Weather Channel selects Snell & Wilcox Kahuna switcher for new HD facility

Weather Channel has put two Snell & Wilcox Kahuna SD/HD multiformat production
switchers at the heart of its $60 million HD upgrade, using the switchers’
format flexibility to support a smooth transition to HD broadcasting and a
whole new look for programming on the 24/7 weather information network.
Installed in two newly retrofitted HD production control rooms, two Kahuna
systems simplify handling of SD and HD sources and graphics as the network
moves toward completion of a new HD production studio, which went live on June
2, 2008. The first live content aired through the HD studio was switched by a
Kahuna, which will serve as the main HD production switcher for all of The
Weather Channel’s fully produced shows.
Kahuna switcher is essential to our HD rollout, providing powerful switching
capabilities in SD and, going forward, offering the robust performance we
require for our shift toward full HD production,” said Michael Smereski,
chief engineer at The Weather Channel. “At The Weather Channel, we operate
much like a news operation. When weather stories break, we need to be able to
accept any type of on-location video we receive. The internal conversion
capability of the Kahuna allows us, on a per-input basis, to determine signal
format on-the-fly and to deal with any incoming feed effectively.”
Weather Channel installed Kahuna production switchers as part of a major
overhaul of the network’s infrastructure and production facilities to enable HD
production and revolutionize the way weather is presented on TV. The project
involved construction of the new HD studio adjoining The Weather Channel’s
existing building and also included the upgrade of equipment within the older
facility. The network’s two main production control rooms were alternately upgraded
to HD with the deployment of a Kahuna system. In operation since January, the
two Kahuna systems enable the network to provide a high-quality SD feed and to
get HD-capable control rooms to air prior to the network’s HD studio launch.
addition to providing format flexibility, the Kahuna gives our operators the
tools they need to produce increasingly complex shows in a highly dynamic
environment,” added Smereski. “Our production crews gravitated to the
Kahuna very quickly and were able to dive into production without any
limitations. They grew comfortable with the Kahuna in a very short time —
getting familiar with the switcher and setting up show presets quickly, despite
many other demands on the control room.”
Weather Channel is one of the most unique networks in this industry, having
pioneered a niche and excelled in bringing viewers the drama of weather news
worldwide,” said Joe Zaller, vice president of corporate development at
Snell & Wilcox. “Using the Kahuna to make a smooth, controlled
migration to HD, The Weather Channel is raising the bar for weather coverage,
delivering visually engaging programming with striking images and informative
graphics — all in the high-impact realm of HD.”

Password must contain the following:

A lowercase letter

A capital (uppercase) letter

A number

Minimum 8 characters


The Latest in Sports Video Production & Technology
in Your Inbox for FREE

Daily Email Newsletters Monday - Friday