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Seacrest Studios Comes to Cincinnati Children's Hospital
At the headend
The multiplexed audio and video signal moves onto to a simple Extron HD distribution amplifier: One feed goes to the in-studio monitor, a second is pushed the exterior studio monitor and a third feed is sent to a Blackmagic mini-converter. This is where the HDMI to HD/SDI conversion takes place, and from here the signal is transported to a general control room space and switching closet before being passed to the hospital TV headend - two buildings over and six stories up from Seacrest Studios.
To solve the problem of carrying the 720p60 signal over such a long distance, it is sent into an Extron HD/SDI to fiber converter and optically transported to the TV headend. There, it is de-fibered and converted back to HD/SDI before passing to a separate HD to composite converter, which conforms the studio signal for the hospital TV system.
The conforming is necessary as the TV system is currently analog SD 4:3 (though there are upgrade plans for digital and HD in the works). However, turning off the "letterbox' feature in the composite converter allows for a clean 16:9 display on in-room flatscreen TVs. This means that while HD content in the studio is downconverted to SD, signals are displayed in the correct aspect ratio for the TV sets even as SD analog instead of being automatically copped.
At the composite conversion stage, the HD signal also splits left and right analog audio. All three analog signals are then passed to a 25-year old Drake RF stereo encoder and a Drake modulator of the same age. The signal then passes through an RF combiner before being delivered to sets on Channel 33.
The overall effort represents the spirit of everyone involved in the project, from suppliers like Harris Broadcast, Comrex and BSI to the staff of Clear Channel Communications. These companies donated time and equipment to the cause, which is about stimulating the minds of patients in for treatment and encouraging optimistic thoughts through creativity and interactive experiences.
Clark is the chief engineer of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation. Rose works in Interactive Services at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.
Clarification about the studio furniture: The furniture was based on an original desgin by David Holland of Omnirax and modified by Nick Van Haaster from Harris Broadcast and built Harris Broadcast.
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