Broadcaster Magazine

Leitch/Harris Secure HD Foothold in Canada and International Broadcast Industry

When Harris Corporation acquired Leitch Technology last year, the Toronto-based company was integrated as a business unit of the Harris Broadcast Communications Division (BCD) in Ohio. While Harris is a well-established name across the broadcast industry in television transmission equipment, software systems and networking solutions, Leitch has long been a leading provider of high-performance, SD/HD solutions for professional digital video – with a particularly strong foothold across the Canadian broadcast industry.

“Leitch has been firmly entrenched in the Canadian marketplace for nearly 35 years, and we are strongly aware of the role that Canada has played in the overall success of the company,” said Tim Thorsteinson, president of the Leitch Business Unit of Harris BCD. “Harris also has a significant investment in Canada – in Montreal, Calgary, and now with the Leitch Toronto facility. As part of Harris BCD, Leitch will continue to provide broadcasters with the products they need to transition to high definition, but with the added resources and global scale of one of the world’s leading broadcast hardware and software suppliers.”

Today, the complementary Harris and Leitch portfolios have combined to form a comprehensive offering of SD/HD products that address every segment of the content delivery chain through creation, management, distribution and delivery. Scaling from individual point products to full design and deployment of an entire operation, Harris “Total Content Delivery” solutions are designed to enable customers to achieve greater productivity, reduced costs, new revenue streams and assured communications as they deliver content to their consumers.

Following are some of the highlights of the company’s HDTV portfolio:

Content Creation

A full range of SD/HD graphics solutions is available through Harris’ Inscriber product line, and the flagship product of the new Inscriber G-Series¿ is set to debut at NAB2006. An HD/SD-selectable character generator (CG) system, the Inscriber G3¿ delivers maximum ease-of-use, a wide variety of key functionality and the ability to interface seamlessly in an automated or news environment.

The Leitch Velocity¿ editing software has been tightly integrated with the Leitch NEXIO¿ server platform to deliver a range of new SD/HD editing options. Both based on the powerful and flexible

Velocity¿ user interface, the two newest systems are the VelocityNX¿ full-featured SD/HD promotions craft editor for NEXIO¿ environments; and the VelocityXNG¿, an SD/HD news editing system designed for journalists to use as a portable news desk in remote locations.

Content Management

For transmission and newsroom environments, the NEXIO¿ HD video server integrates the first software-based agile codec for high-definition video, allowing baseband high-definition record and playback, while supporting up- and down-conversion of content for simulcast applications from the same shared storage file system. With agile codec technology making changing system compression formats effortless, the NEXIO HD server provides a flexible, cost-effective solution for broadcasters making the transition to high definition.

Harris offers content management software solutions including ingest, automation, traffic and billing, program scheduling, digital asset management, agency software, and the enterprise-class H-Class Content Delivery Platform.

The Icon¿ family offers a full suite of SD/HD master control and branding products to meet every customer application. Based on the Leitch NEO¿ modular platform, IconMaster¿, combines critical master control functions with multi-layer integrated branding and can be combined with other advanced applications to create a complete plug-and play-system – all in the same frame. IconStation¿ is the first branding solution to combine logo insertion with multiple real-time data fed crawls and a squeezeback DVE for maximum channel branding impact. Also NEO-based, IconLogo¿ is a modular branding solution designed for channel branding applications such as time/temperature, still/animations, audio clip playback and text crawls for breaking news.

For HD conversion, a range of high-quality, compact solutions are available to meet every application and budget, including the standalone Leitch X75¿ Multiple-Path Converter/Synchronizer, as well as modular conversion products for both broadcast-quality and utility applications in the Leitch NEO and 6800+ platforms. New options and feature enhancements to the award-winning Leitch X75 will be introduced at NAB2006, including a hardware plug-in module for MPEG4 streaming for monitoring purposes; a video-to-audio timing measurement tool to help maintain lip sync through multiple conversions; Dolby® E encoder; and 32-channel audio module with eight AES I/O.

