The recent Superstorm Sandy that inflicted incredible devastation on 18 states on the East Coast, and particularly how it impacted the broadcast industry in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut media hubs, has brought front and center the need for a business continuity strategy and the importance of a disaster recovery (DR) operation for program originators to remain on the air. It requires a significant capital investment to build a DR facility for a multi-channel program origination center. This puts the channel in a box discussion in a new light as a practical and cost-effective way to protect origination.
Channel origination has gotten more complex. Channel or program origination is what we have traditionally called “master control”. The evolution from master control to program origination began as cable and satellite providers entered the market. Their multi-channel operations centers were more like program delivery control centers than the more traditional broadcast master control. In the early days of broadcast television, the master control room had a lot of the same functionality as a production control room. The master control switcher received audio and video feeds from studios, external feeds, direct from camera, audio announce booths (voice over) and both audio and video tape machines. The master control operator was responsible for all the audio and video transitions to air.
Featured Web Seminar
Thursday, November 8, 2:00pm EST
Broadcasters need a cost-effective and flexible delivery solution that supports SD/HD and multiplatform and multichannel playout. The answer is a next-generation channel-in-a-box that supports master control tasks ranging from disaster recovery to sophisticated single and multiple channel delivery. This webcast highlights a new channel-in-a-box solution that meets these needs in a cost-effective, simple-to-deploy and quick to launch package.
Versio™: The Next-Generation “Channel in a Box” Solution
Automated channel playout has been around for more than 20 years. The traditional model uses a network of computers to control devices like switchers, servers and graphics.
Recently, an alternative has emerged, known as the “channel in a box (CIB),” now that commodity computers have reached a level of power where they can deliver broadcast-quality video. Most use PCs with a video I/O board and storage.
The thinking behind the CIB concept is two-fold. First, cost is significantly reduced, making it attractive to start-up/niche channels that may not expect large revenues. Second, it comes pre-integrated, meaning a channel can launch very quickly.
Harris identified a need for a CIB solution that was not only fully integrated with a low hardware cost, but also offered uncompromised performance and flexibility. The result is Versio™.
What distinguishes Versio from existing offerings is that its design is founded on proven Harris technology designed to meet real end-to-end workflow needs. This is in contrast to systems that took a PC processor board and commodity video card, and created ground-up software to deliver a solution.
Harris has market-leading products in automation, servers, storage and branding/graphics. The Versio approach to CIB brings these functions together in a single device. This means reliable and predictable performance, along with familiarity for users — who do not have to learn new user interfaces, create new workflows and define new emergency procedures.
Versio can be used either standalone with integral automation or as part of a larger automated network. In fact, there are four configurations of the Versio platform to maximize flexibility. In addition to internal or external automation, it can draw its content either from the internal disk drive or from a storage area network (SAN).
Versio is designed to be flexible. At the base level, it can be used as any other CIB system: as a self-contained unit, managed from a computer over a network, but with the advantages of proven hardware and applications inside. Versio can also be networked together to create a cost-effective and energy-efficient playout center, or to quickly establish a disaster recovery center that can be switched online in an instant.
Versio channels can be added to existing playout centers based on traditional architectures. The Versio channels can share resources, streaming content direct from the SAN, for example, and draw on exactly the same graphics templates and data sources as the rest of the channels. This allows new channels to be added very quickly. Because the hardware cost is relatively low, major playout operators may consider having a couple of Versio units in use, only paying the license fee when they go on air.
The addition of new channels to a traditional architecture project is usually measured in months. Adding Versio channels takes days, or if the hardware is in place, hours. A broadcaster and playout specialist can test a new channel almost as soon as the idea is formed.
CIB systems are unlikely to fully replace every playout system, but Versio gives broadcasters the freedom to explore new revenue streams, allowing hands-on trials and full production channel rollouts, while retaining flexibility to evolve as the channel grows.
