Date posted: May 13, 2015

Integrated solution removes the headaches of procuring content and licensing, while simplifying deployments and operation through a fully networked system

StoreStreams is debuting this week at the 2015 NRA Show with a compelling case for restaurants, foodservice and hospitality businesses seeking an all-in-one, branded in-store radio service.

StoreStreams simplifies the traditional patchwork of systems and components to deliver branded music and advertising. Instead, the StoreStreams model brings together the network infrastructure, audio systems and licensed content—the latter of which saves content providers and businesses months of legal headaches and costly fees. Delivered together with a simple front end user interface for content management, the complete StoreStreams platform simplifies the launch and operation of a multi-site in-store radio system, and delivers a quick return on investment for businesses.

“We are intent on delivering a single platform with all the tools needed to launch a profitable in-store radio service,” said Will Schmidt, vice president of sales for LineQ, a Minneapolis-area distributor that brings together the audio playout systems. “With no disparate elements and the freedom of comfortable month-to-month contracts, businesses can focus on customer service while enjoying the benefits of a branded, monetized streaming audio service.

StoreStreams brings together the music catalog and network intelligence of XYZ Stream Hosting, a specialist in live, multiplatform content delivery with a robust and reliable streaming architecture.

In addition to a wide selection of music channels with pre-licensed content, StoreStreams includes a management application to structure and time ad placements, station IDs and promotional material. LineQ will supply the end point hardware for each deployment, featuring Ecler Sound amplifiers, Cornered Audio loudspeakers and media players from Barix, an IP audio pioneer with hundreds of thousands of hardware players in deployment worldwide.

“With the reliability of our cloud-based, redundant streaming architecture at the core, the StoreStreams model ensures a live, reliable streaming service with high availability for networks of any scale,” said Charles Odom, vice president of marketing, StoreStreams. “This ensures a dynamic, high-quality and uninterrupted in-store radio experience for the restaurants, foodservice and hospitality businesses we serve.”

LineQ and XYZ Stream Hosting will jointly demonstrate the StoreStreams service from May 16-19 in the Start Up Alley section of the 2015 NRA Show exhibit floor, Booth 9416D. Please visit http://show.restaurant.org/Exhibit/Start-Up-Alley for more information on the Start Up Alley.

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Date posted: May 6, 2015

Orlando-based worship-oriented college keeps student body informed, inspired with dynamic, multi-location network

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, May 6, 2015 The First Academy (TFA)—a worship-centered college preparatory school in Orlando, FL—has deployed a Carousel digital signage network from Tightrope Media Systems to keep its 1,200-plus student body informed and inspired.

Designed for scalability, security and ease of use, Carousel lets users fill displays with a montage of video, pictures, text, tickers, social posts, weather graphics and more. TFA regularly updates Carousel-driven information on eight 55-to-65-inch digital displays strategically located across its large campus. Each display is divided into zones dedicated to the different school divisions including: the Upper School (high school), Middle School and Lower School (K-6), athletics facility, media center, library, theater and school store.

The First Academy keeps its student body informed and inspired with lively and dynamic content driven by Tightrope’s Carousel platform

“Our goal was to engage students with timely, captivating content that would keep them informed about important school events while still celebrating the achievements of our students and teachers,” said Matt Eggert, M.S., director of technology and innovation for The First Academy. “We also wanted our signage system to be easy to use and update on the fly, with displays reinforcing our school brand identity. Carousel does everything we need as part of its automated workflow.”

The First Academy is committed to using state-of-the-art technology, including iPads, computers and digital media systems like Carousel to support and enhance the academic experience. In the case of Carousel, each school division can easily create unique content, which is automatically delivered to a zone on their display. While the Upper, Middle and Lower schools see information focused on their school experience, items that pertain to all TFA students, like school store sales or the weather, are pushed to all the displays at once.

