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Tightrope Media Systems simplifies remote broadcast operations for The Rural Channel

Television automation specialist Media Control Systems has designed and integrated a fully redundant HD broadcast solution based on Tightrope Media Systems workflow technology for The Rural Channel, a new agricultural network from Ag-Com Productions serving cable and satellite systems across Canada. 

The complete system employs a unique blend of professional broadcast, cable and digital signage technology to give The Rural Channel the on-air protection and quality typical of a high-budget broadcast facility. Furthermore, the solution offers plenty of operational flexibility for long-distance management and operation.

The Rural Channel approached Media Control Systems for its proven ability to build reliable systems for remote broadcast — an important need given that the file-based content is ingested and played out from an unmanned facility on the opposite side of the country. Furthermore, the customer had a limited budget which was fairly typical for new, specialty cable networks.

Media Control Systems immediately turned to Tightrope’s Cablecast automation and server technologies for ingest, scheduling and playout, building two parallel systems that also include redundant routing and signal processing. Furthermore, the cost-efficiency of the Cablecast systems enabled Media Control Systems to add a Tightrope Carousel digital signage server, providing a third layer of redundancy to ensure the network never goes off the air. In addition to automatic failover, the architecture allows network operators to manually — and remotely — switch to Carousel-produced bulletin boards as needed.

The complete solution allows operators based in western Canada to manually ingest media content, including long-form programs and advertisements, and build playout schedules using Cablecast’s intuitive user interface. Operators can also remotely log in to create engaging page layouts for the Carousel system, and otherwise monitor the health and status of the entire operation.

The architecture also features Media Control Systems’ specialized Spyglass Pro technology for failure detection, offering constant video and audio analysis to monitor signal integrity.