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Tech Briefs

KLRN's Big Kahuna

PBS member station KLRN San Antonio has purchased a Snell & Wilcox Kahuna switcher to help with its transition to high-definition and digital multicasts. The station currently has four multicast channels, and Ray Flores, KLRN director of production, says the Kahuna helps the station juggle multicasting demands without requiring additional personnel.

“It's the only switcher that has simultaneous SD and HD output, which means we also don't have to purchase [external] up- or down-converters,” Flores says. The station also has a complement of high-def studio cameras, Sony HDCAM decks and an HD-capable server.

Nat Geo Broadens Offerings

National Geographic Channel has created a new production unit in its digital media group to increase the amount of premium video content it makes available for broadband distribution. The group, headed up by Gil Pimentel, will create short-form video clips that will be available on MSN Video. Matthew White, Nat Geo executive VP, digital media group, says the unit will also deliver video to other broadband platforms.

Tandberg Active On Interactive

Tandberg Television, a developer of video-on-demand (VOD) and other video-distribution technology, is getting into the interactive-TV game. The company purchased GoldPocket Interactive, a Los Angeles-based interactive-services provider for networks such as CBS, Showtime and Court TV, for $78.5 million in a transaction expected to close in December.

The deal was a mix of cash and stock shares (Tandberg stock is currently trading about $11). Earlier this year, Tandberg purchased N2 Broadband, expanding its traditional transmission-gear business (such as encoders and satellite-transmission systems) into the VOD market.

NFL Shares Playbook

The National Football League is using IBM's “Digital Foundation” to let analysts on the NFL Network's Playbookand ESPN's EA Sports NFL Matchup programs access NFL coaching films via a PC. The IBM storage system sorts plays by type (offensive, defensive) and by statistics. Hosts and producers on the programs can select and send footage to an editor to be readied for air. The system uses IBM's TotalStorage SAN (storage area network) file-system technology and Linux-based servers.