Eggert notes, “The network quickly scaled after the Upper School went live with the initial Carousel media players,” inspiring a call to Tightrope’s Professional Services team to bring more creative and dynamic design elements to the network. The web-based Carousel server, which operates on the school’s existing local area network, supports up to 300 players should the campus choose to further expand, and as Eggert points out, “it’s a cinch to connect new players to Carousel’s virtualized backbone.”

“It didn’t take long before others across the campus wanted their own displays, so we expanded the system to support other departments very quickly,” said Eggert. “However, while Carousel has a wide array of built-in design tools, we turned to Tightrope’s professional design team to help design our templates. Over a conference call with Tightrope’s design team, we discussed how to apply our website’s look, colors and fonts to our Carousel displays, which Tightrope considered in the creation of our custom templates.”

The Carousel network expansion has opened new opportunities to drive content from different personnel. Teachers now regularly email photos to their displays’ administrator for posting, and Carousel automatically converts them to the file formats and resolutions needed by the system. Video clips can be programmed to run continuously in a loop, or simply run as a special bulletin at the top of the hour. Additionally, visits from college recruiters, college deadlines and messages from the guidance department are just some of the important announcements made on Carousel, reinforcing the power of a campus-wide digital signage network.

About Tightrope Media Systems

Founded in 1997, Tightrope Media Systems is the pioneer of web-centric digital signage and broadcast automation systems. It provides station automation, video servers, Internet video on demand, live streaming, the Carousel Digital Signage system, and ZEPLAY, a multi-channel instant replay machine for stadiums, arenas and Outside Broadcast vehicles. Tightrope’s award winning systems are used throughout the world. You can reach Tightrope Media Systems at (866) 866-4118 or visit them on the web at http://www.trms.com.

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Date posted: April 9, 2015

MELBOURNE, Florida, April 9, 2015 Qligent is proud to have been named an IABM Game Changer Awards Finalist 2015 heading into this year’s NAB Show. Qligent, an expert in cloud-based QoS/QoE monitoring and analysis of linear TV services, made the shortlist in the “Services” sector for its groundbreaking monitoring-as-a-service platform, Oversight, as used by managed service provider Tecom Group on behalf of leading broadcaster Channel One Russia.

Combined with Qligent’s flagship Vision platform, a comprehensive QC, monitoring, analysis and troubleshooting system, Oversight helps broadcasters and multi-video platform distributors (MVPDs) offset the in-house costs of monitoring multiple data points across the air chain by providing an outsourced first response and reporting capability. On-site monitoring tasks across multiple departments – engineering, operations and production included – are instead outsourced to Qligent’s expert monitoring team and centralized managed service layer via its distributed cloud environment. The goal is to convert a large capital expense (CAPEX) and operational hassle (firefighting) into a small operating expense (OPEX) with increased response time and overall quality.

Vision is also recognized as part of the IABM Game Changer Awards Finalist 2015 honor. Vision is Qligent’s enterprise-level system for monitoring broadcast and media quality through to the last mile, delivering centralized tools for root cause analysis, historical trend reporting and deep, big data metrics and analytics to correlate signal performance with the consumer quality of experience. These tools have significantly boosted visibility of Channel One Russia’s performance across its entire program delivery chain and significantly improved the time to market deploying their digital services across the country.

“It’s a true honor to be recognized by the IABM as an industry visionary by being named an IABM Game Changer Awards Finalist 2015,” said Ted Korte, COO, Qligent. “These prestigious awards are globally recognized by broadcasters as one of the highest achievements for recognition in broadcast technology and service innovation.”

Qligent will demonstrate Vision and Oversight next week at the 2015 NAB Show, taking place April 13-16 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Qligent will exhibit at Booth N3621.

 

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Date posted: April 1, 2015

ZEPLAY 3.1 also amplifies feature set for improved functionality, price-to-performance ratio

Tightrope Media Systems is announcing a significant price drop to its popular ZEPLAY slo-mo instant replay system in advance of the 2015 NAB Show, ensuring an affordable and professional solution for any broadcaster, venue operator, university or mobile production company. In addition to more customer-friendly pricing, an enhanced feature set that includes wider codec support further increases the value proposition for ZEPLAY in live sports production.

