Broadcast Engineering: Definition & Overview

Instructor: Marcia Wert

Marcia has taught Information technology and Mathematics with a master's degree in IT

Explore how broadcast engineering helps you to listen to your favorite radio or TV programs. Discover how this field guarantees that TV and radio shows, advertisements and live performances are fully enjoyable.

What is Broadcast Engineering?

I've sure you've seen a television program or listened to a radio show in your car, but have you ever wondered how they get to your TV at home or car radio? This is where broadcast engineering comes in.

Local Station

Broadcast engineering is a broad field, which encompasses information technology, electronic and electrical engineering, network control, and broadcast knowledge. In the media of radio and television, the primary responsibility is to guarantee that shows, advertisements and live performances are on time and fully enjoyable by audiences. It touches even those sports arenas with live performances of the games that we love. Now that we know what it is, let's take a look at the many facets of this field.

Information Technology

Broadcast engineers, in radio and television, must be able to install, repair and troubleshoot hardware. Since every aspect in our lives is touched by computers, the broadcast field now revolves around computers and digital content also. Several operating systems (Apple, Linux, Microsoft) are employed in this field; therefore, broadcast engineering has intermixed with information technology.

Another aspect of broadcast engineering is signal synchronization. The clarity of a digital signal is monitored continuously and not just the audio portion. The visual signal for television is also scrutinized. It is not abnormal to have the signals first go to a local station then to a satellite where it is beamed around the world. Both signals must be in sync or it will disrupt our viewing. I'm sure we've all seen where a person is talking but the mouth is not moving in sync with the words.

Network Control and Information Management

Network control and information management are important to broadcast engineering as well. It is not uncommon to have your own network to monitor and facilitate transmissions rather than employing an Internet Service Provider (ISP) to connect to the Internet. Design of these systems or networks for broadcasting require planning and you to have a higher level of knowledge. You'll need to use mainframe computers (computers that perform millions of calculations in a second) to enable smooth transmissions, store digital information and control digital signals, since they preform far above your traditional laptop.

For example, CNBC employees their own servers (a device or software that allows others to store files and retrieve them on the Internet), satellite connections and Tier 1 servers in order to produce network connections that span the world. The broadcast engineer was needed to design and implement this system so that everything works properly.

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