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Canada-based automation manufacturer MassTech is heading to NAB with a new approach that it hopes will reduce the investment needed for a station to automate.

"Stations are told they need to put in $125,000 systems that need to be upgraded or modified later," says Director of Marketing Joe French. "We're saying, build the infrastructure now at a low cost and then open it up in your own IP world with proper controls and security."

The MassTech approach is based on the company's NDCP Module, a dongle device inserted via 9-pin connector into the equipment (VTR, server, router, character generator, etc.) to be automated. With the device in the control port, the equipment can be controlled by MassTech software, which runs on a PC.

The core product offered by MassTech is MassControl, a software/hardware system that allows for the control of as many as 20 on-air channels.

"MassControl is designed to maintain status and events in the modules, and each module can hold up to 1,000 events," says French. "It is also the interface to the other applications."

MassTech also has two additional applications. MassStore works with video servers from Pinnacle Systems, SeaChange and Grass Valley Group to help manage nearline and archived assets. MassProtect provides a video-server loop delay to protect against on-air disturbance and failures. Those two systems can operate with or without MassControl.

The NDCP modules are compliant with Harris's Network Device Control Protocol (NDCP) and supports distribution control of RS422/RS232 serial broadcast devices. Connections between devices use standard IT infrastructure. French says that cost of a single-channel system ranges between $5,000 and $40,000 depending on configuration.