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Indiana PBS stations create fibre and IP video network for real-time content sharing


Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations (IPBS), a consortium of eight PBS TV stations and nine NPR radio stations serving communities across Indiana in the US, has created a high-bandwidth fibre and IP video network for sharing content.

The new cost-efficient network, gives the Indiana PBS member stations unprecedented real-time content sharing, collaboration, and distribution capabilities for television and radio. The system is being installed at WFYI, the IPBS member station in Indianapolis.

“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 Roger Rhodes, Executive Director of IPBS. “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.”

Network will control costs

Rhodes said that the IP network 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. He said 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 state-wide.

Network for Hoosiers

Rhodes called the project a “State-wide HD/SD Educational Network for Hoosiers” and said 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 state-wide signal contribution, distribution and management in the way they envisioned today and into the future.

The complete IPBS solution includes the Harris Broadcast 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.

“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,” Rhodes 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.”

Full-bandwidth audio streaming

The 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 state-wide IPBS radio network far more easily and efficiently than previously possible.

“Our state-wide 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.”