Technology

Smoothing Path to Automation

Vendors develop systems that will further streamline the integration process for broadcasters in 2012 12/12/2011 12:01:00 AM Eastern

Centralization Gathers Steam

With centralized graphics, archive and transmission hubs growing in popularity, broadcasters are looking at ways to use the hubs to automate other processes. For example, the creation of a centralized archive often opens up a larger discussion of ”how they can start to automate other processes with our media and production asset management system Interplay,” says Jim Frantzreb, senior market segment manager, media enterprises at Avid. At the same time, a growing number of station groups are “looking at how they can economize by centralizing and automating transmission operations,” Frantzreb adds.

It’s the kind of effort recently put up by Advanced Broadcast Solutions, which set up a master control for Cowles Publishing’s KHQ in Spokane, Wash. The move was done so that KHQ could operate as a central casting hub for KNDO/KNDU in Yakima/Tri-Cities. The hub was built around an Evertz VIP-X integrated routing platform and Pixel Power BrandMaster master control switchers with integrated graphics.

All automation is handled in Spokane with KHQ’s Avid Titan system. The complete transport stream, including programming and local ads, is sent from the hub via Charter Cable’s 100 Mbps fiber loop to KNDO and KNDU. “Each station has two channels, and they are all being controlled centrally out of Spokane,” says ABS president Mark Siegel. —GW

Grass Valley's recent acquisition of
the Dutch integrated playout vendor
PubliTronic highlights a trend that
will be top of mind for TV station automation
technologies in 2012—the push toward more
unified automation solutions.

With the acquisition, Grass Valley will be able
to combine PubliTronic’s integration playout solutions
with its own existing server, automation
product and media workflow systems—this according
to PubliTronic founder Harold Vermeulen,
who is now vice president, media playout
solutions for Grass Valley.

“The future will involve more and more integration
of these solutions,” both at Grass Valley
and for other vendors, Vermeulen
says. “Almost all automation vendors
are looking to include servers
and graphics. The server vendors
are including automation and graphics,
and the graphics companies are
looking to integration automation and servers.”

The trend is being driven by the complexities
of multiplatform delivery, the ongoing need to
reduce costs and the fact that many aspects of
the broadcast infrastructure have still not been
automated.

Though broadcasters have been working to
automate their operations for years, “there is actually
a pretty low level of [it],” notes Mark Siegel,
president of Advanced Broadcast Solutions.
“Many people who say they are automated in
their playback are really only 30% to 35% automated.
There is a real need to take automation
to the next level.”

That helps explain increased demand for such
systems that vendors see accelerating in 2012.
“We’ve had a record year for the Ross Overdrive
system and installed over 50,” notes Brad Rochon,
marketing product manager for Over-
Drive at Ross Video.

And David Jorba, senior VP of operations for
Vizrt Americas, says he has been seeing particularly
strong interest for products to streamline
workflows for multiplatform delivery and for
centralized graphics systems.

“As station groups take advantage of centralization
to streamline their workflows, they are
also keen on developing a standardized system
for streamlining workflows so they are not wasting
any resources,” Jorba says.

Still, not everyone agrees that
the best method for automating
systems lies in the creation of a
single, more unified solution that
can replace the separate products
traditionally used to handle the
task, or control of content ingest,
master control and playout.

Crispin Corp., for example,
believes it can more successfully
serve clients by better integrating
its automation systems with solutions
from other vendors. As part
of that strategy, the company has
been playing a pioneering role in
BXF integrations of the traffic and
billing systems from other vendors,
and it recently became the first vendor to offer BXF integration with Wide-
Orbit’s traf! cking systems, notes Crispin COO
Rodney Mood.

“We continue to focus on the best of breed
approach and making sure that the system has
the extensibility and flexibility to really enhance
all the other broadcast operations,” says Mood,
who adds that this approach recently helped
Crispin win a major deal to help a large group
of PBS stations set up a centralized master control
facility.

E-mail comments to
gpwin@oregoncoast.com

Centralization Gathers Steam

With centralized graphics, archive and transmission hubs growing in popularity, broadcasters are looking at ways to use the hubs to automate other processes. For example, the creation of a centralized archive often opens up a larger discussion of ”how they can start to automate other processes with our media and production asset management system Interplay,” says Jim Frantzreb, senior market segment manager, media enterprises at Avid. At the same time, a growing number of station groups are “looking at how they can economize by centralizing and automating transmission operations,” Frantzreb adds.

It’s the kind of effort recently put up by Advanced Broadcast Solutions, which set up a master control for Cowles Publishing’s KHQ in Spokane, Wash. The move was done so that KHQ could operate as a central casting hub for KNDO/KNDU in Yakima/Tri-Cities. The hub was built around an Evertz VIP-X integrated routing platform and Pixel Power BrandMaster master control switchers with integrated graphics.

All automation is handled in Spokane with KHQ’s Avid Titan system. The complete transport stream, including programming and local ads, is sent from the hub via Charter Cable’s 100 Mbps fiber loop to KNDO and KNDU. “Each station has two channels, and they are all being controlled centrally out of Spokane,” says ABS president Mark Siegel. —GW

 

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