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University of Iowa Launches Digital Upgrade With Utah-400 Router

The University of Iowa has installed a Utah-400 HD router from Utah Scientific, along with an SC-4 control system and a SoftPanel-1 software panel as part of the upgrade of its video facility from analog to digital.

“For those of us in an educational setting, the selection of a product and a vendor creates high anxiety,” said Terry Edmonds, general manager of ITS-Video Services at the University of Iowa. “We have to go to bat to get the funding; then, if we make the wrong decision, the side effects will have to be dealt with for a long time. So we tend to be conservative—we do a lot of research and think about it. When we chose the Utah-400 system, we did it with confidence.”

The University of Iowa is counting on the Utah-400 router to last at least a decade and possibly two.

A factor in the decision to go with Utah was the router’s analog compatibility, as most of the university’s current master control system is comprised of analog channels. To keep the initial investment reasonable, the University installed a sparsely populated 144×144 matrix, knowing that it can grow in the future with the simple addition of digital cards.

The University of Iowa Video Services is part of the university’s IT department and therefore specializes in Web streaming. Content includes news, Iowa Hawkeye sports, arts, and educational programming—some of it produced by students—for live and archived IPTV and for campus and the regional UITV cable channel.

Popular content such as commencement ceremonies is broadcast live both on UITV and the Internet, archived for the Web, and encoded for playback later on UITV. With the Utah-400, engineers can input a single feed and output it in multiple formats for an MPEG-2 encoder, analog CATV modulators, and digital SD and HD satellite uplink.

The University of Iowa took delivery of the Utah-400 router in May and installed it during the summer academic break. The system went into service in August.