Plum TV Delivers Video With Scopus

Doug SorensenVAIL, COLO.
Since 2003, Plum TV has grown to a network of eight local television channels and Web sites serving the resort communities of Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, the Hamptons, Vail, Aspen, Telluride, Sun Valley and Miami Beach. Our markets are destinations of choice for cultural leaders in the media, business, arts and politics, who not only form Plum's audience but are also subjects of and participants in Plum content. Our mission is to celebrate the natural beauty and character of our communities and the spirit and intellect of the people who live and visit there.

In many ways, Vail provides the perfect testing ground for our first video-over-IP project. We're offering a wide variety of programming that presents the best of Vail's social, arts and entertainment and sport/outdoor scenes. We needed a low-cost, error-free way to transmit remote feeds to our master studio in Vail, and from there on to two cable providers. One of these presented a special challenge due to the 40 miles of rugged, mountainous terrain separating the operation from Vail.

We're using H.264 encoding/decoding equipment from Scopus to deliver feeds from multiple sites via a town-wide, dedicated virtual local access network (VLAN). In addition to the downtown Plum master studio, we also maintain a remote studio overlooking the community entrance and ski slopes. Connectivity between that facility and Plum's master studio is accomplished with a 5 Mbps radio-delivered connection, as there's no wired video access to/from the studio.

Instead of deploying a mobile unit to a remote site, we use the Scopus UE-9410 to encode the live feed and transmit it via radio to the IP network for delivery to our master studio. We use Scopus's IRD-2962 receiver for decoding the feed. If the content is to be transmitted by cable providers, it's encoded again and sent via radio to the VLAN for delivery. To get the signal to the 40-mile distant cable system, a two-hop system is employed that uses orthogonal IP radios.


With the Scopus equipment, we've been able to experience the best of video over IP with few of the difficulties. Our proprietary 20 Mbps VLAN gives us greater control and dedicated bandwidth to ensure a steady, constant video stream, and minimize or eliminate the packet loss common to public networks. The Scopus IRD-2962 receiver comes standard with features for removing any additional packet jitters and irregularities, and the system supports Pro-MPEG FEC , the error correction standard for MPEG video, for additional recovery from packet errors. As a result, we're able to achieve results that are comparable to, if not better than, traditional transmission methods.

With this system, we believe Plum TV is a good example of how even small media networks can use video-over-IP technology to deliver live programming suitable for the most demanding audiences. While the towns we serve may be small, these markets are destinations of choice for more than 16.4 million of the nation's most influential people each year. Plum programming offers these communities independent, highly relevant local content, and our Scopus equipment gives us greater stability, flexibility and freedom.

Doug Sorenson is the director of broadcast engineering at Plum TV. He has a background of more than 30 years in broadcasting and communications and has been in his current position at Plum TV for two years. He may be contacted

For additional information contact Scopus Video Networks at 609-987-8090 or