Sencore (www.sencore.com) has supplied PBS with a Sencore MRD 3187B Modular Receiver to support the public broadcast network's compliance with the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act. Together with the Sencore Transport Data Injector (a customized groomer system developed for PBS), the MRD allows PBS, its member stations, Public Television (PTV), and Non-Commercial Educational (NCE) stations to facilitate the next generation of Emergency Alert Services.
PBS will create a redundant pathway from FEMA to commercial mobile service (CMS) providers for the delivery of geotargeted emergency warning text messages to cellular telephones across the U.S.
Aaron Silverman, communications director for the PBS WARN Project, said the partnership with Sencore is key to fulfilling PBS's role in this new emergency alert service. He said the Sencore 3187B is a critical piece of the project, allowing them to build and support a framework for incorporating WARN telecommunications transmissions into participating stations' broadcast streams with no disruption to the television signal.
Redundant MRD units are deployed at each master control remote transmitter site for all public television stations, where they bring in the WARN emergency alert messages via satellite transmission from PBS. From there, the receiver passes that data to the TDI 3000 via ASI or IP transport stream. The TDI 3000 then injects the WARN message into the broadcast stream (in five minutes or less) without affecting broadcast service.
Passed by Congress in 2006 and set to go live in 2012, the WARN Act, along with the FCC's 2008 Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), establishes a system by which CMS providers transmit geotargeted local or national emergency messages to their subscribers' cell phones. In order to provide a redundant transmission path, the CMAS requires all Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)-qualified NCE television
station licensees with a valid full-power digital television license that receive their programming from the AMC 21 PBS Satellite KU transponder 22 to carry these messages in their broadcast transport streams. CMS providers may extract these messages from the stations and transmit them on to their subscribers should the primary connection to FEMA be lost.
The MRD configuration includes four RF inputs that can be independently configured with one active at a time. The unit's ASI output port can be used as an output for any of the transport stream inputs and supports transport stream rates from 1.5Mb/s to 160Mb/s. In addition, the MRDs have been outfitted with a second Ethernet control port that allows continuous connection both to the local member station's LAN, as well as to the PBS network operations center's national interconnect.