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More for Less

Harris automation system yields big savings 3/14/2004 07:00:00 PM Eastern

Harris may be a smaller station's new best friend. Its ADC-25, debuting at NAB, is based on the same technology as its larger sibling, ADC-100, and can handle both digital and analog broadcast needs.

"These smaller systems provide basic automation to ingest media into servers and control branding and playout devices," explains Brian Lay, director of product marketing for Harris Automation Solutions. "One user interface enables a single operator to easily monitor and manage multiple channels from a single display. Adding digital channels doesn't require additional staff."

Lay says the system can handle up to 32 controlled devices, half the capacity of the ADC-100. It's available in three sizes: eight, 16, and 32 devices. Both the eight- and 16-device versions software can be upgraded to larger sizes. It also interfaces with traffic systems from Encoda, VCI, WideOrbit, OSI, and Pilat Media.

The packages don't contain software for managing media transfers and archives, but, says Lay, those functions are typically not required in smaller stations. They can be added, along with others, at additional cost. "Smaller stations are extremely cost-conscious. This means selecting equipment, such as integrated switching, branding, and effects systems that provide high value for a reasonable cost. Our system controls all the latest versions of those devices."

Like the ADC-100, it also can control digital encoding, multiplexing, and PSIP generation, all vital aspects of DTV broadcasts. Cost of the system ranges from $40,000 to $80,000, depending on size.

A new product from Harris designed for stations of all sizes is Digital Ingest. It's part of the company's Harris Resource Suite, a modular, software-based system that was introduced last year and helps move and archive assets, as well as performing traditional master-control functions and program production. The Digital Ingest module is designed to help broadcasters automate frontend media ingest and transfer via delivery systems like Vyvx, DG Systems, or Media DVX.

A Digital Ingest module designed for use with systems like Pathfire and FastChannel will be introduced at the show, Lay says. "Other interfaces will be evaluated and included based upon market demand. For example, many of our customers are very interested in connecting Digital Ingest to their production departments to automatically ingest promotions. An interface for Avid systems will be part of a release 1.2 later this year."

The system works by transcoding the MPEG-2 files that arrive on media-delivery systems to broadcast video file servers. The process eliminates the need for uncompressing the files and any generational loss that could be associated with that process. It can also transcode content to a facility's Web server.

"Users can configure the system to send completed files to different destinations. Programs to server one, commercials to server two," explains Lay. Intro cost is $69,570 for hardware, software, installation, and training.

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