Knowledge Network Optimizes Broadcast Workflow with Telestream

Knowledge Network—British Columbia’s public broadcaster—has based mission-critical aspects of its multi-channel broadcast operation on several key Telestream products for a more efficient, automated file-based workflow. Now tightly integrated within Knowledge Network’s broadcast chain, the Telestream workflow includes: a Vantage Transcode Pro system for file format conversions and media processing, two Lightspeed Servers for faster, GPU accelerated media processing, and two Pipeline HD/SD-SDI video capture and play-out systems.

Telestream“The reality today is that there are many operational and cost efficiencies associated with migrating to an automated file-based broadcast workflow, and that’s why we consider Vantage, Pipeline and Lightspeed to be vital to our business,” said Oliver Eichel, director of broadcast operations & engineering for Knowledge Network, in Burnaby, B.C., Canada. “The benefits of Vantage, Pipeline and Lightspeed are that this automated workflow lets us ingest and transcode multiple television shows and files at once, or cue a significant number of files to process overnight, which optimizes our multi-channel distribution.”

Knowledge Network operates a main (1080i ATSC) HD channel, a separate SD channel, as well as BBC Kids, a national children’s specialty channel, which is run as a joint venture with BBC Worldwide. Its broadcast schedule features a broad range of content—including documentaries, arts and culture, drama and children’s programs —which are licensed from over 30 different distributors worldwide. The challenge for Knowledge Network is that this acquired HD/SD programming—which can be received on videotape or hard drives in a wide array of file formats, frame rates, and time code—must be converted to a 50-Mbps broadcast master file for automated playout from a Harris Nexio server.

The Telestream products offer a multi-pronged solution to the pressing need to convert, transcode, merge and process incoming video files. For SDI content arriving on videotape, such as HDCAM, the two Pipeline servers perform file-based ingest, converting the video into DNxHD at 145-Mbps— the high bitrate house file format—or into Pro Res 4:2:2 at 147-Mbps. Vantage Transcode Pro then takes the Pipeline-ingested files, along with files received from distributors, and converts them all to the 50-Mbps LXF format required by the playout server. Vantage also takes high bitrate master files and creates low-res proxies that are sent to third-party closed captioning houses, so the necessary files can be generated using Telestream captioning software. When the finished caption files are returned, Vantage merges them with the high bitrate master video files as part of its overall workflow.

“We’re extremely pleased that Knowledge Network has chosen to base its essential video ingest and transcoding needs on our Vantage workflow,” said Paul Turner, vice president of enterprise product management at Telestream. “With the many workflow automation features we’ve built into these products, we’re confident that Knowledge Network can handle any file conversion or media processing task that may arise, and continually boost productivity while maximizing the return on investment.”

As one of only two English language provincial broadcast networks in Canada, Knowledge Network is a commercial free, 24/7 network watched by over 1.4 million viewers weekly. It’s primarily delivered via satellite to British Columbia cable systems as a basic, must-carry service, with a small portion of the audience tuning in via direct-to-home (DTH) satellite services. Since it began broadcasting in January 1981, Knowledge Network’s broadcast infrastructure has shifted from an analog, tape-based SDTV operation to all-digital HDTV in 2013, when it first began acquiring Telestream products. Implementation was completed in 2014.

The Vantage video processing platform provides a broad range of transcoding and file-based workflow automation products which scale from a single-server to very large, multi-server systems. Vantage makes content production, multi-screen delivery, and device interoperability a hands-off process. The Vantage platform brings transcoding, media capture, metadata processing, analysis, and content assembly into a unified system.

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