Michael Grotticelli, Broadcast Engineering Extra /
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
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.
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
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.