MTI makes its way to Capitol Hill

By 2006, all television networks will have to broadcast in high definition. To set a good example, the U.S. Senate is one of the first to convert and has brought in storage technology from MTI to do it.

The United States Senate is putting its money where its mouth is by upgrading its internal video systems to high definition television (HDTV), and it is using storage from MTI Technology Corp., to get there.

The Senate, which passed a law requiring that all television networks broadcast in high definition by 2006, is starting the process in its own house.

According to Tom Atkins, a spokesperson for TGS Inc., a Chantilly, Va.-based video systems integrator, the Senate asked his company to develop a system that could accommodate both HDTV and standard-definition video and could easily be scaled with added storage capacity.

"We initially went to normal broadcast manufacturers, but they didn't have a system that could do both high-definition and standard definition," said Atkins. "They couldn't make them both work on the same banks of hard drives."

TGS came across MTI in the course of researching storage systems from EMC Corp. Atkins said MTI provided its solution at a half the price EMC was asking.

As part of the process TGS will incorporate a high-capacity Vivant SAN from MTI into the new video server/asset management system it will install in the Capitol.

"HDTV requires massive amounts of storage," said Atkins.

Atkins said the new TGS system will allow Senate staffers to search for stored digital video via a browser on their desktop computers, where they can also play back the selected video and generate edit lists.

The shared storage capability will allow video editors to use parts of this array for storing their own materials.

Eventually, Atkins said, the TGS/MTI system will be used to feed the 24-hour C-Span television network.

The configuration includes four pairs of dual RAID controllers, drive bays for as many as 96 disk drives, and 16 switched Fibre Channel connectivity ports.

Atkins said the Vivant is storing 11T Bytes of data or 109 hours of video, which is supplied to 400 desktops. He predicts that 1000 desktops will be supported before the implementation is completed.

The House of Representatives will reportedly undertake a similar HDTV upgrade in the near future.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor

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