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MNN Eases Into Digital With Snell Router

Tyrone Stith (L) and Dan Coughlin, MNN’s executive director
NEW YORK - The Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) is one of New York's premier public access networks, providing citizens of Manhattan with a powerful voice through the medium of cable television on an open, uncensored, and equitable basis. We operate four community access channels that reach more than 620,000 cable subscribers on the RCN, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon FiOS systems. We also offer free training and certification classes in video production, editing and broadcasting, and our facilities are available to Manhattan residents free of charge.

MNN has a well-deserved reputation for being on the technological forefront of public access programming in the United States. Our new digital broadcast infrastructure is based on leading-edge routing equipment from Snell, with a Snell Sirius 128x128 router at the core of our new digital master control facility. We're also looking at a Sirius 800 Series 576x576 router for our upcoming conversion to HD.

When I joined MNN, my first priority was to help bring the network up to date. Since the signal routers would provide the centerpiece for our new master control facility, we needed to choose carefully, and based on my previous experience with Snell routers (ProBel at the time) in my positions I'd held at Oxygen Media, and the Madison Square Garden Network, I knew how user-friendly the systems were, and how easy it is to bring people up to speed who aren't necessarily familiar with digital technologies.


Another big advantage was the ease with which the Sirius routers would integrate with other systems already in place at MNN. And, unlike other routing systems we were considering, the Snell equipment did not require middleware, therefore reducing the cost and the amount of equipment necessary.

In order to facilitate a gradual transition from analog to digital, we initially purchased a Snell Freeway 32x32 router to handle our analog operations while we built out the new digital infrastructure. With the planned installation of the Sirius 800 for HD, we will have—for the first time—a router that handles every signal source in our operation. When that happens, we'll be able to move all three formats—analog, SD, and HD—around, and can easily share content with other facilities throughout the country who are in various stages of digital.


Since we began our own digital transition, a number of other public access networks have come to inspect our operation, viewing us as a model in deploying advanced technologies in order to operate as efficiently, cost-effectively, and reliably as possible.

I'm always happy to recommend the Snell routers, due to their ease of use and setup, and their ability to work and play with other systems in our plant. Our experience here at MNN is evidence that the Snell technical support team is truly committed to its customers' success, and is willing to do what it takes to meet their requirements.

Tyrone Stith is managing director of access services and director of engineering for MNN, where he oversees all technical engineering operations. He may be contacted at

For additional information, contact Snell at 818-556-2616 or visit