The PBS Network senior management decided to create a back-up facility to its main (only) network operations center (NOC) facility in Alexandria, Virginia. The technical solution approach began in 2010 with the PBS Lab effort, managed by HA Design Group. A total of 12 industry vendors were evaluated and a formal test and evaluation was conducted for the 3 final vendors for the back-up NOC (DDMS). The IT-centric solution developed into a cost-effective IT commodity hardware server system architected around software modules and a Media Asset Management system.
• The PBS Network rain fade uplink services were moved in spring 2012 from the Independent Hill, Virginia, site to the PBS facilities co-located with the Nebraska Educational Television (NET) location. The new uplink site is 1200 miles away from PBS’s current Alexandria, Virginia, NOC. New comprehensive signal testing and monitoring systems were installed between the linked facilities, which are now monitored across IP-network connections.
• A new origination facility design, based upon new concepts using software codecs and applications running on commodity hardware, was integrated offsite before it was completed in early 2014. The Cinegy software platform used in the DDMS design includes MPEG transport stream acquisition, transcoding, and transmission support, tightly integrated with a large MS SQL Server database and an online/tape archive.
This new software model allowed the DDMS diversity site to take on the complete PBS bouquets of channels at the same cost as a single channel while running as a “lights out” facility, total automated.