Broadcasting has set up two Barix distribution systems from its Breckenridge, Colorado facility: A point-to-point connection that streams live program audio to KRKY-AM in Granby; and a point-to-multipoint network that streams live program audio to five KCMV-FM booster facilities. The Barix Audio over IP distribution network uses Barix Instreamer 100 IP encoders and Exstreamer 100 IP decoders to deliver high-quality AM and FM audio. Barix BRTP software ensures low-latency for minimal program delays.
According to Matt Schilz,Chief Engineer for NRC Broadcasting, the switch to Barix from Qwest program audio circuits made sense for two reasons. NRC is saving nearly $2,000 each month in recurring costs since installing Barix, which requires only a high-speed IP connection to transport audio across the network. Barix was also the most affordable high-quality option compared to other multipoint audio distribution options for the mountainous region.
“Point-to-point microwave is completely out of the question for us considering that the number of relay sites we need would outnumber our radio stations, so Qwest program audio circuits were the least expensive solution we had for a while,” said Schilz. “We started looking at IP solutions when high-speed internet became available at our more remote sites, but many of the systems we looked at were tens of thousands of dollars in equipment costs. We tested the Barix hardware over a single path and determined they were very reliable for FM broadcast. It did exactly what we needed for a lot less money.”
Schilz has engineered what appears to be a unique distribution network for his FM stations. The program audio is encoded into mp3 at Breckenridge and streamed 70 miles to Denver where the company has a much larger chunk of bandwidth at its data center to support the network. An Exstreamer in Denver decodes the audio and pushes it to a second Instreamer. From there, remote Exstreamers at five other stations pull the program audio from a static wide-area-network IP address for immediate on-air broadcast.
“The Exstreamers pull the audio from the Denver Instreamer instead of Denver pushing the audio to five stations, which makes network setup easier,” said Schilz. “Setup of the Barix devices themselves is simple. The most important part is keeping up with firmware upgrades and new software.”
Schilz is planning to use Barix for live remote broadcasts in the near future, using Netbooks with data modems to communicate with cell towers. “Barix gives us a point-to-point solution to get remote audio from the field back to the studio over difficult terrain,” he said. “Windows Media encoders will push the streams back to the studio, where the Exstreamer will decode the audio for on-air broadcast.
All Barix products are inexpensive, low-power devices that are scalable to the growth of the operation; offer reliability through a PC-FREE design with no moving parts; and serve as a flexible platform for integration into virtually any operation requiring audio transport and delivery. Barix also offers its programmable BCL standard open to all customers to easily tailor applications for specific needs. Local control, audio relay, and low-latency streaming are a few examples of custom programs using Barix’s BCL software environment.