North Dakota public broadcaster moves to digital microwave

Prairie Public Broadcasting of Fargo, N.D., has purchased Controlware Communications Systems network adapters to help it move from analog microwave transmission to digital microwave transmission.

Prairie Public Television is broadcast on nine analog channels—KFME 13 Fargo, KGFE 2 Grand Forks, KBME 3 Bismarck, KSRE 6 Minot, KDSE 9 Dickinson, KWSE 4 Williston, KJRE 19 Ellendale, Winnipeg Cable Channel 3, and Brandon Cable Channel 2—and eight digital channels featuring the same programming broadcast on analog channels, plus Prairie Public Television HD programming and additional PBS content.

“Our Controlware ATM adapters allow us to make efficient use of available bandwidth and provide a simple, affordable, and reliable interface between our digital microwave and digital MPEG encoding equipment,” said John Peterson, operations manager at Prairie Public Broadcasting. “We’re a state network with a lot of links, and the Controlware gear has been ideal because it offers two-way audio and video transmission capability, making it easy for us to monitor our remote transmitters, distribute content, and get return feeds back from our remote studios.”

Controlware’s network adapters support various digital interfaces to video CODECs including SDI, DVB/ASI, DVB/SPI, E3, DS3, E1, and T1. The company says they bridge the gap between professional video applications and the demands of error-free, high-speed transmission with delivery at variable bit rates depending on the quality of the picture and/or the bandwidth required for a given output.

By providing flexible transmission of multiple ASI streams, Controlware adapters allow Prairie Public Broadcasting to distribute programming through the network as well as to monitor remote cable feeds and the station’s seven analog and eight digital transmitters serving all of North Dakota, parts of eastern Montana, northwest Minnesota, and southern Manitoba.

The implementation of Controlware ATM equipment also positions Prairie Public Broadcasting to meet the requirements of the 2-GHz relocation project mandated by the FCC, requiring broadcasters to upgrade their transmission facilities for operation within the 2025 MHz to 2110 MHz range.


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