Take a Guided Tour of Versio (hint: activate audio play button at bottom of pages)
- Versio Single-Channel Launch
- Versio Multichannel Platform Expansion
- Versio Multichannel Launch
- Versio Disaster Recovery
The first video compression standard was introduced in 1984; this was the CCITT/ITU-T, H.120 Recommendation. It was low bit rate black-and-white used for video conferencing. Compression and Digital Broadcast have come a long way since then. There are a considerable number of compression standards and formats; they are different depending on whether the compression is to a file or stream.
Television broadcasters have been using compression and multiplexing since the late 1990s. Compression and multiplexing were primarily used in satellite transmission for backhaul, contribution and internal distribution, to optimize the use of transponders, enabling service providers to put multiple signals on a single transponder in a cost-effective way.
Wednesday, September 26th @ 2:00pm ET/11:00am PT
As broadcasters are increasingly required to support content from many sources and deliver it over new types of channels, the demand to apply the efficiencies inherent in IP solutions grows ever stronger. With this mix of baseband and IP signals, engineers and technical managers need to leverage the best technology available to stay ahead of the competition. In this exciting webcast, attendees will learn about an all-new, next-generation approach to networking and signal processing for audio and video signals. Presenter Gary Olson, managing director at the GHO Group, will review the latest multiplexing and IP technologies that provide new efficiencies and signal management.
Jul 10, 2012 10:57 AM, Workflow Update e-newsletter By Phil Kurz
Delivering content to smartphones, media tablets and MDTV receivers presents broadcasters with new image quality and workflow concerns...
Resources: Mobile Production Truck Solutions
May 3, 2012 12:21 PM, by Franklin McMahon
One of the largest markets these days is Outside Broadcast (OB), which moves the production studio environment into a mobile production vehicle. Whereas the studio environment may be live or taped, once you hit the road it's almost always live, even to “tape,” which brings to the surface several key areas that need to be in place for a successful broadcast. While assembling and deploying a broadcast truck involves thousands of decisions, most fall under these three critical areas for a successful OB solution....
- Website: Harris Mobile Production Solutions
- Brochure: Harris Mobile Production Solutions
- Customer Case Study: TNDV Television’s "Aspiration" Truck
- Application Note: Selenio in Mobile Production Environments
Resources: Audio Loudness Management
A familiar core of digital technology runs throughout most broadcast and production facilities. But simply updating those systems to an IP infrastructure should be thought of as but the first of a two-stage process towards higher efficiency and lower operating costs. Today, many media businesses continue to operate with department silos and limited integration. Typically, TV stations and post houses locate their business offices in the front and on-air and productions operations in the back of corporate structures. There often remains, "a virtual wall" between these business operations. With newer technology. however, it's possible to closely tie together traffic, scheduling, library management, finance, legal and business intelligence with broadcast and production operations. The result can be higher product quality, greater staff efficiency and lower operating costs.
This audio-focus webcast will examine new real-time loudness monitor and correction technology. These solutions help engineers regulate the perceived loudness of multiple audio channels across any content to prevent viewer complaints. If you work with audio, the techniques learned in this webcast will make your job easier and your audio cleaner.
With newer open-standard technology and industry protocols, it's now possible to closely couple traffic, scheduling, library management, finance, legal, rights management and business intelligence with broadcast and production operations. ...
The CALM Act (Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation), which was passed by Congress in December 2010, describes in general terms that commercial content should not be any louder than the program material it accompanies. ...
This paper examines loudness issues, measurement and correction methods, and some recent work by standards organizations. Some real-world examples and implementations are explained, and a new method of displaying audio loudness levels is described, consistent with the broadly implemented ITU-R BS.1770 recommendation.
Taking control of loudness monitoring, measurement and correction is one of the most pressing issues for broadcasters today. The issue will continue to demand attention — as viewers continue to demand the best-possible viewing experience.
It can be difficult in today's complex infrastructures to maintain a high-quality "sound" across the audio workflow, as you juggle stereo and surround sound, as well as compressed and embedded audio. Complicating the situation further is that many countries are moving toward legislation to regulate loudness consistency levels.