THE TRANSITION TO PATHFIRE IS COMPLETE FOR ALL DESIGNATED SHOWS. FOLLOWING IS SOME BASIC INFORMATION FROM THE TRASITION. 8/8/07
Pathfire FAQs for Viacom Video Services
Q. Who is Pathfire?
At Pathfire, our customers are broadcast, cable, information and entertainment companies who
understand that delivering content in a digital format can offer many advantages in terms of cost
and efficiency. The Pathfire network allows customers to manage distribution of ads, news,
movies, syndicated productions, stock footage and other types of video content. Our highly
specialized, market-specific software application extensions can dramatically improve how our
customers use this content in daily operations. Pathfire serves major broadcast networks,
syndicators, advertising agencies, and leading media companies, who include ABC NewsOne,
CNN Newsource, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, PR Newswire Video News,
DWJ Television, News Broadcast Network, Point.360 (formerly VDI MultiMedia), and coming
this fall, CBS's Viacom Video Services, Paramount CTD/CBS Worldwide Distribution, and King World
Q. What is the Digital Media Gateway (DMG)?
Pathfire has developed a satellite-based IP (Internet Protocol) multicast store-and-forward content
delivery system to digitally transmit any form of broadcast-quality video to broadcast stations.
The system known as, DMG, is currently being used by ABC to deliver all of its NewsOne
affiliate feed service. Additionally, CNN is using it for its Newsource product, Warner Bros.
Television is using the service for syndication, and CBS's Viacom Video Services, Paramount
Broadcast Services, and King World Distribution will be using it for their syndication content in
the fall of 2004
Q. What are the benefits of the DMG?
Operational savings in manpower needed to move dishes, setup routers, load tapes,
record/QC/preview/prep programs and tape machine maintenance.
Long-term capital savings in tape machine replacements, router capacity and satellite
Desktop access to metadata, format sheets, content availability and other information
anywhere in the station makes Traffic and Programming functions reduces the need for
traffic folks in the tape room.
High quality digital delivery of programming – removal of the analog satellite
transmission step. The content can now remain digital from the content provider all the
way to your transmitter.
Q. Will the video quality I receive through the Digital Media Gateway be inferior to the current
method of delivery?
A. No. The video you receive on the DMG server is in a digital file format, and the source material
will be encoded at bit-rates equivalent to your current linear method of content delivery. The
difference is that the source material is first encoded into a file before it is distributed to your
location - A file-based delivery method ensures the video file(s) will be delivered in their entirety
and will not be susceptible to environmental conditions that can impact video quality in a linear
Q. As a current syndication customer, how will this affect me?
Syndication content arriving at your station will land on your store & forward server well in
advance of air. Having a dish fixed on IA-6 (formerly known as Telstar 6) and the Pathfire server
will allow your station to receive the syndicated content without the need for personnel to be
present. The DMG will help you streamline operations and improve efficiency, eliminating the
need to monitor and roll tape on scheduled satellite feeds.
Q. What is the deployment schedule for this syndication service? When will it be available?
Pathfire began the station surveys in June 2004. The first phase of customer installations began in
the Summer of 2004. Specific station installation schedules have not been determined at this time.
However, as the information becomes available, your content provider and Pathfire will share it
Q. Will Pathfire send a separate server for each type of content available to my station?
A. This single DMG Pathfire server handles many different types of content for your station. We
currently have agreements with content providers, news providers, and dub-and-ship providers.
Each content provider has its own data path and dedicated storage, so no content can be pre-empted
by any other content.
Q. Where do I install this new server?
A. If your station gets an additional server as part of this deployment, the best location for your
server depends upon your specific circumstances. However, Pathfire recommends that you locate
your DMG server in an easily accessed location (such as Master Control or Edit Control).
Dubbing stations should also be located in centralized locations for easier access.
Note that your station may not be receiving a new server. Based upon your stations' particular
needs and configuration, if you are currently an ABC, CNN or Warner Bros. station with a server
in place, an additional server may not be necessary. Please ensure that you fill out the survey
emailed to your station. If you have not received one or have difficulties accessing it, please
contact Pathfire at:
•E-mail: mail to email@example.com
•Toll free: 888-345-0489; Option 6
Q. How can I facilitate the smooth deployment of this new service?
A. To expedite the deployment of the DMG service, respond to the station survey in a timely manner
and indicate when you want to schedule the installation by contacting Pathfire:
•E-mail: mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. I work in the News department. Since there is only one Pathfire server in my station, is the
other content (syndication programming and National Spot commercial ads) coming into
that server going to impact my news content?
