Telemundo Preps HD Newscast

Telemundo recently put the finishing touches on a new HD-capable control room in its Hialeah, Fla., facilities. The move will serve two important purposes. It allows the network to begin producing its daily newsmagazine show, Al Rojo Vivo, in highdefinition on Oct. 4. And after that, Telemundo plans to go hi-def with its nightly newscast, Noticiero Telemundo, sometime in the fourth quarter, hopefully before the midterm elections.

But the importance of the upgrade goes far beyond the technical completion of the control room. Over the next several months, Telemundo will be adding a second HD studio for sports programming. It will also be deploying a new digital content management system that will allow the Hispanic broadcaster to move from tape to a file-based workflow. This will make it much easier for the news division to deliver content to the online and mobile platforms that are so heavily used by Hispanics to communicate with friends and relatives all over the Americas.

Laying the groundwork

“From a technology standpoint, I would say our first HD control room is more than just the launch of one control room,” notes Ken Wilkey, Telemundo’s senior VP of network broadcast operations. “It is really the start of an HD revolution in our infrastructure [that lays the groundwork] for a content management system that is going to be very helpful for news, sports and digital operations because it will finally put everyone on one platform, from editing to archives.”

Key equipment for the HD control room includes a switcher from Ross Video, graphics from Chyron, terminal gear from Miranda Technologies, audio equipment from Euphonix, studio cameras from Sony, lenses from Canon and servers from Omneon. Telemundo is also upgrading its satellite facilities to handle HD feeds.

Telemundo has decided that the second HD control room for its sports department will mirror the control room just completed for news and use the same vendors. The broadcaster has not, however, selected a supplier for the content asset management system, which it hopes to install by the end of the year.

“We are about to wrap up the evaluation process and make a commitment to a vendor,” Wilkey notes. “It is a big undertaking and a huge leap for us because today we are still running tapes down the hallway.”

The control room design helps instantly by providing producers with a great deal more flexibility. Among other features, a large video wall allows the producer to customize where the various camera feeds and video inputs will appear.

“The Miranda multiviewer [that controls the video wall] lets them lay out their sources on those walls in a way that works best for the show,” notes Derek Bond, Telemundo’s senior executive VP of studios and broadcast. “If you wanted certain cameras or video sources displayed on the wall in different places than they were in the previous show, you can easily change the layout. In the old days, people built the control room custom for the show, but now we’re building rooms so they are more flexible and [the show’s crew] can easily customize the room to their needs.”

That flexibility will be further enhanced in upcoming months, as Telemundo moves to a file-based workflow and potentially automates parts of the news operation. Automation was a major reason for using the Ross Video equipment, according to Wilkey.

“When we looked at our control room, we knew we needed the flexibility to run a manual operation as we do today, but that at some point we wanted to be able to add that automated element,” he explains. “Ross allowed us to easily do that.”