BROOKLYN PARK, MINN.—
Community Television is an independent,
non-profit community broadcaster, delivering
programming in cooperation with
Comcast. We’re located northwest of Minneapolis
and serve a 27 square-mile area,
providing three public access channels
and nine city channels. Our main service
is “Channel 12,” which provides news, civic
information, high school sports, and more,
24-hours a day.
MOVING INTO THE DIGITAL WORLD
In connection with our franchise agreement
with Comcast, we needed to update
our infrastructure which was constructed
around an analog routing switcher that
was showing its age. This revamping project—
which also included replacing our
automation system—got into full swing
during the last quarter of 2013, with everything
coming together earlier this year.
We looked at products from several
manufacturers, but based on the experience
with a Snell Pyxis router purchased
last year for our remote truck, we
decided to install a Snell Vega router in
our facility. Since we’re a non-profit community
broadcaster, funds were limited;
however the Snell router fit nicely within
Installing the Vega router was easy and
allowed us to transition rather seamlessly
from analog to digital. The Snell Vega’s small
4RU form factor allowed us to install it
alongside the existing analog router without
having to add more racks. The close
proximity of the two switchers also allowed
us to re-use some of the existing cabling as
we replaced analog sources and destinations
with digital equivalents.
We ordered the Vega supplied
with 96 ports divided into 48 sources
and 48 destinations, and as it can
accommodate up to 192 ports, we
have plenty of room for expansion.
Our Vega is controlled by Snell’s
Morpheus automation system, as
well as several XY hard panels and
soft panels customized with Snell’s
Centra Workbench software.
Since the installation was completed
our signal quality has improved
dramatically as we’re now
providing a digital path all the way
from the camera to the cable box.
NO WORRIES WHEN THE
LIGHTS ARE TURNED OUT
Our experience so far has shown that
the Vega is extremely reliable, and our installation
includes a good degree of built-in
redundancy to make sure that we stay on
air. Our master control area is not staffed at
night or on weekends, and with the Vega
as the key part of the infrastructure I really
have few worries about the system crashing
when no one is there.
The Snell team that worked with us on
the Vega installation was tenacious and dedicated.
Each of their technicians worked long
and hard to get us up and running quickly
and also provided lots of extra support.
The installation of the Vega allowed us
to meet our goals—we now have a digital
hardware platform that is very reliable and
we’re operating with a more cost-effective
and modern platform.
Our next project will involve the installation
of Snell’s Hyperion automated monitoring
and quality control system. We’re excited
about bringing this on line, as it will
give us another level of assurance that our
systems are running perfectly and delivering
James Anderson is currently technical
services manager for Northwest Community
Television and has more than 30
years of broadcast experience. He may be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact
Snell at 818-556-2616 or visit www.snellgroup.com.