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TV broadcasters go digital through storage networking

A growing number of TV broadcasters are moving to digital technology with the help of advanced storage networking technology. The benefit, to users, is increased speed and efficiency.

A number of television broadcasters, as well as the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, are getting a good view of what storage networking can do for the boob tube in the digital age.

Storage Area Network (SAN) provider Vixel Corp., Bothell, Wash., has penned an OEM agreement with Avid Technology Inc., Tewksbury, Mass., to integrate Vixel's 9000 Series 2Gigabit per second (2Gb/s) Fibre Channel Switches into Avid's next generation of non-linear video and audio editing systems.

Vixel said end users can recognize the increased speed and efficiency offered by 2Gb/s SAN technology, which can help reduce costs in labor-intensive application environments. Avid's products are used to produce television programs, CDs and major motion pictures.

Claude Lorenson, director of product marketing for Vixel said 2Gb/s SAN-based solutions enable in-line editing of uncompressed high definition television (HDTV) files.

The demand for new storage networking technologies like 2Gb/s Fibre Channel is being fueled by server bandwidth and scalability requirements for the video production and streaming/video-on -demand markets, Lorenson said.

The U.S. Senate passed a law recently requiring that all television networks broadcast in high definition by 2006. Last month, it announced it would upgrade its own internal video systems HDTV, using storage from MTI Technology Corp., Anaheim, Calif.

Real time access in the world of digital video editing is crucial and, according to Lorenson, uncompressed editing for HDTV requires the high bandwidth and throughput of 2Gb/s Fibre Channel technology.

Rupert Murdoch's Hong Kong-based Star TV news network is moving from tape to digital storage with help from DataDirect Networks Inc.'s Silicon Storage Appliance.

Star TV's digital production and broadcast network is a real-time facility that integrates news and satellite receiving systems as well as news program post-production systems into one interlinked environment.

Using the Silicon Storage Appliance as the backbone of its production environment of 28 Fibre Channel clients and 58 Ethernet clients, StarTV can now combine editing of news and video clips into one step - an advance that will cut costs and boost productivity, the company said.

The Silicon Storage Appliance supports up to 512 workstations and 180T Bytes of storage. According to DataDirect, that equals more than 700 hours of 50Mbit/sec MPEG2 content for real-time digital broadcasting.

Bob Woolery, vice president of corporate development, DataDirect Networks, said it's not just HDTV and streaming that are bringing customers to the storage buffet. Many broadcast organizations are turning to digital storage to replace older tape media.

"While [computing] power and bandwidth continue to grow, the most efficient place for network intelligence and management is on the storage network," said Woolery.

Woolery said 38% of DataDirect's business comes from broadcast and streaming media companies.

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


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I'll believe it when I see it. As soon as they get the speed up it always seems something grabs it and you are back to square one. I had 3M DSL and now have 100M cable internet and over the years see no real speed difference when surfing the internet.