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ROBTv Automates With VDS


Report on Business Television is Canada’s only all-business news specialty channel and our mission was to build a Canadian television service similar to CNNfn and CNBC. In order to accomplish this goal, we had to ensure that the financial information we provided to our viewers is completely accurate, simply and quickly updated and easy-to-comprehend.

We recently completed a three-tiered software integration and application design project, which allowed us to create an automated data-to-graphics system for real-time stock ticker information, graphs and charts of individual stock and company information. Part of a multi-million dollar renovation, the project included the construction of a new facility and complete equipment and technology updates.

At the heart of this project was software from Video Design Software (VDS). The solutions VDS offered helped to provide more up-to-date and accurate financial information to our viewers.

Upon the development of our service, we realized it was crucial to display data effectively. One of the keys to our success is for viewers to be able to watch ROBTv us in their offices with no audio, thereforeSo, we needed to be as visually informative as possible.

That was one of our initial problems. We went to air one year earlier than expected with glue and string holding us together and were using graphics products and applications that weren’t were not in real-time.

The importance of real-time graphics was made obvious to us when a number being displayed on one of our full screen boards didn’t match with the ticker crawling across the screen. As a result, we received viewer complaints saying, "Your board just said the number was X and the ticker said it was Y. What’s the right number?"


VDS visited ROBTv and did a needs- analysis. The company reviewed our current and desired operations, and outlining determined what we were looking for and what how we wanted our on-air programming to appear like.

VDS presented a functional specification for the application suite the company believed would best provide the on-air product we required. VDS automated all our financial graphics presentation and management capabilities, including the real-time stock ticker that runs across the bottom of the screen, the indices boxes and – in particular – the HotBoards and HotGraphs that we use throughout the day.

The VDS products interfaced with ILX, our information data feed, and our broadcast systems. Fed with information data by ILX, the first ticker represents real-time Toronto Stock Exchange trade information is displayed as an upper crawl on the top of the screen and the second ticker displays real-time NYSE and NASDAQ and NYSE information trade information as a lower-third crawl.

VDS also installed and customized its "Hot Bugs program," which automatically generates displays " of financial data including current stock prices, changes, trade volume and other market information from the Toronto Stock Exchange, Dow, NYSE, NASDAQ and other indices.

The HotBoards application lets us generate full-screen numerical displays using hot market data. These HotBoards provide viewers with a very quick snapshot of all the numbers, including the indices, commodities and equities of interest.

The VDS AirPlot system is the basis of the HotGraphs. This is a differentiator for ROBTv, as we can now display line graphs of stock performance over time. With this "stock vs. stock" feature, we can also display the performance of one stock versus another, or versus the performance of the Dow, all normalized on a percentage basis.

Finally, VDS specified and installed is using a pair of Chyron’s Duet video graphics systems – of which we have five – running off of an ROBTv customized VDS Graphic Engine Application and server system. –one operating with a graphics engine and the other operating with the ILX data. The Chyron DUET system provides full text and graphics and is being used to update the financial information in real-time.One Duet is generating the two ticker crawls, as well as the VDS HotBugs displays on the side of the screen. The VDS Graphics Engine Application operates on that Duet in conjunction with the second VDS server application, which retrieves and parses the ILX data.

The result is that we are able to provide a live, graphical representation of financial information to our viewers. In this age of up-to-the-minute data access, this type of capability will only continue to become increasingly important.

For more information, contact VDS at 631-249-4399 or