Harris Broadcast Facilitates Content Sharing for Indiana PBS TV Stations

Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations (IPBS), a consortium of eight PBS TV stations and nine NPR radio stations serving communities across Indiana, is now installing a Harris Broadcast networking solution to efficiently share and manage broadcast content across all 17 member stations.  Based on a new cost-efficient, high-bandwidth fiber and IP video network, the project gives these Indiana PBS member stations unprecedented real-time content sharing, collaboration, and distribution capabilities for television and radio.

Roger Rhodes, Executive Director of Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations (IPBS), calls the project a “Statewide HD/SD Educational Network for Hoosiers” and notes that IPBS carefully considered several strong vendors.  As its vision sharpened, Harris Broadcast was viewed as the only vendor that could facilitate the convergence of baseband video and audio processing, compression, and IP multicasting for statewide signal contribution, distribution and management in the way they envisioned today and into the future.

The complete Harris Broadcast solution includes the Selenio media convergence platform for HD/SD video networking, 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 positions IPBS for the future with a configurable, expandable baseband/IP video platform that can adapt to new standards and operational requirements; and interoperate with third-party technology.

“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,” said Rhodes.  “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.”

For example, Rhodes stresses that Selenio will control production travel costs by easily enabling every station on the network to carry live interviews from another IPBS station, or otherwise share content over the IP network.  He notes that The Indiana Channel is one IPBS program service that will benefit from live, real-time networking, as it packages member station-produced features on topics of interest that appeal to viewers statewide.

Meanwhile, 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.  IPBS radio stations will use IP Link codecs to share radio shows and contribute live news reports to one or more IPBS radio stations.  They will also serve as regional news bureaus, feeding the statewide IPBS radio network far more easily and efficiently than previously possible.

“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.”

Magellan NMS streamlines management of the entire IPBS workflow, ensuring smooth and efficient movement of high-quality video and audio media over the network.  The consolidation of all contribution video and audio into a single user interface greatly simplifies the distribution process amongst the stations.  Furthermore, the Magellan NMS architecture includes several thousand network drivers, simplifying future connectivity to other products in the IPBS workflow including network switches, routers and servers.

Harris Broadcast will configure the entire system at WFYI, the IPBS member station in Indianapolis, and train station engineers at this location over a two-day period.  Individual stations will later migrate their components to the field as the I-Light network service becomes available locally.  Rhodes calls this one example of “learning how to gain the efficiencies of a centralized service without a corresponding sacrifice of local station autonomy, community service and branding.”

Looking forward, Rhodes sees enormous opportunity to extend the reach and efficiency of the Harris Broadcast solution.  “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 single location,” he said.  “We’re always looking for ways to cut costs and put more resources into producing the high-quality, Indiana-centric programming our viewers depend on us to provide.  We believe that sharing the maintenance of a single master control will realize significant savings on capital equipment.”

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