OPTO+¿, a full range of new fiber products in the Leitch 6800+ platform, delivers top-quality, easy-to-use fiber solutions in a minimal amount of space. OPTO+¿ features a unique architecture that provides natural cost advantages to both system-wide and individual application solutions. Maximum efficiency is enabled through the platform’s ability to mix and match technologies, with all fiber modules able to operate simultaneously alongside any processing and/or distribution modules within the 6800+ frame.

Also available are software and hardware products that provide advanced local and remote monitoring and control of Harris and third-party SD/HD equipment. NUCLEUS¿ is a new, next-generation, user-configurable real-time control panel designed to centralize the operational control of processing, branding and routing products. Offering improved access to device control parameters, a superior, user-friendly display to improve overall operation and a higher degree of customization, NUCLEUS provides users with a powerful and versatile set of control and monitoring capabilities to deploy within any workflow.

A suite of precision SD/HD test and measurement instruments is available through the Videotek® product line, including the new Videotek VTM Series¿ – a fully customizable, multi-format, multi-function test and measurement console. The first system of its kind, the VTM Series enables users to choose from a list of video and audio options to create the ideal precision test instrument for their specific environment. The field upgradeable VTM Series features a sleek 1RU chassis, tactile-feel lit controls and intuitive navigation and outputs to any VGA monitor featuring the patented Videotek Q-See¿ customizable display. The Videotek TVM series – which includes the award-winning TVM-950HD multi-format, HD/SD-SDI monitor with integral, high-resolution color LCD display – will offer a new TVM-Eye 2 option that creates HD/SD eye pattern monitor with jitter meter.

Content Distribution

The combined portfolio offers SD/HD routing solutions to meet small, mid-sized and large routing applications. For small routing, the Leitch Panacea offers an extensive selection of matrix sizes and signal formats (from analog audio/video to HDTV), along with powerful built-in control features and numerous options, allowing customers to purchase a cost-effective router tailored to their specific applications. Panacea was recently honored by Frost & Sullivan with the 2005 Market Leadership Award for the World Broadcast Small Routing Switcher Market. For mid-sized routing, the Leitch Integrator and Integrator Gold route all signal formats in the same frame and are available in configurations up to 128×128. For large routing, the new Platinum line offers high-quality signal routing up to 256×256 in 15RU and 512×512 in 28RU, supports a mix of any signal type in the same frame and delivers significant technology advances in reliability and control and monitoring.

For customers requiring an HD multi-viewer, the Leitch NEO SuiteView is a highly scalable (up to 44 inputs in 3RU), modular multi-source display processor with unique auto-sensing input
s that support a wide range of signal formats including HD-SDI. Fully integrated with the Leitch Command Control System (CCS¿), NEO SuiteView allows users to create a customized, system-wide monitoring solution tailored to their operation. Enhancements to be introduced at NAB2006 include a new, graphically rich GUI that greatly enhances setup and operation, as well as new discrete audio and alarm features.

Harris also offers solutions for network connectivity through its multi-service video networking product, NetVX¿, which targets television station owners and group operators that are addressing critical video distribution applications such as improved bandwidth efficiency for increased multi-channel operations, enhanced high-definition (HD) services, disaster recovery, event support, remote newsgathering and IP-based video transport.

Content Delivery

In the area of content delivery, Harris will introduce advances in its digital transmitter offering at NAB2006, including a new control cabinet for its line of PlatinumCD® VHF digital TV transmitters. The new Platinum® will feature an integrated Harris eCDi¿ enhanced transmitter network monitoring and control system, making the Platinum® a truly intelligent transmitter capable of being added to any facility-wide network.

Also debuting at NAB is the Atlas¿ Series UHF ATSC transmitter, offered in five power levels from 1 to 12 kW. The Atlas¿ ATSC is a liquid-cooled, solid-state transmitter that gives customers an alternative to the tube transmitters offered in digital at these power levels.

Harris’ PowerCD¿ high-power UHF ATSC transmitter, which combines high-efficiency depressed collector Inductive Output Tube (IOT) power amplifiers and efficiency-boosting exclusives, will also be showcased at NAB2006 in a single-cabinet build.

Don Bezenar is Vice President of Sales, Canada, Leitch/Harris Corporation.