A. No. The single Pathfire DMG server handles many different types of content for your station, and
can process these simultaneously. Each content provider has its own data path and dedicated
storage, so no content can be pre-empted by any other content. So, the DMG can be receiving
syndicated programming and at the same time the news department users will still be able to work
with any of their news stories.
Q. Do you integrate with GV, Sony, Harris, or Pinnacle systems?
A. The Pathfire DMG currently integrates with Sony's BVW interfaces. Pathfire is developing file
transfer capabilities to various downstream play-to-air servers, news editing systems, and
automation systems, including Profiles (GXF), VDCP, MOS, and Flip Factory.
Q. When will this new Syndication service begin delivering content through Pathfire?
A. Viacom Video Services will begin delivering content in a test phase during the latter part of the
3rd Qtr. of 2004. Your station will receive test material when your DMG server is provisioned to
receive the syndicated material. Beginning 4th Qtr. of 2004, the syndication content will begin a
dual service, in which the same shows delivered in the current linear-based method will also be
delivered to the Pathfire DMG server. As stations become comfortable with using DMG for
syndicated material, the content provider will begin to phase out the linear-based method of
delivery of syndicated material. A detailed show transition schedule will be provided to your
station as the project progresses.
Q. How will the content be delivered to my DMG server?
A. The Syndication content will continue to be delivered via IA-6 (formerly Telstar 6).
Q. I only occasionally point my dish to IA-6. Do I need a dish locked onto IA-6
A. Yes, the Pathfire network requires a dish that is permanently looking at IA-6. You may contact
Pathfire should you require a fixed dish.
Q. Do I have to pay for a new Pathfire DMG server?
A. No, you do not. However, note that your station may not be receiving a new server. Based upon
your stations' particular needs and configuration, if you are currently an ABC, CNN or Warner
Bros. station with a server in place, an additional server may not be necessary. Please ensure you
fill out the survey emailed to your station.
Q. Who do I contact with questions about Viacom Video Services'
Syndication deployment? -
A. Questions for Pathfire should be directed to:
•E-mail: mailto: email@example.com
•Phone: 888-345-0489, press Option 6.
Questions concerning Syndication content should be directed to:
Technical Questions - Myra Cole, Viacom Video Services' Director of Technical Operations at5 (212) 975- 2728.
Paramount Broadcast Services 1-212-975-8139 Kingworld/Viacom Video Services: Karen
Buck at 212-975-7227
Q. What do I need to provide in order to activate the Syndication service on my DMG Server?
A. 1. Standard rack unit, 19 inches by 32 inches deep, up to 32 RU located in a central location,
preferably in your master control area
2. Surge- and spike-protected power to support the equipment, preferably on UPS with a 15-
minute minimum safe runtime.
3. Dedicated data-quality analog phone line (POTS line) for ISP back-channel connectivity,
or LAN connectivity through Pathfire ports to the Internet.
4. Permits or clearances for any construction and installation.
5. Station installation of RF drops to the receiver equipment, including cabling, IFL splits,
signal amplification, and termination.
6. Digital connectivity beyond the provided rack-length cabling between the DVB-IP
receivers, DMG Receive Server, 10/100 switch, DMG Series 300 Workstation, and your
station LAN/WAN workstations.
7. Two IP address on your LAN/WAN: One for the DMG Receive Server and the other for
the DMG Series 300 Workstation.
Q. What equipment will be provided for this installation?
The equipment deployed at a station for the Syndication project is dependent upon the result of
each station's site survey. Based upon your station's particular needs and configuration, if you are
currently an ABC, CNN or Warner Bros. station with a server in place, an additional server may
not be necessary. Please ensure that you fill out the survey emailed to your station so Pathfire can
finalize the equipment configuration required for your station.
Q. What kind of PC do I need to run the DMG client software?
To access the DMG client software from a LAN-connected PC, the minimum requirements are:
•PC: 233-MHz CPU with Pentium II Processor (or greater)
•RAM: 64-MB (or greater)
•Free disk space: 120-MB for software installation process
•Free disk space: 60-MB for software operation
•Operating System: Windows98 (or greater)
•LAN: 100-MB from the DMG server to the DMG client
Q. What types of VTRs work with DMG?
A. VTRs and VCRs communicate with Pathfire's systems by means of the standard RS-422 Sony
VTR protocol. If your VTR does not have Sony protocol capability, then simply use the DMG
manual tape deck control option, which can be configured during the installation process. When in
the manual tape deck control mode, DMG will prompt the user to manually control the VTR.