At $45K, the new ZEPLAY list price eliminates the burden for budget-conscious customers, yet assures a professional, reliable and feature-rich slo-mo instant replay server that is easy to use, with a quick learning curve. ZEPLAY’s built-in RAID protection and native codec playback ensures the best possible signal integrity during live production. By integrating Avid DNXHD and AVC-Intra codec support – along with improved countdown windows, improved sequence navigation, go to timecode, and more visible content tagging – Tightrope’s strategy ensures the best possible price-to-performance ratio for instant replay.

“ZEPLAY is providing instant replays in stadiums and arenas throughout the country for NBA, NHL and NCAA football and basketball events – not to mention its popularity in outside broadcast trucks,” said Steve Israelsky, vice president of broadcast solutions, Tightrope Media Systems. “By lowering the cost of ZEPLAY, our core customers in the cable TV market, not to mention smaller sports venues, receive the same reliability and features that broadcasters and professional sports leagues enjoy today.”

Tightrope’s ZEPLAY price-drop makes the versatile, feature-rich instant replay server affordable for most budgets in sports production

The ZEPLAY 3.1 release, to be demonstrated at NAB (April 13-16, Las Vegas Convention Center, Booth C2613), adds the import and export of Avid DNxHD files, as well as import of AVCIntra files, in addition to ZEPLAY’s already robust codec support (ProRes, DVCProHD, MPEG2 I-frame). The incorporation of AVCIntra is especially valuable for production teams shooting scenics in the field. With no transcoding requirements, production staff can quickly plug the camera into ZEPLAY and achieve immediate, native playback.

ZEPLAY 3.1 also simplifies operation through the following value-added features:

  • Tags are prominently displayed on ZEPLAY’s built-in multiviewer to instantly identify live content.
  • Visual countdowns to the end of on-air content, both plays and sequence items.
  • It is now possible to jump to any moment of the action using ZEPLAY’s new Go To Timecode feature.
  • The T-bar can now be enabled automatically when starting ZEPLAY.
  • More visually appealing user interface, with increased speed and functionality while managing the 4×4 (4 ins, 4 outs) replay architecture.

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Date posted: March 26, 2015

New multi-user software simplifies conversion of live, linear radio streams into side channels, including Podcasts and rebroadcasts

Content delivery network and streaming media provider StreamGuys introduces a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform to accelerate the turnaround of online side channels for radio broadcasters, including Podcasts, linear streams, and dynamic on-demand content. Broadcasters and content producers can quickly create and publish any number of side channels from existing broadcast streams, including linear radio channels, of any length. In addition to the limitless custom stream possibilities, users are freed from the expensive hardware and intricate technology workflows previously required to achieve the same tasks.

While the concept of creating Podcasts and on-demand content for download is not new, SGrecast is innovative because of how it simplifies and enhances the process. Leveraging StreamGuys’ years of Podcasting expertise, including several Top 10 Podcasts as rated by iTunes, SGrecast integrates all the tools and features necessary for multi-user, multi-publisher podcasting into a web-based SaaS platform that can be activated anywhere.

Since SGrecast is multi-seat software, many users can work simultaneously, making SGrecast ideal for single stations up to the largest broadcast networks. Customers are given a login and password to access SGrecast from any networked location, and can immediately record and schedule content to expedite the creation and playout of side channels. Larger networks have no limit to the number of simultaneous users, and networks can establish users and content in groups to simplify overall management.

“Broadcasters and content producers have long been hampered by the costs, complexity and channel limitations of the hardware-centric architecture for side channel creation,” said Kiriki Delany, president, StreamGuys. “SGrecast eliminates the need for networks to invest in a stack of hardware and software tools at every production studio for local creation and playout. SGrecast lives on our robust and reliable content delivery network, empowering users with an intuitive, easy-to-use and always-available program to effortlessly manage streams, and quickly generate new content.”

