Michael Grotticelli, Broadcast Engineering Extra /
05.22.2014 06:20 PM
Minneapolis Area TV Network Expands PEG Channel Infrastructure with Tightrope Cablecast Servers

Tightrope technology enables more programming to be distributed and efficiently managed across nine community-based government access channels.

St. Paul, Minnesota — A network of video servers from Tightrope Media Systems is supporting Northwest Community Television (NWCT), which provides local origination, public access and government (PEG) channels to cable subscribers in nine Minneapolis-area suburbs. NWCT recently added nine new Cablecast SXLE SD video servers to its infrastructure to support government access Channel 16, bringing its total to 13 systems enterprise-wide. The network previously broadcast its government access programming from videotape machines in a central facility in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

The new Channel 16 Cablecast systems reside in dedicated production control rooms built for each city hall.
NWCT channels are carried by Comcast, which reaches more than 75,000 cable households in the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis. Channel 16 carries live and replayed video of city council and other meetings from city halls throughout the area. The channel also carries video programming specifically produced for each city by NWCT staff. The Tightrope servers allow Channel 16 to efficiently narrowcast this programming, enabling residents to see meetings and other important information relevant to their municipalities without overtaxing server capacity.

Each new Cablecast system includes a Tightrope Carousel CG-310 server with digital signage software. This enables the central master control staff to transfer custom graphics to the remote Cablecast servers, which play out via Carousel software.

Tim Gaffron, Municipal Media Services Manager for Northwest Community Television, said that with the purchase of the Cablecast servers, they have increased the amount of programming and the number of replays the local municipalities can view, "while freeing up capacity on our central servers."

At its central Brooklyn Park facility, NWCT has long used Tightrope Cablecast SX2 SD, Cablecast Pro and SX2-HD video servers to play other NWCT channels to air, as well as several CG250 units for "billboarding." These include: Channel 18, an electronic billboard that delivers local announcements and program information from Tightrope's Carousel digital signage system; and public access channels 19 and 20, featuring programs produced by local residents.

The new Channel 16 Cablecast systems reside in dedicated production control rooms built for each city hall. Video programming files can be sent between the central servers and the nine remote Channel 16 servers over a secure, private government fiber network. The video can play out from the remote server to Channel 16, or editors can download it into their video editing systems for other uses, such as excerpts for the news operation. Through Web-based monitoring, NWCT can start and stop recordings remotely; and program the system to automate these tasks.

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