What is Broadcasting Engineering?
Broadcasting engineering is the field of electrical engineering, and now to some extent computer engineering, which deals with radio and television broadcasting. Audio engineering and RF engineering are also essential parts of broadcast engineering, being their own subsets of electrical engineering.
Broadcasting engineering involves both the studio end and the transmitter end (the entire airchain), as well as remote broadcasts. Every station has a broadcast engineer, though one may now serve an entire station group in a city, or be a contract engineer who essentially freelances his services to several stations (often in small media markets) as needed.
Modern duties of a broadcast engineer include maintaining broadcast automation systems for the studio and automatic transmission systems for the transmitter plant. There are also important duties regarding radio towers, which must be maintained with proper lighting and painting. Occasionally a station's engineer must deal with complaints of RF interference, particularly after a station has made changes to its transmission facilities.
Broadcast engineers are generally required to have knowledge in the following areas, from conventional video broadcast systems to modern Information Technology:
* Video Standard / High Definition.
* Video compression - DV25, MPEG, DVB or ATSC.
* Television studios - Broadcast Cameras and lenses.
* Vision Mixers or Production switchers.
* Digital server playout technologies.
* Broadcast automation
* Disk storage RAID / NAS / SAN technologies.
* Archives Tape archives or grid storage technologies.
* Operating systems Windows / Linux.
* Post production Capture and Non-linear editing.
* RF satellite up-linking High powered Amplifiers.
* RF satellite down-linking Band detection, carrier detection and IRD tuning etc.
* Health and safety.
* Above mentioned requirements vary from station to station
In addition to traditional duties, the conversion to digital broadcasting means new facilities at (and to) the transmitter site, including new radio antennas and entire site relocations, and often the sharing of towers and even antennas among different stations. Broadcast engineers must now be well-versed in digital television or digital radio, in addition to analogue principles.
Digital audio and digital video have revolutionized broadcast engineering in many respects.Â Broadcast studios and control rooms are now already digital in large part, using non-linear editing and digital signal processing for what used to take a great deal of time or money, if it was even possible at all. Mixing consoles for both audio and video are continuing to become more digital in the 2000s, as is the computer storage used to keep digital media libraries. Effects processing and TV graphics can now be done much more easily and professionally as well.
Other devices used in broadcast engineering are telephone hybrids, broadcast delays, and dead air alarms. See the glossary of broadcast engineering terms for further explanations.
Broadcast stations often call upon outside engineering services for certain needs. For example, because structural engineering is generally not a direct part of broadcast engineering, tower companies usually design broadcast towers.
Other companies specialize in both broadcast engineering and broadcast law, which are both essential when making an application to a national broadcasting authority. This is especially critical in North America, where stations bear the entire burden of proving that their proposed facilities will not cause interference and are the best use of the radio spectrum. Such companies now have special software that can map projected radio propagation and terrain shielding, as well as lawyers that will defend the applications before the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), or the equivalent authorities in some other countries.