Broadcast Collection

LDC has developed and maintains an extensive system capable of collecting audio and video from satellite, CATV and off-the-air. The satellite reception facilities can address up to three simultaneous C-Band and Ku-Band satellite downlinks, as well as Dish Network and DirecTV satellite downlinks.

The C-Band and Ku-Band feeds are used primarily for DVB-S free-to-air and conditional access international programming from the Galaxy-19 and Galaxy IIIC satellites. The system currently includes 12 DVB-S satellite receivers, 12 Dish network receivers, one SCOLA receiver and one DirecTV receiver. In the case of Dish Network, LDC maintains subscriptions to a wide range of international channels. The signal reception component of the collection system also incorporates two ATSC receivers and six CATV demodulators, all of which are computer controllable. These tuners are dedicated to English programming for the Southeastern Pennsylvania broadcast region.

This array of signal reception equipment feeds a computer-controllable audio/video matrix switch that routes content from any receiver to video monitors, closed caption decoders and the recording node cluster. The cluster contains eight computers, each of which can record two simultaneous audio/video streams. AV streams are captured as DV25, along with closed captions, and are then processed to extract audio and compressed to MPEG-4. In total, the cluster can process up to 16 simultaneous audio/video streams, 192 hours of content per day.

A supervisor computer, with a customized scheduling database drives all collection activity, controlling receivers, audio video matrix routing and recording jobs. The system also incorporates eight TB of local storage, dedicated automatic speech recognition and multimedia transcoding systems, a 24TB LTO4 tape backup system, and two experimental logging systems which can be used to capture entire transponder transport streams from satellite downlinks. The broadcast collection system is highly modular, highly reliable and fully automatic

LDC has also developed and deployed two portable broadcast collection platforms outside the United States. Each is a TiVO style digital video recording (DVR) system capable of recording two streams of A/V material simultaneously. The platforms include integrated analog CATV (NTSC and PAL) and digital Satellite DVB-S reception components and support international specifications for recording broadcasts outside the United States.

The portable platform and the main LDC collection system share the same code base and rely on a modular, unified hardware specification. Improvements in the main collection platform therefore translate into benefits for the portable platform as well. The portable system runs Ubuntu Linux, using a WinTV-PVR-500 for analog cable and a Technotrend Premium S-2300 PCI DVB-S receiver for DVB satellite reception. dvbstream is used for satellite recording and ivtv is used for cable recording.