How a Protection Switch Can Keep You On Air

How a Protection Switch Can Keep You On Air

Nobody can afford to go off the air. The spot has got to run. Home viewers want to see their programming. So, there really need to be two things in place for every broadcaster, ensuring that they can stay on air all the time. One is the backup feed. There is the main program feed, and there’s a backup feed coming in, maybe from IP or a satellite. The second thing is a smart protection switch. What I mean by “smart” is one that can drill down into the signal and provide some good info back to the engineering staff. For example, if it is an HD SDI signal, the smart protection switch is going to drill down and say, “Hey, that video is frozen.” Maybe it is frozen somewhere in the frame sync in the path, or audio has been silent for nine seconds. The protection switch can report that back to engineering. Or, in the case of a DVB-ASI stream, the protection switch is going to look at a particular program feed and maybe say, “Ah, there is a video PID missing,” or “There is a problem with the clock.” Maybe PCRs are missing or there is another issue with the PCR. A smart protection switch also should be able to report back by email or SNMP and give some type of an alarm that delivers useful info back to the engineering staff.

Oregon Public Broadcast comes to mind. They use our protection switches in line with their MPEG encoder. Their main program feed goes into the switch and then they have got a backup feed coming in on IP, so they always stay on air.

Satellite providers and movie channels can also benefit from a smart protection switch. We have got some customers in those markets and they may do something more traditional, like go to a trouble slide or similar, as a backup feed.

Every broadcaster needs a smart protection switch so they can always be on air.

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