CBS Television City Heads to Utah (Routers)
CBS Television City in Los Angeles has installed a UTAH-400/XL HD routing switcher along with associated control panels and software at the heart of the historic production, broadcast, and transmission facility. The digital router, with a 1056 matrix, replaces five legacy routers, supports an infrastructure expansion, and rationalizes a huge and complex system built piece by piece over 30 years.
“With eight TV studios, CBS Television City is known as the best live studio facility around, and we do work for all the networks as well as the top production companies,” says Marc Hurd, vice president, technical and production operation. “We know we have a reputation to maintain, so when it came time to buy a router, we wanted something robust, reliable, easy to maintain, and scalable for the future.”
Three principal factors contributing to CBS Television City’s choice of the UTAH-400XL: its ability to handle multiple signal types, including analog signals from legacy sources; the manufacturer’s reputation for providing 24/7 engineering support, which is critical to live production; and affordability both as a purchase and over time, including Utah Scientific’s unique 10-year, no-fee warranty.
During the implementation process, Utah Scientific engineers worked closely with CBS to customize several system features, including enabling preset of multiple destinations on the soft panels, and the addition of colored alert lights to the hard panels so an operator can instantly see whether the router is working from the preset or the direct source.
With the streamlined, Utah Scientific-based system, CBS Television City engineers no longer have to stop and think where a signal is sourced or which router it’s on. Also, the Utah Scientific soft panels have eliminated the need to build, rebuild, and patch circuits for individual productions, because setups can be saved and recalled repeatedly and without errors.
While CBS has installed Utah Scientific elsewhere in its network, Television City is a new customer. The UTAH-400/XL HD router, housed in a 1056×1056 frame, was loaded with 528 inputs and 528 outputs when it was installed, but within three weeks had been expanded to 528×563. Rounding out the purchase was Utah Scientific SC-4 control software, and a MC-4000 two-channel master control system with an MCP-2020 control panel. The Utah Scientific master control system is used to insert graphics and lower thirds into the network feed from New York, which is then returned for distribution to CBS affiliates nationwide.
The UTAH-400/XL is the first of its kind to offer a 1056×1056 matrix in a single equipment rack using industry-standard BNC connectors and is readily scalable from 288×288 to 1056×1056 and beyond using a single family of matrix building blocks. Besides offering flexible configuration, the UTAH-400/XL saves space and energy in comparison with other routing matrices of this size.
“CBS Television City is not only significant in the history of broadcast but remains one of the best-known and best quality locations for both production and transmission today,” adds Tom Harmon, president and CEO of Utah Scientific. “The UTAH-400/XL is a large router to suit a large facility meeting the demands of many other operations. But more importantly, it’s a smart router, flexible enough to handle multiple signal types and modular to scale for the future.”