The history of broadcast automation over the years
Automation technology has been an integral part of the broadcasting production for the longest time. It involves the usage of broadcast programming tech for automation of the broadcasting operations. Such technologies for broadcast automation are used both at TV and radio stations, and these, can even function in the absence of any human operator. The basis of a new idea of any technology or production centers on how well it can be integrated in the operational workflow and this is where the modern tech for broadcast tech wins above all. However, it has taken a long way for the broadcast systems to reach this present stage. The history of evolution of the broadcasting system is both inspiring and interesting and here is a brief glimpse of it.
The early analogues systems
The earliest form of broadcast automation involved the use of electromechanical systems that utilized delays. These systems got computerized at a later point in time and helped in maintaining the schedule. But, this facility was limited to radios and not TV.
Music was stored on reels of the audio tapes and there were almost inaudible tones that marked the ending of the songs. The computer rolled this tape till the internal clock of the computer matched to a scheduled event. The scheduled event, which was generally adverts, used to start after the tape stopped according to the time. In the 1980s, the analog records were manufactured using Solidyne. Solidyne utilized a tape-positioning system for limiting the programming time to eight hours.
The modern digitized systems
The modern digitized systems run on hard disks. This is where all the voice tracks, advertisements, jingle, and music is stored. These files can be uncompressed or compressed depending on the extent of compromise allowed between quality and file size. For the radio software, the hard disks are usually stored in computers, sometimes having their customized operating systems, but mostly having their PC operating system or an application.
Scheduling was the most important advancement for broadcast automation software as the programs could be scheduled exactly on time. Some of the systems utilize the GPS satellite receivers to get the exact timing and perfectly synchronizing with the satellite programming. The network time protocol and internet protocol can offer reasonably exact timing. The automation systems can be highly interactive thanks to the modern console automation that can also record and play in live assistance mode.
Playout automation in television
An increase in the storage space of the hard drives has led to Playout automation becoming more practical than ever. The video servers can store all the shows and commercials and digital on-screen graphics. These are remotely controlled by the computers using video disk controlling and 9-pin protocol. These systems are very extensive and it can be tied in parts that allow the ingestion of the video from the satellite networks and the ENG (electronic news gatherings) management and operation of the video library. Even the advertisements are now automated to offer a personalized and customized experience to the customers.
Broadcasting automation as a technology has existed and evolved for years. It has evolved at a fast pace recently due to the importance it holds for the present economy. As the broadcasting facilities progress more in the future, there are still a lot of challenges that the industry needs to come up with solutions for. In the present situation, with the rate of technological advancement occurring all around, it is difficult to predict the future. The only thing that is assured is that the future for broadcasting is definitely going to be better and brighter.