DirecTV Uplinks With BBC Technology

DirecTV is once again tapping BBC Technology's Colledia control system to help it remotely manage uplink facilities being built in Oakdale, Minn., and Winchester, Va. The two facilities will help uplink TV-station signals as DirecTV continues its rollout of local services to more than 100 markets by year's end.

Coupled with the company's Castle Rock, Colo., and Los Angeles facilities, the new operations will allow DirecTV to uplink content in a fashion similar to the way its spotbeam technology is used for downlinking. Because of their geographic separation, they can use the same frequencies without interference concerns.

DirecTV began working with BBC Technology when it started its local-service offering. According to Executive Vice President Dave Baylor, the satellite-TV company recognized early on that it would need a lot of facilities spread across the country and associated MPEG encoders, reception equipment and signal-processing equipment to offer local TV signals.

The Colledia system will operate those facilities just the same as if they were manned, says Mitchell Linden, BBC Technology senior vice president, North American operations: "It'll help capture feeds, encode and monitor them, and check the quality of the multiplex."

Besides building the new uplink facilities, DirecTV is shuffling duties in its Los Angeles-based facility and Castle Rock plant. Baylor says the two facilities have shared management of local signals but, now that the local service is growing, it's best to consolidate responsibilities. Los Angeles will handle the cable channels, and Castle Rock will focus on the local channels.