for segmenting and trimming, NVero on-air verification and video logger, EMC-Router Ethernet machine control, and TeraStore near-line storage archive.
The automation runs on off-the-shelf hardware, offering an easy integration path with the station’s existing third-party equipment. Utilizing the automation platform, KSL seamlessly manages a broad range of equipment, including Omneon Spectrum media servers, as well as Utah Scientific 400SD/HD routers and MC-2020 SD/HD master control switchers. A TeraStore RAID-protected nearline/archive storage solution decreases the amount of required video server online storage, reducing the station’s capital and operating expenses.
Master control operators use NVerzion’s NCompass ingest manager to automatically acquire content from a variety of different edge servers and transfer it to the Omneon servers as needed. NCompass provides operators with simultaneous access to all of the station’s content from an intuitive user interface that makes content acquisition more seamless and less time-consuming. Operators can set preferences for file naming and program segmenting, as well as manually drag and drop file transfers, to streamline operations.
The new automation system helps engineering staff efficiently manage additional stations like KJZZ while utilizing significantly fewer resources. KSL estimates that the NCompass ingest manager alone offers its master control operators about a 40-percent to 50-percent time savings compared with the station’s previous manual-based workflow. By significantly speeding up the station’s content ingest, the automation system allows KSL’s engineering department to devote more time to quality control so that it can deliver a higher quality on-air presentation.