Station Automation

Given bottom-line pressures, all TV operations are looking to do more with less. Automation can help. Here is a sampling of some of the top announcements that will be made at the NAB show. Interesting moves from Harris are likely as it integrates Encoda’s automation product line into the parent line.


Autocue is introducing a system that will make it possible to search media archives for spoken words or phrases without prior transcribing. The system, called QLog, is a low-resolution, disk-based MPEG output recorder that lets users review material as it is recorded. Uses include evaluating viewer complaints, proof-of-advertising playout, playback of competitor’s output and archive review. A more sophisticated version—QLog+—provides capture of closed-caption information, audio indexing and searching, the ability to “print to tape” and, as an additional option, to use SDI inputs instead of analog and Windows Media 9.


Look for a number of new features from Florical, including a tool that makes it easier to join a program in progress and handle ad-trafficking changes. A breaking-news feature makes it possible to roll breaking-news coverage automatically. Pre- programmed events—like the cut-in to the program, graphics insertion and cuts to cameras—can be programmed once, then rolled again and again without an operator. Also, a supervisory monitor system creates a timeline of multiple channels and shows resource allocation. It can move a tape deck or graphics device from one channel to another. Other new items include an interface for Pathfire’s system, and NewsGrabber, which lets the user grab news feeds with three clicks of the mouse: the source, the destination and the record device.


One of the challenges facing local cable and broadcasters is moving forward with digital playback while relying on legacy analog gear. Nexus from Leightronix is designed to solve that problem, providing multichannel digital-video playback and recording, digital messaging/signage, DVD/VCR machine control, and video/audio signal routing. It operates as a stand-alone device and is managed via network using provided WinNEXUS software. Drag-and-drop scheduling enables quick and easy playlist development, while device- and resource-conflict identification ensure error-free playback results. Nexus also has device control and an internal true-matrix video/audio switcher for signal management.

Omnibus Systems

Omnibus continues to develop products around its G3 architecture. The latest is the OPUS suite, a group of content-management products the company says will give stations a chance to better tailor a system to their needs. For example, it can begin with control under a single operational interface and then add more controls and interfaces modularly. And G3 Control station-management system provides device access, operation and management over distributed networks. Router control, machine control and integration with signal-process equipment are all available to local and remote users.

On-Air Systems

A master-control system for automated playout and live news production will be rolled out by On-Air systems. Dubbed On-Air playKast, the system includes remote scheduling, media browsing, automated playout and events monitoring, integrated multilayered graphics overlay, as-run logs, and management reporting. Also on display will be On-Air Kore (a scheduling, media-asset management and database- workflow-automation application), On-Air transKoder (providing automatic format conversion and mirroring of media files) and On-Air Kapture (integrating tape-based content and satellite and line feeds into a single application).

Sundance Digital

The FastBreak automation system gets some upgrades this NAB, including a new graphical user interface (GUI) and some of the elements found in Sundance’s Titan transmission-automation system architecture. A demo of Titan’s remotely controlling video servers and encoders via SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) will also be on display. And Sundance will roll out a feature for its NewsLink automation system that will control Sony’s MVS-8000A series production switcher.