While SGrecast is perfect for Podcasts on-demand side channels, its flexibility supports creation and delivery of new linear streams as well. SGrecast’s compatibility with Icecast servers allows broadcasters to efficiently syndicate linear streams and reach larger audiences. Audience reach is also amplified through automatic content transcoding ensures support for multiple formats, which enables reliable playout across all leading desktops, laptops, mobile devices and OTT players. In addition, SGrecast seamlessly integrates with RSS streams, ensuring a clean handoff to popular third-party Podcast and streaming services such as Feedburner, Stitcher and TuneIn.

The inclusion of an automated toolset further empowers users to schedule recording and playout tasks, including in-stream metadata compatibility to trigger recordings, ad insertions and other events; and continuous, automatic content updates to existing side channels. For broadcast networks, precise, targeted scheduling tools enable stations to override national content with local streams—especially useful for stations that do not have the rights to broadcast certain national feeds, such as a regional sports event.

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Date posted: March 17, 2015

Integration with audio processors, exporters eliminates delay without forcing signals through the modulation monitor

At the 2015 NAB Show, Belar Electronics will showcase a simple and cost-effective way for radio broadcasters to eliminate delay between digital and analog signals on the fringes of HD Radio™ coverage. Branded as Automatic Delay Correction, the software-defined feature consistently adjusts the time alignment, eliminating the roughly eight-second delay between the HD main and analog FM programming. This ensures a pleasant listening experience for audiences in areas where HD Radio coverage is less robust, seamlessly switching back and forth between the two programs without audience detection.

Belar’s Automatic Delay Correction for HD/FM time alignment feeds the adjustment back toward the front of the air chain, with corrections taking place in the audio processor, precision delay or exporter – as opposed to forcing it through the mod monitor.

Belar accomplishes this important task without forcing its customers to push the audio through the modulation monitor. Instead, Belar’s Automatic Delay Correction for time alignment feeds the adjustment back toward the front of the air chain, with corrections taking place in the audio processor, precision delay or exporter. This is a significant innovation, as it keeps costs lower for the broadcaster while eliminating a redundancy in the air chain.

“Every HD Radio broadcaster already has a delay line built into the air chain, whether it’s through the leading audio processors on the market or within a current generation exporter,” said Mark Grant, CEO, Belar Electronics. “We are removing an unnecessary step by feeding the signal back to the processor or exporter. Our modulation monitors require only a simple software upgrade in the field, ensuring that broadcasters can seamlessly incorporate time alignment without significant costs or complexity.”

Belar will demonstrate Automatic Delay Correction in its FMHD-1 modulation monitor at its NAB booth (C2452, April 13-16 at the Las Vegas Convention Center), with additional demos on the exhibit floor to be confirmed. The demos will detail how Automatic Delay Correction establishes a connection to an audio processor or exporter, measures the signal error and communicates the necessary adjustment to the delay line. That communication is locked into in a continuous loop, ensuring that the appropriate time delay is constant and consistent.

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Date posted: March 12, 2015

Mobile production specialist supplies all live TV, audio and post services for BET and Centric, while bringing “Salute Selma” concert to viewers worldwide

Mobile production specialist TNDV was onsite in Selma, Alabama this past weekend to document a series of special events and concerts surrounding the Bloody Sunday 50th Anniversary, where President Barack Obama joined a crowd of thousands to commemorate the confrontation between police and peaceful protesters that spurred the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

TNDV’s Vibration audio truck was one of three TNDV production trucks onsite. Vibration provided the multitrack recording workflow for the Salute Selma concert on Sunday, March 8.

