Vermont Public TV Picks Omneon Spectrum Server

Vermont Public Television has installed an Omneon Spectrum media server system at the heart of its operations to enable efficient SD and HD ingest and playout, right now and as local and national PBS programming moves to HD.

“The Omneon Spectrum supports our new tapeless workflow and enhances our ability to work with both SD and HD assets,” says Joseph Tymecki, director of engineering at VPT. “The Spectrum system gives us the freedom to play out any asset — such as a promo, funding credit, or full-length program — on any channel without worrying about format. As a result, we can accept programming from PBS in either SD or HD, always recording at the highest resolution possible, and play it out in the appropriate format on one of four channels.”

VPT broadcasts four channels — PBS in HD, PBS World (SD), PBS Create (SD), and a local SD channel — that reach viewers across the state and in bordering regions of New York, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and southern Quebec. PBS national will soon deliver programs to its affiliates in HD only, and, with the Omneon platform in place, VPT is ready for the change. The Spectrum system’s internal up/down/crossconversion capability allows VPT to treat each stored asset in the same manner, whether from PBS, acquired locally and ingested into the server, or transferred from the broadcaster’s Final Cut Pro editing systems.

Staff members at VPT use Omneon TrackTool to insert AFD information into clips, tagging each program according to its formatting to ensure that the aspect ratio is appropriate for the playout channel. The Spectrum server’s sophisticated handling of multichannel audio simplifies recording of a full-surround audio mix, SAP, descriptive audio, and a locally created Lt/Rt stereo mix along with HD video. Built-in closed-captioning tools give VPT the option to perform captioning of local programming offline rather than during real-time ingest and playback.

VPT maintains a large volume of archive material, with 10,000 hours on tape and some footage dating back to the 1960s. The station plans to integrate its Crispin automation system and Omneon Spectrum server system with a Crispin archive system to archive new programs and, as needed, convert old programs to files for nearline storage or long-term storage on Blu-ray.

“As PBS makes its transition to HD on the national level, VPT has been proactive in implementing forward-looking technologies that will support a smooth transition and smart use of new and existing media assets,” says Geoff Stedman, Omneon SVP for products and markets. “The Spectrum media server is an ideal fit for VPT’s new tapeless operations, providing easy integration, scalable storage, format-independent playout, and high interoperability with other best-of-breed broadcast and archiving solutions.”

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