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PWCS-TV, Broadcaster for Prince William County Schools, Builds New Digital Operation Around Snell Solutions
Posted on Tuesday, October 6, 2009



Snell Routing, Automation, and Master Control Solutions Anchor Station's Migration to Digital Broadcasting


READING, U.K. — Oct. 6, 2009 — PWCS-TV, the dedicated television channel of the Prince William County School Division (District) based in Manassas, Va., has built its new digital broadcasting facility around Snell's state-of-the-art routing, automation, and master control solutions. The Snell equipment, including a Sirius router, the Morpheus automation system, and a Masterpiece master control switcher, provides a seamless routing, control, and playout infrastructure that has greatly improved the station's quality levels.


Broadcasting 24/7 on Comcast channel 18 and Verizon FIOS channel 36, PWCS-TV targets a diverse audience of parents, students, and employees throughout Prince William County, with a variety of locally produced programming as well as live satellite feeds and other content. When the school district recently moved to a new administration building, PWCS-TV used the opportunity to build a new broadcasting facility from the ground up to facilitate its transition from analog to digital operations. The station worked with Snell reseller The Whitlock Group to evaluate solutions and choose a suite of Snell products that would integrate easily with its Omneon media server and other components in the new digital infrastructure. 


At the heart of PWCS-TV's new digital operation is a 256x256 Snell Sirius router, which handles both HD and SD signals with embedded audio. The Snell Morpheus automation system provides seamless playout of all content elements for both PWCS-TV channels. In addition, PWCS-TV has implemented a Snell Masterpiece master control switcher and several modules from Snell's Vistek modular infrastructure range, which handle a variety of tasks such as analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion, audio processing, up- and down-conversion, and video processing.


"We are very satisfied with our decision to build our new facility around Snell routing and control solutions. The equipment was very easy to implement and the learning curve has been minimal — but most importantly, our failure rate has dropped to near zero. We're also experiencing quality levels that are at least three times higher than with our old analog operation," said Richard Shahan, administrative coordinator at PWCS-TV. 


"PWCS-TV is a good example of the types of challenges our broadcasting customers face as they transition to digital operations. The station needed a one-stop shop that could offer a comprehensive solution set for routing and control, that would be interoperable with other critical master control elements," said Neil Maycock, chief marketing officer for Snell. "No other vendor is better positioned to meet these types of requirements than Snell."