HITN Plans HD-Capable Master Control and Studio

Hispanic Information & Telecommunications Network is working on a new HD-capable master control and upgrading one of its studios at the channel’s headquarters in New York’s Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Chief engineer Javier Casilimas said the master control will go online April 15 and the studio upgrade will finish by July.

HITN is a private non-profit channel reaching about 22 million homes that focuses on educational and informational content for the Hispanic market. HITN has no immediate plans to launch an HD feed but wanted to be ready to offer high-def programming when operators are ready.

“Right now, the main operators are not looking at the Hispanic market in terms of high-definition programming,” Casilimas said. “They seem more interested in English-language HD programming. But we see the importance of high-definition programming for Hispanics and that is why we are moving forward now. We want to be ready when DirecTV or the other operators want an HD channel.”

The master control is being built around SeaChange storage systems and servers for standard- and high-definition playout and production.

Casilimas noted HITN was already a SeaChange customer and chose SeaChange’s Broadcast MediaLibrary/MediaClient platform because of the reliability of the equipment and because it was a very open system. It is compatible with the original equipment, making the transition must easier, and it allows them to easily move files through their production facility. “It is a very solid and stable system,” he said.

For the routing switcher, HITN is use Pro-Bel Freeway system 64x64.

Evertz Microsystems is providing its Evertz 3000MVP monitoring system.

Miranda Technologies is providing several key components, including the Miranda DENSITE system for analog and digital distribution and encoding and decoding for audio and video.

For the automation system, Casilimas turned to Sundance Digital’s FastBreak NX

HITN currently has two studios and will be upgrading its smaller 70 square foot studio first.

Vendors for that project include SeaChange, Eclipse, Yamaha, JVC, which is supplying three GYHD250 cameras, Thompson Grass Valley, which has sold HITN a Kayak-HD-200C switcher and Chyron Graphics, which is deploying the Chyron LEX2 system for graphics.

When the upgrade of the studio is completed in July, the channel will begin producing several programs in HD, including talk show Dialogo de Costa a Costa and new political show Destination Casa Blanca’08 that will follow the presidential race from a Hispanic point of view.