Sinclair chooses Vertigo for WBFF Baltimore subchannel

Sinclair Broadcast Group has purchased VertigoXmedia’s Xstation, “channel-in-a-box” solution to launch a new DTV subchannel at WBFF Baltimore. In addition, Sinclair will implement similar Xstation-driven subchannels later at its other stations to maximize revenues from surplus bandwidth in the DTV spectrum.

VertigoXmedia is a Montreal-based provider of broadcast graphics software and hardware.

“Our goal is to utilize this technology to handle all our long-form and short-form playout during the broadcast day and, at the same time, be able to brand the station’s subchannel,” said Del Parks, Sinclair’s vice president of engineering and operations. “Vertigo debuted its Xstation at the perfect time—it met all of our criteria for price, quality and ease of operation. We look forward to getting this first subchannel on the air, learning from the process, and then repeating it in our other markets.”

The TV broadcast industry’s analog-to-digital conversion provides each station with 19 megabits of broadcasting bandwidth, but an HD signal requires only about 13 megabits, leaving enough room for a separate SD broadcast on a DTV subchannel. While these secondary signals can be utilized to generate additional revenue, broadcasters are trying to hold their initial investments and ongoing production costs -to a minimum to make the business model succeed.

According to VertigoXmedia, Xstation lets stations create, schedule and air complete DTV subchannels incorporating national, regional and hyperlocal content. Built on the VertigoXG graphics engine, it features the same template-driven functionality as Vertigo’s Xmedia Suite. By linking graphics templates to live data sources such as AP, Bloomberg, and STATS as well as local and networked files, databases, and Web feeds, Xstation allows graphics to be created with little or no manual intervention, allowing subchannels to operate with minimal staffing.

At WBFF, Xstation will be used to provide the complete automation and media playout system including all video, audio and graphics for a new channel airing on WBFF’s secondary DTV spectrum. Xstation will provide up to 500 hours of long-form clips, advertisements, and promos and will render all of the channel’s branding graphics, bugs, EAS, tickers, and headline crawls.


It will be directly integrated with the OSI traffic system at WBFF to ingest the daily log, generate the automation playlist, trigger and render the playout, and generate an as-run log for traffic reconciliation.

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