Ascent Media Looks to Uncompressed HD Transport in Big Apple

By Ken Kerschbaumer

In the latest version of “if you build it they will come,” Ascent Media Network Services, that built a video transport facility in New York City capable of moving uncompressed HD signals nearly two years ago, has finally found some customers looking for extra-wide pipes. And more customers are expected soon.

“DirecTV’s HD push has been the apex of HD deployment and now our facility’s full capabilities are being lit up and used,” says Peter Brickman, managing director of content distribution for North America for Ascent Media.

Ascent has equipped the location with an NVision NV8256-Plus expandable digital video router, featuring a 1.5 Gbps switching fabric and 160×160 input/output capacity. The facility also has been fitted with Tektronix WFM700 and WFM7100 series waveform monitors as well as Sony and Marshall HD video monitors to ensure advanced quality control of HD signals.

The companies that have signed on to use the 545 Fifth Avenue location’s uncompressed HD capabilities include Fox News, NBC and All Mobile Video. On July 4, the facility received, HD encoded, and up-linked to satellite a 14-hour uncompressed HD feed produced by NBC’s Peacock Productions in conjunction with The Travel Channel: a live, 4th of July celebration from the National Mall in Washington DC.

“The demand is for HD services and people are thinking twice about trying to get away with doing an event in SD,” says Brickman. “And while 1080p is the Holy Grail because it is the best agnostic format for global distribution the politics of 720pand 1080i has prevented it from getting there—yet.”