In addition to a lineup of influential speakers, the weekend included the Selma 50th Anniversary Concerts, which brought together local musicians and popular national artists for three concert events across Saturday and Sunday. TNDV provided audio, video and uplink facilities for the main “Salute Selma,” concert event on Sunday, featuring Rick Ross, Keith Sweat and other well-known musical acts. TNDV worked with cable networks BET and Centric to bring the concert to viewers worldwide via a live stream. A broadcast special will air this Sunday, March 15 on Centric.

In addition to the Salute Selma production, the TNDV team captured various events over the weekend to incorporate into the live webcast and Centric broadcast. This includes the commemorative march across the Edmund Pettis Bridge, in recognition of the 600 civil rights activists that crossed the bridge on March 7, 1965 during a 54-mile trek to the state capital.  Exclusive HD drone footage of the march, captured by TNDV President and Owner Nic Dugger from an aerial perspective above the bridge, can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/121626969.

The TNDV crew on the Edmund Pettis Bridge

Through the weekend, TNDV served as BET’s on-site TV facility, handling everything from live switching the high-end audio mixing and post. To accommodate the enormous size and scale of the production, TNDV brought three of its trucks—Elevation, Aspiration and its Vibration audio truck—to Selma, building a common networked architecture to share video and audio signal routing, monitoring and a multichannel intercom matrix across the entire production workflow.

“In a remote area like Selma, there are literally no technical facilities and few resources to assist in the production of a live TV show,” said Dugger. “This put the responsibilities on TNDV to accommodate the entire workflow from multi-camera acquisition to transmission, designating one truck each for video, audio and uplink services. Selma was deservedly under a unique spotlight this weekend in light of the Bloody Sunday anniversary, and the additional recent exposure through the movie and the Oscars. With an event of such historical value, the honor of being selected and trusted to execute this technical plan cannot be understated.”

The mobile production workflow across the three TNDV trucks included six Hitachi HD cameras, a Deko 3000 graphics station and Renewed Vision’s Pro Presenter system for media playout.  The audio workflow included 128 inputs from the stage to a Studer stage boxes, which were routed to a Studer Vista 9 console onboard the Vibration audio truck. Multitrack audio was managed on board Vibration as well, using a ProTools system with JoeCo recorders on backup.

“The TNDV crew did an excellent job on a very challenging production throughout the weekend in Selma,” said Monte Johnson, CEO of Showtek Productions, the company responsible for managing all broadcast and production elements over the weekend. “TNDV brings together a team of professionals that are truly passionate about their craft. They were a part of history this past weekend, and work of this level makes them not only a rare special breed in this industry, but deserves to make them famous.”

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Date posted: March 11, 2015

New 4K monitor series amplifies quality for sports and other advanced production applications – with native resolution displays up to 84 inches 

Plura Broadcast, a global manufacturer of high-performance digital broadcast and video production solutions, will introduce a complete portfolio of 4K monitors at the 2015 NAB Show in alignment with increased industry demand.  Available in widths scaling to 84 inches, the Plura 4K Series brings together the exceptional built-in feature set Plura monitors are known for, while doubling down on quality, detail and performance to give production facilities an edge in Ultra HD monitoring.

The Plura 4K Series, which supports resolutions up to 3840×2160, focuses on delivering the highly detailed, accurate color representation and stunning picture consistency that high-end production applications require. The series also adopts the exceptionally slim form factor that Plura customers enjoy, ensuring that even the largest 4K monitors in the portfolio demand a modest slice of real estate.

Plura President Ray Kalo demonstrates the pristine image quality and ultra-slim form factor of the Plura 4K Series of monitors, to be introduced at the 2015 NAB Show.

Ray Kalo, president, Plura Broadcast notes that while 4K adoption is gradually escalating, the Plura 4K Series will provide flexible options for customers that still need to switch between Ultra HD, HD-SDI and SD resolutions. This flexibility also allows customers planning for a 4K future to invest today, without breaking the bank.

