San Francisco, CA (October 3, 2005)–Current, the new cable and satellite TV network founded by former Vice President Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, launched from a newly built facility on August 1. Headquartered in San Francisco, the state-of-the-art facility was jointly designed by Current’s engineering and operations team and Ascent Media Systems & Technology Services.
Part of Ascent Media Network Services (AMNS), Systems & Technology Services handled the integration and implementation aspect of the project. Additionally, AMNS is providing comprehensive transmission services for the new channel, the first network designed by, for, and with an 18-34 year old audience.
Presently transmitting in SD (standard definition), Ascent Media based Current’s technical facilities around a DV format infrastructure capable of easily upgrading to HD playout. The elaborate Broadcast Center houses a full-scale satellite downlink antenna farm, in addition to master control, ingest, production and audio control rooms, post-production suites, one audio finish and three video finish rooms, and an insert stage. The network relies heavily on Apple equipment including Pro Tools for audio and Final Cut Pro for video. The entire facility is server-based, only using tape for media that is acquired on tape. The San Francisco facility is digitally interconnected to a Current stage in Los Angeles that produces programming on a daily basis for the network.
Current specializes in short-form programming (what it calls “pods”), which are usually three to seven minutes long. Content includes the hottest trends in technology, fashion, music and videogames, to pressing issues such as the environment, relationships, parenting, finance, politics and spirituality. Roughly one-quarter of the programming is viewer-created content, or what Current refers to as “VC2”.
“Part of the advantage of building a new network from scratch is that you get to abandon the old conventions of how to run a TV network and innovate in every way, including the technical infrastructure,” said Mark Goldman, Current’s COO. “Ascent Media’s expertise and design input were critical to building out the facility, which is the first fully digital, tapeless facility of its kind in the country.”
Ascent Media Systems & Technology Services