Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations, a consortium of eight PBS television stations and nine National Public Radio stations serving Indiana, is installing a Harris Broadcast networking system the broadcasters expect will enable content to be shared by IPBS’ member stations.
Roger Rhodes, IPBS’ executive director, calls the system a “Statewide HD/SD Educational Network for Hoosiers” and notes that IPBS considered several vendors. But as the needs for such a system were defined, it was decided that Harris Broadcast was the only vendor that could facilitate the convergence of baseband video and audio processing, compression and Internet protocol multicasting for statewide signal contribution, distribution and management.
“Until now, real-time content sharing between our member stations has been extremely challenging due to the high cost of satellite time and technical limitations,” Rhodes said. “When the build-out is complete, our stations will have the resources to do more live, real-time programming across the state in an efficient and streamlined manner. Also, our creative storytelling and HD contribution capabilities will vastly expand because it’s no longer an impossibly expensive and cumbersome proposition,” he said.
The complete Harris Broadcast solution includes the Selenio media convergence platform for HD/SD video networking, the Intraplex IP Link 100 and 200 codecs for audio networking, and the Magellan NMS solution for network-wide systems control and management. The entire solution provides IPBS with a configurable, expandable baseband/IP video platform that can adapt to new standards and operational requirements and interoperate with third-party technology, according to Harris Broadcast.
Once the system is fully operational, Harris’ Selenio is expected to control production costs by enabling the stations on the network to carry live interviews from other IPBS stations, or otherwise share content over the IP network, according to Rhodes. The Indiana Channel, an IPBS program service, will benefit from live, real-time networking, as it packages member station-produced features on topics of interest that appeal to viewers statewide, he said.
In addition, Intraplex IP Link technology will enable IPBS NPR member stations to distribute full-bandwidth broadcast-quality audio streams and low-resolution confidence monitoring streams via IP multicast, according the Rhodes. IPBS radio stations will use IP Link codecs to share radio shows and contribute live news reports to IPBS radio stations. They will also serve as regional news bureaus, feeding the statewide IPBS radio network more efficiently than previously possible, he said.
“Our statewide radio news service can now expand program horizons with 24/7 real time content sharing throughout the state,” said Rhodes. “While each station focuses on local community service and multi-station collaboration, this network allows them to envision the entire state of Indiana as their local live studio,” he said.
In addition, the system is expected to save the stations money by putting more resources into producing high-quality, Indiana-centric programming, according to Rhodes.
“This platform saves money, time and effort for our member stations today, and paves the way to build a joint master-control operation serving IPBS TV stations from a single location,” he said. “We believe that sharing the maintenance of a single master control will realize significant savings on capital equipment.”
Click here for the IPBS website.