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Old December 19th, 2004, 08:05 AM   #1
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Broadcast from DVD

Not sure where this question goes . . .

Is anyone aware of TV/cable stations doing broadcasts directly from DVD?

I did a Google search and found lots of companies claiming to produce "broadcast quality DVDs" (whatever that might mean), but rather little information on broadcasting from DVDs.

I am interested in standards DVDs must meet, also in understanding how the process might work. Can one just plug a DVD player into a broadcast stream? Are there special broadcast DVD players? What kind of stations are most likely to broadcast from DVD?

Can someone please point me to online info that will answer such questions? Thanks.
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Old December 19th, 2004, 09:29 AM   #2
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I've not done it myself, but I know of two instances where I've been told that I could submit my final product on DVD -- but they were both for local cable.

One is the company that handles local cable advertising. I've been told that I can turn my ads in on DVD, instead of miniDV as I normally do. They have also started a system where producers can upload MPEG2 files directly to main office.

The other was a woman who does some low-budget "tea-and-cookies" shows for the local cable access channel (not really "public access" per se, since you have to buy your own blocks of programming time). She said she turns her shows in on DVD for them to air.

Now, they don't air directly from DVD -- they are transferred to whatever storage/broadcast system is in use; eg, hard disk or even possibly transferred to Beta or whatever.

I don't know if this happens on the broadcast/national level, but it definitely does on the local level. As for standards, I can guarantee that most of the local producers, as well as that lady, know probably next to nothing about authoring a DVD -- it's probably "High Quality" default setting and that's it...
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Old December 19th, 2004, 12:45 PM   #3
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Thanks John.

I am curious. Is there any noticible difference between broadcast quality of material you submit via DVD compared with what you used to provide on MiniDV?
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Old December 19th, 2004, 02:02 PM   #4
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Peter, as I mentioned, I've not done it myself. There is such a noticable degradation in quality from the miniDV I submit to the version they air, that I wouldn't take a chance with submitted an MPEG2/DVD unless I was forced to.
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Old December 20th, 2004, 07:12 AM   #5
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I volunteer at Access Fort Wayne, the public access station in Fort Wayne Indiana. I also produce shows for playback at the station. AFW recently installed a 400 DVD player (some Sony model) and have been accepting DVD's for direct playback. I submitted my most recent program on DVD and will see its playback sometime before New Years. I don't know much about the unit, but they require the DVD to autoplay. I use Vegas for editing and always use the Broadcast Filter to ensure NTSC compatibility. The MPEG2 is encoded with the DVD NTSC template.

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Old December 21st, 2004, 09:58 AM   #6
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There may be some local cable companies doing this with public access, etc, but for network broadcast and cable, no one is using DVDs for this purpose.

Also, the term broadcast quality has no meaning and never did.
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Old December 21st, 2004, 02:22 PM   #7
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correct me if Im wrong, but I dont think quality is the issue, it is more to do with how the cable stations operate. (considering you could shoot a commercial on miniDV , dub it to BetaSP and put it on air). Everything is timed out using the same decks (BetaSP or DigiBeta etc...). I'd be interested from hearing from someone who works at a cable station.
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Old December 21st, 2004, 02:54 PM   #8
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I think you said it best Brandon, we use particular set-ups in broadcast and DVD is not one of them.
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Old December 21st, 2004, 03:43 PM   #9
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Yeah, there's no real advantage to going to dvd when a dub can easily be made from the original source without doing any compression or changing any formats.

I haven't worked in the industry for too long, but all of my work has been for cable television, and I've never heard of dvd's being used to air programs. Every piece of equipment where I've worked has been tape based. DVD only enters the equation for data storage and authoring for public home video distribution.

DVD (MPEG2) video would never get past the QC department to air where I work now. But, I wouldn't be surprised if a "budget" local access channel used dvd as a cheap alternative.
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Old December 21st, 2004, 06:41 PM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by John Lee :
DVD (MPEG2) video would never get past the QC department to air where I work now. But, I wouldn't be surprised if a "budget" local access channel used dvd as a cheap alternative. -->>>


Local advertising here is handled by Comcast, and they have implemented a (as far as I know) national system for producers to upload MPEG2 video of their ads via a website. In any city where Comcast/Comcast Spotlight handles the advertising, local producers probably have this option for turning in their regional ads. The regional office in Norcross will also accept ads submitted on DVD.
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Old December 22nd, 2004, 12:52 AM   #11
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I think this is part of their major cost-cutting. They closed the local tech office where I would drop of DV tape. Now I either mail a DVD or DV tape to Sacramento or upload the MPEG.
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Old December 22nd, 2004, 08:54 AM   #12
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<<<-- Originally posted by Mike Rehmus : I think this is part of their major cost-cutting. They closed the local tech office where I would drop of DV tape. Now I either mail a DVD or DV tape to Sacramento or upload the MPEG. -->>>


I was talking to a regional independent producer (and dvinfo member, but I'll let them reveal themselves if they want) who says that Comcast's ultimate goal is to get rid of all the regional offices and have just one, central encoding/switching office (out of PA, or wherever) -- you would upload MPEG2 videos to them online and all routing for the whole nation would happen from that one office.

But isn't digital cable sent as MPEG2 video, anyway? If so, that would be another reason for them to want to switch to an MPEG2-based submission system...
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Old December 22nd, 2004, 09:23 AM   #13
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I'm pretty sure digital cable is compressed. The channels where I live look much better on satellite then on cable, but I'm not completely sure why.

Also, with respect to MPEG2 I was referring to actual programming, not ads. I have no idea what the standards are for local cable ad videos.

I've heard similar rumors about having central offices. There is one floating around where I work now about our facility going "tapeless" and having all our projects getting submitted to an uplink facility over an intranet through AVID MC files. Probably won't happen for awhile though.
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Old December 22nd, 2004, 10:13 AM   #14
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interesting stuff. My question is this: if Comcast is running a set of commercials during a show (Lets say 4 commercials during the break) and each one was submitted differently (1 via DigiBeta, 1 via DVD, 1 via miniDV, 1 via upload on website) does Comcast keep the submissions in their origional format for the broadcast or do they convert everything to one standard physical format. (example.. taking the Digi, DVD, and miniDV they recieve and uploading it to the website so all commercials are the same way etc.)
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Old December 22nd, 2004, 10:28 AM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by Brandon Murphy : does Comcast keep the submissions in their origional format for the broadcast or do they convert everything to one standard physical format. -->>>


Well, we're going way off topic here, but they do convert to a standard format/storage. I often get back my miniDV tapes while the ad is still on air. I have not had the chance to talk to their techs about this, but according to the local sales office, everything is transferred to a hard drive (Avid set-up or ???, I don't know) for broadcast.

In fact, when I first started doing ads, I turned in my first couple of spots as dv .avi files burned onto CD-R discs. They accepted the discs with no questions.
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