“We believe that 2015 is the year that 4K spreads beyond mostly film production and into more broadcast-centric production workflows, particularly sports,” said Ray Kalo, president, Plura Broadcast. “Our 4K Series will suit any studio or mobile production workflow, and will be especially valuable to our customers in sports that lack affordable options for larger 4K monitors. However, our customers can rest assured that buying a 4K monitor today will give them the flexibility to work across multiple formats.”

The Plura 4K Series will also feature the traditional software-redefined feature set built into most Plura monitors, including intelligent connections for calibration alignment, adjustable colormetry, gamma correction and audio monitoring – all accessible from an intuitive menu offering smooth navigation. Using Plura’s unique ICAC tool, production staff can quickly and automatically calibrate multiple color-related elements across the entire monitor network over IP, including the 4K Series. This ensures that the 4K Series is quickly recalibrated to its reference standard, returning optimal brightness and color consistency for demanding 4K workflows.

Plura Broadcast will unveil the Plura 4K Monitor Series at the 2015 NAB Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center, taking place April 13-16. The company will exhibit at Booth N2718.

 

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Date posted: March 5, 2015

Specialist in cloud-based monitoring and analysis to introduce solutions for the local broadcaster on up to the largest enterprise networks

At the 2015 NAB Show, Qligent, a specialist in cloud-based, enterprise-level media monitoring and analysis, will demonstrate how linear TV services can generate deeper insight into signal performance across the air chain—down to the last mile—while transitioning to simpler software-defined platforms. On its NAB booth (N3621, Las Vegas Convention Center, April 13-16), Qligent will exhibit new multichannel visualization capabilities for its infinitely scalable Vision platform, and introduce a local solution for deep on-site monitoring.

“Linear TV systems remain the bread and butter of our industry, and require a more effective way to extend signal monitoring, determine the root cause of performance issues, and accelerate response time and problem resolution,” said Ted Korte, COO, Qligent. “These are the tenets that help broadcasters and multi-video program distributors minimize financial loss and improve viewer satisfaction. Qligent is working hard to automate these tasks to help our customers free up their resources to work on more creative activities.”

The Qligent Vision monitoring platform collects data from multiple measurement points from multiple delivery platforms, and centralizes it onto a single screen for analysis and troubleshooting.

Vision is Qligent’s enterprise-level platform, offering previously unforeseen clarity of signal performance in multiplatform delivery. Through a customizable, single-screen dashboard, Vision enables user-generated intelligible KPIs, graphics and trend lines to produce a true picture of media quality through the last mile. The result is a complete understanding of the TV viewing experience across over-the-air, cable, satellite and IPTV systems, without the costs or complexity associated with bandwidth-heavy backhaul or component-driven monitoring strategies.

New capabilities in Vision amplify its value for multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs). Through its new multichannel visualization feature, Vision users can now procure and analyze multi-channel data from many sites on a single screen. This effectively allows a single operator to monitor a high density of signals network-wide from one spot, instead of working across many screens; and quickly articulate performance issues to management and engineering for troubleshooting. Since Vision is software-defined, Qligent can also offer end-to-end monitoring as an outsourced managed service for customers that want to completely free up and allocate staff to more creative, production-oriented tasks.

While Vision scales to any size, many local broadcasters and TV services only need local performance monitoring and analysis limited to a few points at most. At NAB, Qligent will introduce Point, a standalone version of Vision for monitoring many co-located signals. Point delivers the same depth as Vision, with a focus on deep on-site monitoring, baseline performance and troubleshooting of intermittent issues through extensive trending and recording capabilities. Point serves as an ideal solution to tame transitional challenges, including analog to digital TV; and baseband to IP conversions. Additionally, Point is ideal for terrestrial broadcasters facing transitions connected to advanced standards (like ATSC 3.0, ISDB-T rollouts, or DVB-T2 conversions) or government-driven initiatives, like the impending Spectrum Repack in North America and international countries.

