by Gil Couch Vice President of Engineering The TCT Network – MARION, ILL.

Digital Broadcast Serves TCT

In 2005, The TCT Network recognized the need for a video server-based automation system to handle our rapidly growing requirements. Our old system just basically played clip lists and was not powerful enough to handle the requirements of broadcasting to an audience of more than 1.7 billion people in 170 countries.

The architecture of Digital Broadcast’s MediaBank server system got our attention. With software and hardware all in one chassis, it was truly a “station-in-a-box.” That, coupled with the Windows operating platform, resulted in an amazingly easy-touse and flexible system.

The MediaBank provides full master control automation, including control of our switchers, routers and logo inserters. Digital Broadcast’s Remote Client, a Java-based application, provides the ability to control the playout of seven stations in five states from our central Illinois location. Also, Digital Broadcast’s segmenting software allows frame-accurate segmenting and preparation of MPEG-2 material.

Our research convinced us that MediaBank was the best solution for our application.

TRANSMITS PROGRAMS WORLDWIDE

The TCT Network is headquartered at WTCT here in Marion and our MediaBank system consists of ingest and redundant playout servers and station equipment control. Content is ingested and segmented for playout. The prepared material is sequenced and played locally via the MediaBank server and automation system and then uplinked via satellite to a worldwide audience.

The Network’s traffic system is also centralized in Marion. Playlists for WTCT and TCT’s affiliate stations are created and transferred over a WAN to affiliated stations in Greensboro, N.C.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Saginaw, Mich. Digital Broadcast’s Remote Client Software provides continuous monitoring and updating of affiliate playlists from our headquarters.

The affiliate stations’ servers also have ingest, segmenting and playout capability allowing stations to prepare and insert their own local programming into the network feed. These stations have full MediaBank automation.

ARCHIVE FUNCTIONALITY

We’re also using Digital Broadcast’s MediaVault Blu-ray Archive system for transferring 30 years of programming onto Blu-ray disks.

The MediaBank has made a great deal of sense for us. It’s extremely stable and phenomenally easy to use. Our familiarity with Windows is an advantage, but it also gives us a lot of flexibility, as we can move files effortlessly between servers. We can also check and view files at will with the Windows Media Player. It’s also compatible with a lot of different software. By using off-the-shelf communication software, our personnel can dial into and control the system from home if necessary.

We can view, edit and move files around the network with amazing flexibility, and storage is quickly and easily added.

The MediaBank is also extremely cost effective. We didn’t have to spend an outrageous amount of money to get all the power and capability we wanted. We calculated a complete return on our investment in less than two years.

The support we have received from Digital Broadcast has been phenomenal. Going into this project, they have been with us the whole way. They’ve made several modifications to help accommodate our particular requirements and also have listened to our suggestions for revisions that have likely enhanced their products. Ours has been a strong and mutually advantageous relationship.

Gil Couch is vice president of engineering for the TCT Network. He has been with TCT for four years. He may be contacted at cgc@tct.tv.

For additional information, contact Digital Broadcast at 352-377-8344 or via email.

Copyright 2008 IMAS Publishing (USA), Inc. Reprinted with permission.

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