After launching a high-definition signal in 1998 and local
HD news in 2007, Dispatch Broadcast Group's WBNS-TV continues to expand its HD
infrastructure at its Columbus, Ohio,
facility, which also houses the company's Ohio News Network and 10TV Productions.
The company deployed a Snell Kahuna switcher for the launch
of WBNS's HD newscast in 2007. Last year, it deployed a second Kahuna for its 10TV
Productions division and ONN, noted WBNS/10TV director of engineering Pat
Ingram. ONN currently only offers a standard-definition feed to operators.
This year, major steps in the path to an all HD infrastructure
will include upgrading their infrastructural wiring, upgrading the news computer
systems, deploying new HD editing system and installing a new Omneon Spectrum
server, Ingram said.
No firm timetable has been set for the completion of the
project or launch of an HD feed for ONN, but Ingram expects the facility to be
fully HD-capable in 2012.
On the camera front, WBNS currently owns around 33 Panasonic
P2 HD cameras. Ikegami HD high-definition studio cameras are used in the
station's news studio.
ONN, however, still uses standard-definition Ikegami cameras
in its studios. Sometime in 2011, Ingram said, he expects them to be upgraded
A vendor has not yet been chosen for the project. "We are
looking at four different camera companies now," Ingram said. "We've always had
good luck with our Ikegamis, but there are a lot of good manufacturers out
there. Sony and Panasonic are both making smaller, very affordable studio
packages and those may be the answer for the kind of production that ONN does."
After the camera upgrades, Ingram said, ONN will also need
to upgrade its analog audio infrastructure.
WBNS was one of the first stations in the U.S.
to choose the Kahuna switcher for the 2007 rollout of its HD newscast, said
Ingram, because at the time, it had "best transcoding equipment you could find."
The Kahuna switcher could also handle HD and SD simultaneously,
making it cost-effective. It also allowed WBNS "to deliver our HD broadcasts
without having to purchase expensive upconversion systems or adopt a more
complex workflow," he noted.
When asked what he would tell other stations that are
upgrading to HD, Ingram cited the importance of doing thorough research and the
need for close attention to basics, such as wiring.
"When you are working on an older building where there
is a lot of older analog infrastructure, don't try to layer everything on top
of the older analog infrastructure," he said. "Don't try to use the old wiring,
always replace it and use wiring that will able to handle the new SDI and HDI
bandwidth issues you'll come across."