DSWiki: Delivery Specifications

Commercial Delivery Specifications from Broadcasters

Please note All of these specifications have been placed on this Wiki with the following caveat:
These specifications may be wrong they are subject to change and broadcast outlets have been known to change specifications at the drop of a hat. Use these guidelines as a general rule and please verify the broadcaster's delivery needs in advance.

One good resource for deliverables via file is DG Fastchannel who can offer specifications before you use their service.

DG Fastchannel specifications are as follows:
[Note: specs in brackets/bold are from a spec sheet sent by DG to John Heiser Dec. 2009]

Encoding MPEG-2 [MPEG-2 Program Stream]
Min 10 Mb/s [no minimum mentioned in Dec09 specs]
Max 25 Mb/s [no maximum mentioned in Dec09 specs]
Preferred 25 Mb/s [total 18MB/s]
Scanning 480 60i (upper field first) [interlaced lower field first]
Pixel Aspect Ratio 0.9
Aspect Ratio 4x3
Chroma 4:2:2 (MP@ML) (720x480) [if captioned, must be 720x486]
GOP All Allowed, IBBP preferred [9 frame GOP]
Frames per second 29.97 (NTSC)
Stream Type Program Stream
Audio-MPEG-1, Layer 2 384kb/s Stereo
Audio-Dolby AC3 NA
AVG Digital Audio Level -17dBfs [Average digital audio levels must range between –17dBfs and –20dBfs - (Analog: 0dB @ +4dBm ref) -- Digital peaks between -10 and -12 (analog +3 max)]
AVG Analog Audio Level +4dBm
Luminance Level Max 100 IRE
Chroma Level Max 120 IRE
Setup level 7.5 IRE
Timecode Non Dropped Frame

[10 seconds bars/tone; 5-10 seconds slate, followed by at least 2 seconds of black between slate and spot]

As an IMX format can be generated straight out of DS, it seems like a good thing to send to DG if you have the bandwidth to allow for such low compressed files to be sent to them. They (DG) will repack it into another 4:2:2 format once they get it - this time with P and B frames - depending on where it's going.

CBS Network Master Spec sheet 2004 - 2005 (Added 05/18/2007)

Fox Network Commercial Spec sheet from September 2006 version 1a (Added 05/18/2007)

ESPN Commercial Delivery Specifications from January, 2006 (Added 05/18/2007)

For ESPN: 720p/59.94, preferably on DVCProHD. Bars, Tone, 5 second slate at 59:50:00 DF. If it's a spot, solid :30. If it's a piece that will be rolled in, 2 seconds pad up front, at least 5 seconds out. SD downconverted Center Cut. All titles and graphics within SD title safe. Mix, mix minus 4 channel output for master. Clean, 4 channel split for generic. Channel assignments 1) SOTs 2)NATs/SFX 3/4) Stereo Music. (Editor's note: If ESPN is your client, ESPN has international channels where they run advertisements as well. They want a version without voiceover so that commercials may be re voiced in the local language. If someone other than ESPN is your client, they will want mixed stereo audio on channels 1 and 2. ESPN is not set up for 5.1 surround sound.)

(Thanks to Sean Stall)

PBS 2007 Technical Operating Specifications | (PBS 2007 TOS Appendices) | Link to PBS Online Redbook (added 10/24/07)

APT SD Exchange TOS | APT HD Exchange TOS | Link to American Public Television Online (added 10/24/07)

HGTV and Scripps networks specifications (added 09/06/2008)

Sound on ESPN and ABC:
(From the List by Tom Edwards 05/16/2007)

From ESPN's web site:
In order to make the most of ESPN HD, look for a receiver with the SRS Circle Surround logo on the faceplate. ESPN HD uses this encoding system for their 5.1 surround sound track! Dolby Pro-Logic and Dolby Pro-Logic II decoders will also be able to produce a surround sound effect with the ESPN HD audio track. Also make sure your receiver bears the Dolby Digital and DTS logos to make the most out of all of your DVD movies.

From SRS web site:
Circle Surround delivers 5.1-surround sound in an Lt/Rt two-channel playback format. This means live television and radio can be delivered for playback and broadcast in 5.1-surround over existing stereo infrastructures. The Circle Surround-encoding process allows for the transmission and delivery of 5.1-encoded programming through virtually any broadcast chain.
For live television programming, Circle Surround not only enables the transmission of a 5.1-encoded mix over a standard definition ("SD") stereo broadcast, it also provides mono, stereo, four-channel LCRS (Left, Center, Right, Surround) and 5.1-surround compatibility in a single delivery standard with no delay introduced. Circle Surround -encoded material passes straight through existing stereo infrastructures without requiring a change in equipment. For broadcasters currently mixing in surround for high definition ("HD") delivery, Circle Surround can be used on the SD feed, enabling 100% of audiences with home theater systems to enjoy surround sound.

From a Mix Magazine article interviewing Jim Hilson of Dolby Labs:
ESPN, which like ABC is owned by Disney, also doesn't use Dolby E. (Recently, ABC dissolved its remote operations unit and turned everything over to ESPN.) To get the audio from ESPN's trucks to the network, the network uses a completely different method of encoding: SRS Labs' Circle Surround matrix encoding. In fact, Scalise's original system for delivering surround used SRS' technology for the entire signal chain — from truck to living room. “It was the simplest way to transport the audio and still be compatible,” he says. “It can be decoded with Circle Surround II and with Dolby Pro Logic II, as well as Neural Audio's decoder. It's a stereo signal until it's told not to be by a decoder.

From the DS List (DF 05.14.07)
ABC only accepts hd-d5 720p, not SR, and if they follow the same specs as espn (which they own) will only accept stereo, not surround for audio.

NBC does accept hdcam SR 2 channel w/ Dolby Pro Logic II preferred, but will accept stereo on 1&2 as well

Revised: Dec 15, 2009 10:33 am