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The everlasting struggle: pc vs mac (but (maybe) with a twist)

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Sebastian Plamadeala
The everlasting struggle: pc vs mac (but (maybe) with a twist)
on Jan 23, 2008 at 4:42:25 pm

Good day,
I know, the topic is old, opinions vary, etc. But what happens when it all the pros and cons must be taken into account to decide on equipment for a tv station?

I have read a ton of articles about macs and about pc's, so i know the ups and down on both.

Here's the thing though. I never saw a factual comparison of the two. A table containing times of render (workstations with almost the same configuration, component brand not important), the capabilities, the workflow issues, the stability (and WHY is it more stable, does it depend on the user, the version of the program, etc), and last but not least, performance/price ration.

I admit, i am not asking your opinion just to contribute to the world, i also have the terrible task of choosing between the two systems, and why i chose one over the other. (with, specs, etc).

I am an it-guy, i know a render can depend on a lot of things, the pc components have tens of different brand manufacturers, windows is not as stable as we would like, mac is the most stable of them all (linux not included:), and all the known things. But i never saw any hard on facts comparison between the two, just that "one has a thingamagic that is better then the other, i like etc", but again, never something centralized, nothing just in one place.

I know, it would take month,years to do it properly. System configurations change on a monthly bases, but can't we come up with something close to an attempt?:)

Yes, it would help me out extremely, my boss being somewhat of an as..ole! :)

He wants to know what can he get in the broadcast room, the playout system i mean, he used pc in the past, but they kept crashing.... he was playing out with PREMIER!! ( wich i kind of stupid to do, its not exactley broadcast software:) ) and now he saw another tv station using macs for playout. "they're so stable, they get lots of praise".

I admit, i'm a pc man myself, because i like to play with the insides of my pc, and to know exactly what and why some things work and others not.

not a question of FCP vs Premiere vs other.

Just mac or pc in the MCR (master control room), in the editing rooms, everywhere.

Price is higher on mac, i know, but to my experience, a pc beats or equals the macs performance and is twice as cheep.

Software accessibility, again, pc scores.

But we remain on stability of the playout and broadcast graphics station. mac or pc? how do you guys make your playout?

(He dosn't care or know about the dedicated broadcast playout stations or turnkey solutions, because he is afraid of them and dosn't know that they exist. He was a former MCR chief and a former comunication officer in the army...so...stubborn, narrow minded, arrogant, likes to show who's the boss...


So, yes, i am begging for some help/insight.

Thank you for existing,
Sebastian







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Sebastian Plamadeala
Re: The everlasting struggle: pc vs mac (but (maybe) with a twist)
on Jan 23, 2008 at 4:46:13 pm

P.S: got a mac for testing from apple romania, two xeon dual core at 3 ghz and 2 gb ram, final cut pro preinstalled. i must say, its render time is much slower than a quad core q6600 pc with 2 gb ram...



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Dave LaRonde
Re: The everlasting struggle: pc vs mac (but (maybe) with a twist)
on Jan 23, 2008 at 7:38:16 pm

[Sebastian Plamadeala] "He doesn't care or know about the dedicated broadcast playout stations or turnkey solutions, because he is afraid of them and dosn't know that they exist."

That's too bad, because there are good reasons why digital broadcast playout systems exist, and reasons why broadcast equipment manufacturers make them.

They work.
They're reliable.
They're made with broadcasters' special needs in mind.

My TV station is currently undergoing a physical plant conversion from an analog-digital mix to all-digital. I don't know for certain which broadcast manufacturer's server-based playout system has been selected. I think it's Grass Valley. It might be based on a Mac operating system, or it might be based on a Windows operating system, but I can assure you that it will NOT run commonly-available application software, and it will probably have some specialized hardware, too.

If you feel you must build your own playback system, feel free. but we're not going to take chances with the one piece of equipment that will make or break our station operations. We're going with an equipment manufacturer who has been through this before. A broadcast equipment manufacturer.



Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV


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Sebastian Plamadeala
Re: The everlasting struggle: pc vs mac (but (maybe) with a twist)
on Jan 23, 2008 at 8:35:35 pm

I know about their playout systems. pretty good.

We are actually building the tv station now, so everything will be brand new, all the infrastructure built from the ground up, so that's why i am asking opinions from people who know what they are talking about. Call it an assurance that i am not the one insane in the tv station:).



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Dave LaRonde
Re: The everlasting struggle: pc vs mac (but (maybe) with a twist)
on Jan 24, 2008 at 12:19:19 am

I probably should have said something more:

If you want a good system, you're going to have to find a way to make your boss curious about looking at broadcast equipment. The guy wouldn't accept a home-made gun if he had to go into combat, so why does he want to accept a home-made playback system for broadcasting?

That's your REAL challenge. Not this "Mac vs. PC" nonsense.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV


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Sebastian Plamadeala
Re: The everlasting struggle: pc vs mac (but (maybe) with a twist)
on Jan 24, 2008 at 7:07:45 am

I agree with you 100%. I said i know that each system has its ups and downs, and that broadcast equipment is broadcast equipment.

I started this topic because i a forced into this debate, and here's the challenge. I am just discussing this possibility.

Thank you,
Sebastian




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Del Holford
Re: The everlasting struggle: pc vs mac (but (maybe) with a twist)
on Jan 24, 2008 at 1:53:52 pm

We transitioned to all digital in 2001. Our switcher rides on a Windows 95 OS. Our character generator rides on a Windows 2000 OS. Our audio board rides on a Windows 98 OS. Our Master Control switcher rides on Windows 2000 OS. Our edit systems ride on Unix OS.

All of those systems are broadcast equipment and have functioned for 6.5 years with only a few minor glitches. The character generator had a RAM hiccup. The switcher gets confused now and then and we have to reboot. Most of these systems are now end of life or nearing it. Our audio board had a component failure not related to the PC. Our broadcast server was replaced with a GVG K2 recently, which quadrupled our storage and improved ease of use.

The systems available now are more tightly and component integrated and use either Windows XP or Mac OS-X. The only place you'll get PC vs Mac discussion is in editing systems. The software for either OS has been greatly improved and is a matter of user preference. I had a custom built PC graphics computer for 6 years and the motherboard failed. Now I have a MacPro and it isn't any faster or better, just different. (I'm not a command key fan)

So, like Dave said, get your boss to look at broadcast equipment or the success of your station could be in doubt.

Del
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS3
Charlotte Public Television
del_edits@wtvi.org


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Gilbert Leb
Re: The everlasting struggle: pc vs mac (but (maybe) with a twist)
on May 29, 2008 at 1:37:16 pm

Hi,

coming back from NAB in Las Vegas there is a change onoging in the world of broadcasters.


Compared to other IT areas the old boys had a very good time in argue that for real broadcast you need a lot of black boxes for a lot of money.
But now this also will be attacked by standard hardware and standard software.

It depends of the whole concept and layout of the TV station. Does the viewers really see the difference if the play-out comes from a K2 or an Xserve if it's stable and sync?

For upcoming TV station it's worth to think about to spend more money in content creation than in a lot of boxes nobody can see.

They only can get commercials booked when their content will be better than all other channels.

The viewers turn on the TV because of the content. It's really possible to run a TV station fully based on MAC, beginning from the commercial issues as administrate your clients, write your offers, plan your program, do your editing on FCS, manage your content with Final Cut Server and do your playout with e.g. BUG.tv. Everything is running on Quicktime, no file conversion necessary.

Put the money in the content or an special business model as current_tv did it.

In the moment we are bringing on air current_tv in Italy. This concept of Al Gores TV station has shown it that you can run a TV station on standard hardware.

Happy broadcasting

Gil



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