PBS Selects Sencore for WARN Act Tech

Sencore has announced that it is working with PBS to deliver technology for PBS's Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act compliance project.

As part of that effort, Sencore is supplying a configuration of its MRD 3187B Modular Receiver and the Sencore Transport Data Injector (TDI 3000), a customized groomer solution that was developed for PBS.

The equipment will be used to enable PBS, its member stations, Public Television (PTV), and Non-Commercial Educational (NCE) stations offer next generation of Emergency Alert Services.

As part of that effort, PBS will create a redundant connection from FEMA to commercial mobile service (CMS) providers for the delivery of geotargeted emergency warning text messages to cellular telephones across the United States.

"Our partnership with Sencore is key to PBS's fulfilling its role in this new emergency alert service and the 3187B is a critical piece of the project," said Aaron Silverman, communications director for the PBS WARN Project. "Sencore's state-of-the-art technology will allow us to build and support a seamless and reliable framework for incorporating WARN telecommunications transmissions into participating stations' broadcast streams with absolutely no disruption to the television signal."

Passed by Congress in 2006 and set to go live in 2012, the WARN Act, along with the FCC's 2008 Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), establishes a system by which CMS providers transmit geotargeted local or national emergency messages to their subscribers' cell phones.

In order to provide a redundant transmission path, the CMAS requires all Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)-qualified NCE television station licensees with a full-power digital television license that receive their programming from the AMC 21 PBS Satellite KU transponder 22 to carry these messages in their broadcast transport streams.

Redundant MRD units will be deployed at each master control remote transmitter site for all public television stations, where they bring in the WARN emergency alert messages via satellite transmission from PBS.

From there, the receiver passes that data to the TDI 3000 via ASI or IP transport stream. The TDI 3000 then injects the WARN message into the broadcast stream in five minutes or less, without affecting broadcast service.

The MRD configuration includes four RF inputs that can be independently configured with one active at a time. The unit supports transport stream rates from 1.5 Mbps to 160 Mbps, a full graphical Web-based user interface and a number of other features.

In addition, the MRDs have been outfitted with a second Ethernet control port that allows continuous connection both to the local member station's local area network, as well as to the PBS network operations center's national interconnect.

"With the deployment of the MRD systems at PBS member stations around the country, we are pleased to be continuing our role in helping PBS deliver this vital service as part of the U.S. emergency alert system," said Thomas Stingley, executive VP, sales and marketing at Sencore, in a statement. "Working together, the MRD and TDI 3000 units offer the proven reliability and effective broadcast signal delivery that PBS needs to build a future-proof infrastructure for WARN transmissions."