ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA – As a two-time winner of national awards for excellence in government access television, Edison TV prides itself on making its programming easily available to residents of the Township of Edison, New Jersey on both its cable channel and online. When the station set out last year to find a replacement for its aging playout and automation system, it turned to the Cablecast platform from Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) to meet its dual goals of visual and workflow enhancements.
“Like so many community channels, we’re only able to broadcast in standard definition, but we wanted to be able to offer our live streams and video-on-demand clips in HD,” said Michael D’Amato, broadcast communications manager for the Township of Edison. “We also really wanted a solution with an easier, more efficient and more automated workflow. We were jumping through a hundred hoops with our existing systems to get programming on the air, keep the live stream working, and get VOD clips and program schedules onto the township’s website.”
After researching numerous solutions, D’Amato selected Cablecast. “You would think it would have been easiest for us to continue with our previous vendor, but we found Cablecast’s feature set best suited to our needs,” he said. “Its intuitive interface stood out, as did time-saving features like being able to duplicate complete blocks of repeated programming between days or dayparts.”
A Cablecast SXLEHD server and Cablecast Broadcast Automation software now power playout for Edison TV’s cable broadcasts, while Cablecast Live and Cablecast VOD servers create bandwidth-efficient live HD streams and on-demand clips for online and mobile viewing. Tightrope’s Carousel Digital Signage Software rounds out the deployment, integrating seamlessly with the Cablecast platform to manage the station’s video bulletin board. Systems integrator Varto Technologies supplied and installed the systems.
Cablecast’s ease of use and efficient automation have delivered quantifiable benefits for Edison TV. “Whenever we created a program schedule, it used to take a lot of time and effort to copy it onto the township’s website and get it onto our bulletin board,” D’Amato explained. “I’d spend an hour and a half on Fridays creating and publishing the next three days’ schedule. With Cablecast, it takes me less than 10 minutes to create the schedule and my work is done – the tight integration between Cablecast, Carousel and our website automatically puts it into all the places and platforms we need. I can put those time savings towards focusing on creating great content.”
Cablecast’s frictionless online publishing workflow has been similarly advantageous. “We used to export our VOD clips manually from our editing system, which tied up the workstation,” said D’Amato. “With Cablecast, all I have to do is check a box when creating the schedule, and it automatically creates the high definition MP4 file and makes it available on our website. Creating live streams is equally easy and, like all aspects of Cablecast, has been very reliable for us – a benefit we didn’t have with our old streaming system, where our streams were often down.”
Further enhancing viewers’ online experiences, D’Amato used Cablecast’s Public Site web templates to quickly and easily launch a new, feature-rich Edison TV website that is automatically populated with the latest content. “The Cablecast Public Site gives us a much more professional look than we had before, with powerful new features such as keyword-based searches of our VOD library and a dynamically updated program schedule,” he enthused. “It’s been a huge upgrade for our online visitors.”
Last but not least, Cablecast has given Edison TV the flexibility they need as they continue their HD transition. “We edit and bring in our programming in HD, but we also incorporate some file-based SD content and ingest material from DVDs,” D’Amato said. “The ability to bring all of that in and mix it on the programming schedule without needing to convert it is a terrific capability. That really sums what Cablecast has done for us overall – the results have been terrific.”
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.