Blazers aim for HDTV sports channel launch
The Portland Trail Blazers announced plans for the summer launch of Action Sports Cable Network (ASCN), a high-definition cable TV sports channel. As a commitment to HDTV, ASCN will build a 53-foot, state-of-the-art HDTV truck, the only one of its kind west of the Mississippi River.
Programming on the 24-hour, 365-day sports channel will include 25 to 30 Trail Blazer games, Seahawks pre-season games and Portland Fire games. In addition to the anchor programming of Paul Allen's professional sports franchises, ASCN intends to present extensive coverage of Oregon and Southwest Washington collegiate, high school and community athletics. ASCN will also pursue agreements with other major colleges and conferences to televise a variety of athletic events from across the country.
ASCN has entered into an agreement with Sony Electronics to provide equipment and integration facilities for the studio and truck. The studio, valued at more than $10 million, will feature full HDTV production capabilities, including four HD cameras, editing, audio production and graphics. Instant access to program elements will be provided by HDTV server technology developed in Oregon by Grass Valley Group, and advanced audio production equipment will offer Dolby 5.1 surround sound. ASCN will use satellite delivery for distribution of its signal to cable and direct broadcast satellite systems throughout its territory.
The expandable 53-foot HDTV truck will roll with 12 HDTV cameras, 11 HD tape machines, a 144-input digital audio mixing console with Dolby 5.1 surround sound, and the same Sony HD switcher being deployed in the studio. The monitor wall will feature 55 HD monitors and three 42-inch plasma displays, to give producers and directors high-quality monitoring capability. An additional 40 HD monitors will provide images to audio, tape and graphics personnel.