MPTV Switches to HD With Snell & Wilcox


Milwaukee Public Television, serving southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, has been a forward-looking organization since its inception.

MPTV currently broadcasts on two analog channels, WMVS -- TV with general interest programming and WMVT -- TV with educational programming, plus WMVS-DT, a digital channel that provides time -- shifted analog schedules and 24 -- hour kids, adult learning and music services. A fourth channel, WMVT-DT, also to be digital with a strong HD focus, is set to go online in late June.

Prior to launching our first digital channel, the task of converting the facility to digital got underway. A big piece of the puzzle was the production switchers, including the purchase of an HD switcher for one of our editing suites.


Because MPTV is a division of the Milwaukee Area Technical College and under state purchasing restrictions, we are not allowed to purchase equipment that is more expensive than our needs justify. Therefore, competitive pricing was a major factor in our decision, and the Snell & Wilcox HD1010 was clearly the most economical HD production switcher available at the time.

Beyond its competitive pricing are an array of features that are very well suited to our editing requirements. The HD1010 was integrated into a crowded editing suite that retains its analog editing capabilities, letting us easily switch between the analog and digital domain as needed.

Milwaukee Public Television also operates a remote van for on -- location shooting of live or pre -- taped programs. Launched in the winter of 2003, the centerpiece of the all-digital vehicle is a Snell & Wilcox HD1024, which is two steps up from the HD1010 in the company's production switcher line.

Like the HD1010, a major reason for selecting the HD1024 revolved around competitive pricing. However, the integrated color corrector, digital effects, control panel size and rack frame efficiency were paramount in our decision.


Some of the programs we produce in the field in HD are "Tracks Ahead," a model and full-scale train series, "Outdoor Wisconsin," exploring our natural resources and "Great Lakes Gardener," providing timely topics for the Great Lakes region.

With great variations in sunlight/rainy conditions in outdoor situations and lighting variations in indoor train modeling, color correction is of major importance. Both the HD1024 and HD1010 allow us to store and recall color corrections to match scene-to-scene changes during segment assembly, letting us do corrections on-the-fly and providing a consistent look for each program. We also save money by handling color corrections internally instead of resorting to an external corrector.

Although the HD1010 is used every day, the HD1024 is used only several days per week, except for special productions such as our recent nine-day auction. We expect this pace to pick up once our new digital HD channel is launched, as we are planning live productions of local school sports in the next season. A Snell & Wilcox HD2524 HD switcher will be added to give us even more high-definition production capacity.

By keeping abreast of digital developments, we are able to remain ahead of the conversion curve. Snell & Wilcox's developments in HD switching provide significant answers in following that curve.

For more information, contact Snell & Wilcox at 408-260-1000 or visit