Michigan State’s WKAR Adds Comark 3.0 Solution

PBS member station WKAR Lansing, Mich., is on-the-air with a fully integrated ATSC 3.0 solution from Hitachi Kokusai Electric Comark.

In late 2017, WKAR ordered a 20kW Parallax UHF transmitter system on channel D33 to replace its existing and aging DTV transmitter.  WKAR’s Parallax transmitter was configured as a main-standby in 1+1 redundancy.  The transmitter was installed at the end of May.

According to Comark, WKAR is the country’s first PBS station to receive authorization from the FCC to begin broadcasting 3.0 and time-to-market was crucial.  In July, WKAR ordered a turnkey ATSC 3.0 solution, integrated by Comark Digital Services (CDS).  The system was fully delivered and on-air on the station’s Sept. 1 deadline.

CDS provided a fully integrated IP-enabled workflow of 3.0 equipment.  The solution includes the CDS powered by TitanLive software-based ATSC encoding solution configured with 4 HEVC encoded video services.  The solution also includes a Broadcast Gateway/Scheduler, which was configured to provide 3 physical layer pipes (PLP’s) that carry the various services.

The system was designed to be compatible with WKAR’s existing ROUTE/MMTP server.  CDS provided equipment integration, service level agreement, on-site installation and training services to the WKAR staff.

All Parallax DTV transmitters are ATSC 3.0 ready, and only require an ATSC 3.0 license update for the EXACT-V2 DTV exciter(s).  However, MSU project requirements included splitting the 1+1 transmitter configuration to create 2 separate 20kW systems.


One half of the TX system remains on ATSC 1.0 on channel D33 while the other half of the TX system needed to independently support the 3.0 system on channel D35, including a new RF mask filter system.

“Having already provided ATSC 3.0 equipment to Dish Networks, the OneMedia Dallas SFN, and the Cleveland field trial, CDS has been positioned just for these types of projects,” says Dick Fiore, president-CEO of Hitachi Kokusai Electric Comark. “Our team worked very closely with the staff at WKAR to provide the right solution and we are extremely pleased to be part of this very important milestone in the transition to NGBT.”

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