Digital digs for WTVJ

Thanks to Hurricane Debby, wtvj Miami postponed the official grand-opening party for its new $20 million broadcast home last Friday. But everything else is running smoothly at the NBC O & O's 65,000-square-foot, all-digital facility, which has replaced tape with disk-based technology for everything but news acquisition.

Wtvj's disk-based facility was integrated by A.F. Associates. The station's commercials and syndicated programming play out from Tektronix Profile video servers that use DVCPRO compression at 50 Mb/s. Syndicated programming feeds are also recorded on the 50-Mb/s Profiles, controlled by Harris/Louth automation software.

For news acquisition, wtvj uses Panasonic DVCPRO camcorders. Hard-news editing is performed on Panasonic NEWSbyte nonlinear editors, with material then loaded for playout onto Profile servers using DVCPRO compression at 25 Mb/s. The station relies on newsroom-automation software from Avstar Systems.

"We air nothing on tape," says Director of Operations and Engineering Paul Russell. "Everything comes out of a server."

The station has an all-digital routing infrastructure that can support up to 360 Mb/s of bandwidth, using a Philips Venus router and Saturn master-control switcher. Other gear includes a Grass Valley Kalypso production switcher and Sony cameras, equipped with Vinten robotics, for wtvj's two 4,600-square-foot studios.

Although wtvj certainly has a facility ready for digital television, it has yet to launch DTV broadcasts. The station has filed with the FCC to relocate its DTV assignment.