In the wake of the announcement last week of the new image specification for all COVE videos, I wanted to provide some additional clarity around how COVE and Merlin (once completed) will work together and how the image specification will impact the ways that your content will be used in Merlin.

Three key points:

1. COVE video will automatically be fed into the Merlin database. There will be no need to upload the content twice -- the data will automatically pass from COVE into Merlin once you have published the content.

Because Merlin is designed to store content that will be used in many different formats ( modules, mobile applications, widgets, etc.), Merlin will need to store an image that can be sized at various different sizes. The best way to ensure that your image is the most appealing at any size is to upload a high-resolution image when you enter content into the COVE Admin Tool.

2. Image quality and resolution will impact your contents promotion on the homepage. While images will not be a required metadata element when Merlin is rolled out this Summer, our expectation is that any content element that is promoted on the homepage (in the DL strip, in the Featured content section or in the PBS video feature box) will include a compelling image.

The 1920x1080 pixel size was chosen in order to provide the most flexibility for these future products. We believe that the new spec will not need to be updated for many years.

3. Merlin may one day require high-resolution images for all content. There are not currently any plans to change the Merlin requirements for images, however as new platforms and devices are released, the requirements for Merlin metadata may change.  It is possible that any content without an acceptable image will either be excluded altogether from Merlin or will require a new image to be uploaded.

By incorporating a compelling, high quality 1920x1080 pixel image into your workflow now, you will avoid this scenario.


If you have any questions, please contact Matt Schoch at


  1. I'm not entirely sure that for things like blog posts that we'll have HD screen grabs available as they may not even be tied to a broadcast.  So by excluding those items from Merlin I think you may end up losing a wide swath of our site.  

    All in all I'm fine with the 1920x1080 thing, I'm just hoping for some sort of fallback when no amount of process changes will provide an image of such quality.

  2. I agree with Sam. I understand wanting to set a high standard early for future uses. But you need to have a fallback option for some content at least until Merlin comes online and we all get a better sense of our workflows and how our content appears on the site.

  3. To clarify, the image requirements described here refer specifically to COVE videos. Other Merlin content types, such as blog posts, may have different asset requirements.

  4. Matt Schoch AUTHOR

    Sam and John,

    We completely hear your point about images for Merlin, especially as it relates to things like blog posts. To reiterate, we have no plans at this point to change the requirements around images in Merlin. However, we think images are going to be an important part of driving traffic to your site and we want producers to make them a priority. As Merlin matures, we can foresee a possible future in which an image does become required metadata — with the understanding that some content won’t have the highest resolution image available.

    With this high-resolution image spec, we have tried to define a standard that will ensure maximum flexibility for the future.