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Cox Invests in Digital Newsroom

The Cox TV station group has signed a multimillion dollar deal with Avid for the supply of Avid products for use in newsrooms at six of the group's stations. And more Cox stations will be on the Avid to-do list in the future.

Sterling Davis, vice president of engineering for the Cox Station group, says that the ability to solve workflow issues led to the selection of Avid's Unity server and NewsCutter editing systems for use at the stations.

"This will allow smoother operations so that people who are writing and producing the newscasts can oversee a lot of the process themselves," says Davis. "The stations won't have two different groups of people working on the same project and trying to communicate with the iNews system."

The stations getting the gear are KIRO-TV Seattle; KFOX-TV El Paso, Texas; WFTV(TV) Orlando, Fla.; WJAC-TV Johnstown, Pa.; WTOV-TV Steubenville, Ohio; and WSOC-TV Charlotte, N.C. Five of the six stations will use Avid's Unity storage system as well as the AirSPACE play-to-air server and Avid NewsCutter systems to edit stories for airing (KFOX-TV only received some upgrades). WTOV-TV also added an iNews system that allows for low-resolution browsing of content on the Unity system. The other stations are already using the iNews newsroom system.

"We don't have to drive a broadcaster to high or low resolution as the products can go either way," says Adam Taylor, Avid vice president of American sales operations. He says that a station typically wouldn't require the iNews system unless the amount of content stored on the Unity is more than a few hundred hours. Five of the six stations will only require about 200 hours of storage obviating the need for iNews.

The stations will acquire video in the DV25 or DV50 video format and then move the material onto the Unity system using Avid's XDeck. Taylor says various types of NewsCutter editing systems will be used and that Avid's Adrenaline DNA system will also be used, allowing the stations to process uncompressed SD video over a single FireWire cable.

"It takes advantage of the advances in CPU processing," adds Taylor.

Other components in the deal include MOS integration and other Avid productivity tools designed to improve station operations.

"Five years ago everyone was looking for an editor from one company, storage area network from another and playback device from a third," says Taylor. "But that has gone away as customers have understood that this stuff is complex."