Q. What is unattended program delivery?
With the Pathfire DMG, the content arrives at the DMG receive server without the need to
actively schedule receipt of a feed, since the content is "caught" by the DMG server. Once
installed on the DMG server, the station can dub or transfer the content according their schedule
before the airtime.
Q. How long will the shows stay on my receive server?
Your local Pathfire receive server cannot be used as an archive server .The DMG receive server
has an application algorithm that is time-based. The timing begins when the show arrives on the
server. For shows that are distributed Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, the content will remain on
the server no longer than 48 hours after its' arrival on the server. For shows that are distributed
Thursday and Friday, the content will remain on the server no longer than 96 hours (to allow time
for dubbing of the weekend shows).
It is strongly recommended that you dub the content from your server soon after it arrives.
For your convenience, there is a pending delete feature on the user interface of the receive DMG
that displays all episodes and their pending delete status. Additionally, an icon will appear over
the episode name in the show folder approximately 4 hours in advance of any delete action to
advise the station user of the show's pending delete status.
Q. When will all the DMG servers be upgraded? We are still on an earlier version of the
A. The upgrade to Version 3.0 DMG, which includes the Viacom Video Services folder on the
Content Provider Panel, is now available. All DMG servers are upgraded automatically via
satellite, however you will need to update the individual client stations (your desktops, if
applicable). If your server has been upgraded, you will see an Upgrade Available button on your
main DMG page. Just click it and the on-screen instructions will walk you through the rest of the
upgrade process. If you do not see the upgrade button, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-
Q. Is documentation available?
A. Yes. You can download a PDF copy of the most up-to-date user's guide by going to the Pathfire
support site: http://support.pathfire.com/ and clicking Documentation. You will require a
password to access this which can be applied for though the website, contacting
email@example.com, or 1-888-345-0489.
Q. Which version of DMG do we need loaded to ensure we can receive the syndicated content?
Where do we get it?
A. The latest version is DMG 3.0. For a first-time installation, open your Internet browser and type
in the following web address: http://x.x.x.x/install/clientie.html (where x.x.x.x is your station's
server IP address). If you do not know your server IP address, consult your Chief Engineer or IT
department. Your station's server is automatically upgraded via satellite when a new version of
the software is available. However, should your station also receive news via the DMG, you may
update the newsroom PCs by clicking the Upgrade Available button and following the on-screen
instructions. If you do not have this button, your server may not have received the update, yet.
For more assistance, you may contact Pathfire technical support at 1-888-345-0489 or
Q. When will we get our user name and password to replace the one that was set up during the
A. The System Administrator at your station has control over the assignment of user names and
passwords. If your Administrator is in need of further assistance or for more information about
this process, refer to the Pathfire website: http://support.pathfire.com/
Q. Is there a way to move a show to the VTR icon shown on my DMG interface?
A. Yes. After opening the format sheet, drag the dubbing icon to the Destination window and drop it
on the destination device icon.
Q. How does the Pathfire format sheet differ from the one I am currently being faxed and can
I print it?
You will no longer have to depend on a fax for the timing, commercial, and show information as
you do now. The Pathfire format sheet travels with the content as part of the file. The frame-accurate
format sheet will include all the same information as the format sheet you are being
faxed now, along with additional notes if necessary.
It may be printed from the dub station associated with the receive server or any desktop that is
running the DMG 3.0 client. You must first have the format sheet open, and then either press the
printer icon on the toolbar or go to the File menu and click on the Print option.
Q. Can I separate the segments from the ads in the format sheet and dub them separately?
A. No, The DMG Syndication application requires that the segments and ads be dubbed together as
an individual or single entity.
Q. Is my show and format sheet frame-accurate?
The syndicated programs being sent via the DMG are frame accurate. The format sheet you see in
the application has the in-points and durations stated for each segment and ad and are frame
accurate. The Pathfire system knows the exact in-point and duration of every segment and
commercial in a program, hence it can deliver frame accurate format sheets to the stations.
Q. Are the audio channels from the hi-res clips, split, stereo, or mono?
Audio is delivered to users in the same format it is sent by the content provider and is show-specific.
Q. How long does it take to dub?
Dubbing occurs in real time. However, with DMG 3.0, the application provides the ability to
begin dubbing syndicated programming before the show has finished downloading to the dub
station, reducing the total time needed to dub content and allowing broadcasters to efficiently
manage their workflow. Depending on your network speed, a certain portion of the program is
downloaded and cached on the dub station so that dubbing can begin while the remainder of the
show is downloaded in the background.
