Case Study: AIC Enables Implementation of a SAS-Based Broadcast Media Archive Solution for KCET-TV, Los Angeles

Author: Alvin Ooi, Marketing Manager,
Advanced Industrial Computer

The fast-growing demands of media storage in the broadcasting industry pose a significant challenge to the industry’s IT professionals. The entire workflow process, from intake and production to play-to-air, requires massive storage capacities which are easily and quickly accessible. Streamlining the process of retrieving and restoring media, while maintaining IT overhead, is a key issue for industry broadcast media professionals. Their challenge is to find a large capacity, scalable solution that is fast, reliable and cost-effective.
Figure 1: The KCET-TV computer Room


KCET-TV serves Southern and Central California. It is watched by four million viewers a month in 11 counties, the largest broadcast reach of any public television station in the United States. Throughout its more than 40-year history, KCET-TV has won awards for its public affairs programming, drama and documentary productions, family and children’s programs, community services and local and regional news.

KCET-TV’s Growing Requirements
Like many other broadcast channels, KCET-TV’s near-line storage system could not meet the demands of the growing storage needs of its operation. In addition the system was cumbersome and the process of archiving data from on-line to near-line storage proved time consuming and costly, with some high-definition files taking nearly 60 minutes to move. From an IT management standpoint this excessive archiving time was inefficient and costly to the production process. A fast and cost-effective solution was a primary objective in streamlining the production process. See Figure 1 above.

The Solution
Advanced Industrial Computer (AIC) successfully participated with SeaChange to enable the implementation of a SAS-based broadcast media archive solution for KCET-TV, PBS affiliate in Los Angeles. To accomplish the task, AIC provided the SAS hardware (including the SATA drives), and SeaChange combined the AIC rack-mount server chassis and SAS storage JBOD technology with the Seachange near-line storage system software for television broadcasters. The addition of the SAS storage technology provided an accessible, fast and scalable solution to meet KCET’s growing production and play-to-air workflow needs.

KCET-TV acquired the new system expansion unit as the company’s near-line storage solution. The resulting solution is a cost-effective, fault-resilient system for broadcasters and it has benefited KCET-TV in all facets of computing including technical, operational and financial. See Figure 2 below.


Figure 2: Customized Server Chassis and SAS/SATA Storage Unit


From a technical standpoint, KCET-TV no longer requires an intermediate software solution. Instead, they utilize a Global Mobile Television (GMT) file to move data from on-line to near-line storage, minimizing time expenditures. GMT is a compressed media file designed for IPTV use on PC and mobile phones. The new system provides the robust performance, user-friendly interface and time-saving solution they were seeking, and has reduced archiving time by 75% due to SAS’ fast performance and SATA’s high capacities, increasing productivity significantly. The resulting system was a cost-effective, fault-resilient archive ideally suited to meeting the demands of the broadcast industry.

In addition to the time and cost savings, KCET-TV also benefits from an operational standpoint, as they now require fewer personnel despite the growing demands for high-definition in the broadcast industry. The operation as a whole has benefited as the system is easier to use, with much faster file transfer speeds for retrieving and storing media, plus adequate storage as a result of the system expansion. The AIC/SeaChange solution is working well.

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