Scripps Networks’ new media logistics division enables internal content sharing
Scripps Networks worked with systems integrator Ascent Media to transform its broadcast operations department into a new media logistics division. The company’s new IT-based infrastructure serves as a platform for leveraging its growing asset library across traditional broadcast channels and emerging platforms and channels, while also enabling the sharing of content internally.
The new infrastructure provides a stable on-air platform for SD channels that were migrated onto the new playout system throughout 2006. It also allowed the network to launch Food Network HD and HGTV HD. The Food Network HD and HGTV HD programs are shot at a 16:9 aspect ratio and then ingested to an Omneon Spectrum media server via Snell & Wilcox MEMPHIS HD encoders. The encoders ingest the HDTV content, integrating two of the systems with the servers to encode all HGTV program material acquired, as well as HD commercials and promos.
The network uses one 24TB Spectrum media server to support HD ingest and two 12TB Spectrum systems for redundant playout operations. Under the control of an OmniBus Colossus automation package, the servers provide a scalable server platform that will facilitate the network’s future growth and integration with systems, including the facility’s Avid editing systems. Colossus manages archiving of content from the servers via a Masstech Hierarchical Storage Management system, to a StorageTek nearline archive. OmniBus OPUS interchange software will enable data exchanges between automation and a DAM system yet to be installed.
The MXF-compliant servers allow operators to intermix SD and HD content while handling audio tracks independently. As HD material is ingested, Dolby E 5.1 audio is decoded and re-embedded as discrete tracks, which can be moved throughout the facility, without introducing delay, and then converted to 5.1 immediately prior to transmission.
The servers and Teranex Volare FlexView upconvert playout material from SD to HD as necessary, and the OmniBus system simplifies audio playout by initiating creation of upconverted stereo audio to 5.1 audio. These processes eliminate post-production work.
Interstitial content originated in SD is upconverted via the Volare FlexView, which proportionally stretches the left and right sides of a picture by 25 percent, leaving the center 50 percent intact, and doubles the resolution so that both the aspect ratio and line number are consistent with HD pictures. A Linear Acoustic OCTiMAX 5.1 audio processor upconverts stereo inputs to surround sound.
The network’s new streamlined operations provides a foundation for the company’s forward- looking approach.