Vision and Point both excel at improving quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) through comprehensive media analysis, with insight into signal integrity and performance up to the point where signals reach consumers. Qligent brings additional power to each system through its unique microprobes, called uProbes, which allow users to economically test, measure and troubleshoot performance issues in close proximity to the consumer. Qligent’s uProbes feed the central dashboard in Vision and Point systems, collecting data from every connection point and saving customers a lot of money and headaches tied to service issues over the last mile.

“The effort to collect, aggregate and analyze data across the multiplatform delivery chain increases exponentially as you inch closer to the last mile, where connection points escalate,” said Korte. “Qligent’s exacting software architecture can effectively gather data from any number of points and report that information back to the central dashboard, all while minimizing costs through a lightweight and intelligent infrastructure. Used as part of a Vision or Point solution, centralized monitoring of current performance naturally extends to predictive analytics and performance trends over time, helping our customers recognize potential issues that could affect signal integrity and the consumer experience before they happen.”

Ultimately, Qligent’s network-enabled uProbes further reduce the total cost of ownership of a Vision or Point solution. In addition to eliminating the cost of traditional expensive legacy components—and ensuring no intrusion on the end consumer—uProbes can be deployed anywhere across a network or delivery architecture of any scope or size without geographical limitations.

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Date posted: March 4, 2015

Cablecast servers and automation system helps PEG channel cost-efficiently broadcast and stream more than 250 annual government and public affairs meetings

As the public, education and government access (PEG) provider serving the North Dakota cities of Bismarck and Mandan, Dakota Media Access began broadcasting its government access and community media channels in HDTV on February 24, 2015. The transition to HD, which also included new multiplatform delivery for online streaming, was supported through an upgrade to its Tightrope Media Systems Cablecast infrastructure.

The upgrade swapped the existing Tightrope Cablecast SD gear for a fully integrated Cablecast HD infrastructure including broadcast playout servers, Cablecast VOD for video on demand content and Cablecast Live for streaming its content to the web. The Cablecast upgrade additionally includes HD/SD up and down conversion, ensuring that existing SD content can still be incorporated into the program schedule.

The Dakota Media Access team upgraded its Cablecast server and automation platform from Tightrope to enable live and on-demand streaming of its Community TV channels – as well as an HDTV upgrade for traditional broadcasts.

Overall, the upgrade is built on a multiplatform delivery strategy with higher quality content and flexible viewing options to drive audience numbers.

“This HD upgrade is more than a beauty makeover,” said Mary Van Sickle, executive director, Dakota Media Access. “It conveys that our programming is valuable, timely and relevant. In this competitive media marketplace, going HD and offering live and on-demand web content is essential to attracting and retaining viewers. We chose to stay with Tightrope because they offer great technology at an affordable price backed by excellent customer service. Over the years, Tightrope has demonstrated a true understanding of the unique needs of community media and a long-standing dedication to the PEG market.”

The government access channel—which is carried in HD on Channel 602 (and channel 2 for SD) on the Midcontinent Communications cable system—presents 250 live municipal and public affairs meetings that take place in Bismarck and Mandan, and Burleigh and Morton counties, annually. The community access channel programs—produced by Bismarck and Mandan citizens using Dakota Media’s studios—are broadcast in HD on Channel 612 (SD channel 12). The Tightrope Cablecast upgrade includes a dedicated server to automate the delivery of promos, messaging, weather and announcements.

Dakota Media Access has additionally made further upgrades across its acquisition and production systems to attract more community members to its facility. Like many PEG channels nationwide, the facility provides community access to its HD production studios, along with systems training.

“The reality is that the high cost of upgrading to HD is cost-prohibitive for many community media operations nationwide, but we were determined to make it work for the benefit of our local community,” Van Sickle said. “Our successful HD migration—which puts us at the vanguard of PEG operations—is owing to upgrading our infrastructure to an affordable, reliable and user-friendly Cablecast HD workflow from Tightrope Media Systems.”

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