Technology

Channel-in-a-Box Technology

A Growing Solution for Sub-Channel Rollouts 5/09/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

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One rapidly growing component of the automation business are channel-in-a-box solutions that allow
stations and programmers to easily launch new programming feeds on digital sub-channels or to centralize
operations for more than one station at a single facility with little or no additional operating costs.

The Community Idea Stations in Richmond, Va., for example, first automated their operations as part
of the 2009 launch of a new digital operations center that used Snell’s automation, routing and master
control products.

As a result of that 2009 upgrade, the facility was able automate seven feeds, one from WCVW in Richmond
and three each from WCVE in Richmond and WHTJ in Charlottesville, Va.

This year, to make the transition to HD and to have greater control over the content they are passing
along, the stations purchased three of Snell’s Integrated Content Engine (ICE) units, says Mark Spiller, VP
for engineering and digital operations at Commonwealth Public Broadcasting, which owns the Community
Idea Stations.

The ICE units integrated in with the Snell Morpheus automation system allowed them to upgrade the
WCBW feed from standard-definition to HD in April and to have greater control over the HD feeds for the
two other stations, Spiller says.

“It was just a matter of getting the ICE boxes and tying them into the existing automation system,” he
says. “If we want to add additional channels, all we need to do is add another box.”

Looking forward, these simple modular upgrades could also provide public stations throughout the state
with a way of cutting costs by centralizing their master controls or other operations. “We’ve had preliminary
talks about possibly of implementing that,” Spiller says. “We have the infrastructure in place. If we
wanted to add another station, all we would have to do is buy another ICE box.”

March