LARGO, Fla.—The Christian Television Network (CTN) is a nonprofit broadcast television network which owns and operates 23 stations that broadcast religious programming in multiple U.S. markets. We also offer Christian family education, entertainment, and lifestyle programming on our CTN Lifestyle digital channel and international streaming via the Christian Television Network International (CTNI) website.
Because CTN has grown over the years through various acquisitions, we’ve had to deal with different equipment across many of our stations. When we took on an encoder upgrade project earlier this year, it gave us the opportunity to standardize and unify not just our encoders, but also our antiquated emergency alert system (EAS).
STANDARDIZING ON DAS
We had developed quite a convoluted workflow to accommodate our aging EAS devices. Replacing these systems with the Digital Alert Systems’ (DAS) DASDEC emergency messaging platform, which we integrated with our new Hitachi-Comark LEX-2000 encoders, we were able to simplify our workflow tremendously. We’ve now got two boxes doing what once took four or more.
We purchased the encoders through Media Transport Solutions, where the team there told us we could use Digital Alert Systems EAS-Net software to connect the DASDEC units to the LEX-2000 encoders using a single network connection. This integration allows EAS messages to come from the DASDEC unit to the encoder over IP, which embeds the message and the audio/video on each of the channels.
Better still, instead of interrupting the video, as our old systems did, this approach conveniently displays a banner over ongoing programming and switches the audio to the alert. It’s a huge improvement for us and a nice change for our viewers.
In upgrading to the DASDEC platform and LEX-2000 encoders, we’ve also been able to shift to a centralcast model for many stations. We’ve brought our program encoders back in house at our Largo facility, where the systems receive signals from DASDEC units out at remote sites. Now we enjoy a much more streamlined process for handling emergency messaging across numerous stations, more robust monitoring capabilities, and more consistent and reliable performance.
Both Media Transport Solutions and Digital Alert Systems have been helpful throughout this process, from designing our workflow to getting each system configured properly for each station and its particular region. We’ve been rolling out the units’ station by station, and we took the first DASDEC unit live last March in Nashville at WHTN-TV. It passed the national EAS test this past August, so it’s working great. We made an early commitment to work with the DASDEC and LEX-2000 encoders, and we’re glad we did.
For more information visit www.digitalalertsystems.com.
David Goosey is the senior systems engineer at Christian Television Network. He has been with the company for four years, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, (727) 535-5622 x4076.
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