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Hitachi Bolsters Buckeye's Sports Coverage


TOLEDO, OHIO: As the premiere cable service provider in the greater Toledo area, Buckeye CableSystem launched the BCSN local sports network in January 2004 and upgraded it to high-definition operations in April 2011. Our goal is to retain cable subscribers by offering them a valuable, exclusive free service they can't get from any competing cable or satellite provider.

James Piotrowski operates one of the seven BCSN Hitachi Z-HD 5000s Today, we televise more than 900 local sports events per year, including NCAA Division I sports at Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo, as well as local high school sports. We're also the TV home of the Toledo Mud Hens AAA baseball team and the Toledo Walleye Hockey Club, an affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings.

For Buckeye CableSystem, BCSN required a considerable commitment and capital investment, including two HD production units (20-foot trailers pulled by tow trucks), and an initial package of seven Hitachi Z-HD5000 studio/field high-definition television cameras. Now, we're planning to put two more HD production units into service by the end of this year and outfit them with six more Hitachi Z-HD5000 packages.

As our primary goal is customer retention, we have to make some very judicious, cost-effective equipment choices. Knowing that we'd be purchasing a total of 13 HD camera systems within a two-year period, the Hitachi Z-HD5000's acquisition price made it very attractive. And even though it's competitively priced, this model still offers superior, native 1080i HD picture quality that's comparable to that of other top high-definition camera brands.

KEEPING THE HD SPORTS FLOWING

The roadworthiness of the Z-HD5000s that we purchased is phenomenal and has proven particularly beneficial, as we set up and strike each of our seven HD camera systems some 300 times per year. We also operate them in all kinds of weather conditions and at all kinds of locations, ranging from college stadiums to high school gyms. We have a seven-member video crew manning each event. This includes cameras, audio, graphics, engineering, and TD positions. We produce 17 to 20 sports events per week, some of which are carried live.

In addition to covering more than 30 different sporting events, our crews also produce several shows from remote locations that air weekly on BCSN. These include "The T Sports Report" on local sports, a high school football show, as well as a live sports call-in program.

While many of our viewers are die-hard sports fans, we've found that we're also attracting family members who just want to see their kids' games on TV. The management of Buckeye CableSystem has always looked for ways to be community-oriented while also working to attract and retain customers. We felt offering BCSN in high definition was the next logical step in the growth of the network and technology from Hitachi has allowed Buckeye CableSystem to achieve both goals.

Tad Fowkes is creative services/production manager of local stations for Buckeye Cable Sports Network. He may be contacted at tfowkes@bcsn.tv.

For additional information, contact Hitachi Kokusai Electric America, Ltd. at 516-921-7200 or visit www.hitachikokusai.us.