Q. To which devices can we dub?
A. The Pathfire server is capable of outputting analog and digital signals to all video devices. For
downstream integration options, refer to the Pathfire support site: http://support.pathfire.com/.
Q. What about dubbing to servers/profiles?
A. You have the ability to play back SDI video directly into these servers. For downstream
integration options, refer to the Pathfire support site: http://support.pathfire.com/.
Q. How can I ensure frame-accurate dubbing?
To ensure frame-accurate dubbing of syndicated programming, it is necessary to configure the
VTR appropriately to accept Vertical Interval Time Code (VITC) from the Pathfire DMG Server.
Specific information may be found in your Pathfire Syndication Receive Guide. You can
download a PDF copy of the most up-to-date user's guide by going to the Pathfire support site:
http://support.pathfire.com/ and clicking Documentation. You will require a password to access
this which can be applied for though the website, contacting firstname.lastname@example.org, or 1-888-345-
Q. When you transfer the show to a VTR or other device, does it remove the show from the
A. No, it saves the episode information in the list in the application. However, there is a 48-hour
period from the time the show arrives on your drive in which to dub. The "store & forward"
concept of this application is not to retain the shows on this server.
Q. We're dubbing into a server; can more than one person dub at the same time?
A. The number of people you are limited to depends on the number of Pathfire dubbing stations you
have. Most stations have just one dubbing station and so they are able to make one dub at a time.
Q. My station currently uses the Pathfire DMG for News. Do I still have to upgrade my
Yes. In order to receive all the benefits of the upgrade for news and syndication, your server will
require the upgrade to DMG 3.0Pathfire will upgrade your server. Without an upgrade, the
syndication content provider panel will not be visible and you will not be able to access the
syndication content for Viacom Video Services.
Q. When will the linear analog feeds be discontinued?
A. An exact date for the linear feeds to discontinue has not been set by the content provider. Stations
will be notified on a show-by-show basis before these feeds are discontinued.
Q. Do we use the same log in IDs and passwords for Viacom Video Services as we do for ABC,
CNN or Warner Bros.?
A. Yes, the same user names and passwords will apply but depending on your user's access set-up
certain users may not have access. You can download a PDF copy of the most up-to-date user's
guide by going to the Pathfire support site: http://support.pathfire.com/ and clicking
Documentation. You will require a password to access this which can be applied for though the
website, contacting email@example.com, or 1-888-345-0489
Q. Can you watch the video before dragging it over?
Yes, you can perform a high-resolution preview prior to dubbing by simply double-clicking on the
Q. Will wires interface with other systems such as Avid?
A. Interface modules are available directly from Pathfire. For a full list of these modules and further
details, refer to the Pathfire support site: http://support.pathfire.com/. For any other technical
questions, you may contact Pathfire technical support directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-
Q. I'm a current news user of the Pathfire DMG; can I build a media list using the syndication
Media lists are currently a feature in news only. Syndication and news applications, while similar
in many respects, vary in the number of and complexity of features. News DMG features are
more "news-centric" and Syndication DMG features are more "syndication-centric".
Q. How does the DMG 300 series workstation fit in?
A. The Pathfire DMG 300 series workstation is the dubbing station where you dub your syndication
content video to tape, server, etc.
Q. What version of DMG do I need to use the Syndication service?
A. DMG 3.0 will have the current version of the syndication folder in the content provider panel. It
will be set up as Viacom Video Services.
Q. What impact will adding the Viacom Video Services syndication content have on my existing
A. The single Pathfire DMG server handles many different types of content for your station, and can
process these simultaneously. Each content provider has its own data path and dedicated storage,
so no content can be pre-empted by any other content. So, the DMG can be receiving syndicated
programming and at the same time the news department users will still be able to work with any
of their news stories.
Q. Will all my syndication shows be delivered using the DMG? What version of DMG do I
need to use the Syndication service?
No. Some day/date shows will still be delivered via linear analog or digital satellite feeds. A
complete list will be provided by your content provider when available. DMG 3.0 will have the
current version of the syndication folder in the content provider panel. It will be set up as
Viacom Video Services.
Q. The only show(s) that I carry are day/date and will not be delivered using the DMG. Do I
still need to install the Pathfire DMG system?
A. Yes. Currently, the DMG is only being used for store-and-forward content but at some date in
the near future, it may be that promos, refeeds or other content components may use the DMG.
Q. If the Pathfire service fails, how will I receive my content?
A. You will be provided with an IRD and splitter for the same satellite you are using to receive
Pathfire delivered content. If you are unable to receive the content via Pathfire, you will be
instructed to receive the content via this IRD, another linear method, or by tape delivery.