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Post & network production facilities
|Submitted by |
| ||Comcast Media Center |
|Design Team |
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Bill Calton, sr. dir., satellite and IT ops.;
Mike Harrell, sr. mgr., earth station ops.;
Eric Middlemist, mgr., transmission eng.;
Heather Norton, asst. mgr., CDOC;
Paul Catterson, dir., broadcast eng.
|Technology at work |
| ||DekTec DTU-245 MPEG analyzer |
XRF6 L-band router
Motorola DSR-4520X IRD
and control system
Scientific Atlanta 9850
Sencore Atlas MRD
3187A HD IRD
1260 SD IRD
1282 HD IRD
Tiernan 4022 SD IRD
ViaSat 4.5M satellite
Wohler AMP2-E8 series
Dolby E digital audio
With demand climbing to more than 17,000 live events per year, Denver-based Comcast Media Center (CMC) moved its occasional satellite operations into a state-of-the-art content distribution operations center (CDOC). The new facility is located within CMC’s 315,000sq-ft building in the Denver Tech Center area.
As part of establishing a dedicated content manager center for its occasional satellite transmission requirements, the CMC shifted responsibility for managing more than 445 full-time video transmissions to its Titan facility in nearby Sedalia, CO. Titan and the CMC are interconnected by 15mi primary and redundant fiber transport networks. Titan also supports CDOC’s requirements for acquiring occasional video feeds from Asia and Europe.
The facility downlinks and transmits more than 17,000 live sports events and other HDTV and SDTV programs per year. These broadcasts include college games televised on regional sports networks, sports programming that the CMC edits for VOD and online content, out-of-market broadcasts and live HD events that air on TV networks originating from CMC.
Given the amount of sports activity that occurs on weeknights and weekends compared with overnight and weekdays, the new content distribution center was equipped with up-to-date technology and equipment that allows the CMC to expand or contract management requirements based on workflow. CDOC’s design also needed to correspond with the production facility’s larger move toward a “content from anywhere to anywhere” business model. As a key ingest and distribution component of the facility’s “content factory” model, CDOC will keep content at the IP level, which is critical for supporting the explosion of content over the fiber-rich Internet backbone.
With glass walls on two sides, the layout allows operators in the control room to monitor what’s happening with the racks of gear as well as the video signals on their multiscreen monitors. In addition, engineers and technicians can easily access the racks and wiring without leaving the workstation area.
The facility has direct connectivity via fiber for acquiring video from major Denver arenas, including Invesco Field at Mile High, the Denver Pepsi Center and the University of Denver’s Magness Sports Arena. For longer hauls, it provides connectivity via Vyvx Services, Intelsat, Genesis, Comcast’s fiber backbone and The Switch.
Operators managed 1729 events representing 4619 hours of content in the first month of full operation. CDOC will handle about 29 simultaneous live events, during peak periods. That’s just over 25 percent of its capability for more than 100 simultaneous feeds, giving it plenty of capability to keep up with the growing demand.