Pittsfield Community Television Enhances Cable Network Operation with Tightrope Media Systems

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Cablecast SXHD solution establishes automated, file-based workflow environment and new media platform for local cable network

Shawn Serre at PCTV Headend

Shawn Serre at PCTV Headend

It makes the entire operation very reliable.

Tightrope Media Systems is helping Pittsfield Community Television (PCTV) in Massachusetts more efficiently automate content across three cable channels using the company’s range of Cablecast automation and video server solutions.

PCTV, serving the Pittsfield, Dalton and Richmond communities, produces and broadcasts programming for three distinct channels: Access Pittsfield, a public access channel; Pittsfield ETV, showing educational programming; and government programming channel Citylink. Each station offers interactive bulletin boards, video-on-demand and live web streaming — all enabled through Tightrope Media solutions.

A longtime Cablecast customer, PCTV added Tightrope Media’s new Cablecast SX2HD platform to incorporate high-definition programming. The Cablecast SX2HD video server supports three channels (one in, two out), multi-format SD/HD encoding and decoding, and built-in content storage (16TB). PCTV has also established file-based workflows using Cablecast SX2HD, allowing the facility to work more efficiently by moving away from tape-based studio operations.

In addition to program scheduling and playout, Cablecast SX2HD incorporates Tightrope Media’s Carousel digital signage application to manage program graphics, channel logo insertion and bulletin board content created both in-house and from the community.

“Cablecast SX2HD is the central heart-pumping system for everything that runs through here,” said Shawn Serre, chief engineer, Pittsfield Community Television. “That seamless integration means we’re not dealing with a lot of different components and vendors that don’t work together. It makes the entire operation very reliable.”

The Cablecast SX2HD video server supports native playout of many different file formats, including MPEG2 I-Frame only (up to 100Mbps) and DVCPro HD and SD. This helps PCTV retain video quality and eliminate cumbersome content transcoding processes that many facilities experience upon migration to file-based workflows.

Serre adds that the efficiencies extend well beyond internal processes and onto the greater community through the interactive capabilities of Carousel.

“The built-in Carousel Framework allows viewers, as well as educational and government users, to create and submit messages for broadcast on the bulletin boards,” said Serre. “These are displayed to 20,000 households along with community info, weather data, RSS feeds and other content. Carousel also informs viewers about upcoming programs and schedules. It’s very vital to the workflow.”

Serre notes that Tightrope Media Systems has grown along with PCTV as it moves away from being strictly appointment television. Cablecast SX2HD’s automated operation extends to Cablecast video-on-demand (Cablecast ProVOD) and live streaming (Cablecast SX Live) solutions to help viewers consume content in new ways.

“The rise of new media means that people are hungry to consume content in non-traditional ways, so being able to provide television in different manners gives our viewers more options,” said Serre. “People are more likely to think of us a forward-thinking organization, which is important in community television. Tightrope has made it very efficient for us to automate channels and bulletin boards while moving to HD and file-based workflows.”

About Tightrope Media Systems
Founded in 1997, Tightrope Media Systems is the pioneer of web-centric digital signage and broadcast automation systems. It provides station automation, video servers, internet video on demand, live streaming, the Carousel Digital Signage system, and ZEPLAY, a multi-channel instant replay machine for stadiums, arenas and Outside Broadcast vehicles. Tightrope's award winning systems are used throughout the world. You can reach Tightrope Media Systems at (866) 866-4118 or visit them on the web at http://www.trms.com.

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Jeremy, Cleek
Tightrope Media Systems
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