Insights into Hyperlocal and Community Media

TelVue Connect – New Release

September 17, 2014, 10:41 am by dliu

TelVue Connect users should notice some improvements when logging into version 1.7.1, released this morning.  The changes range from performance improvements, to changes in storage accounting for Media Exchange users, and some cosmetic changes like clearer tab navigation on top:MediaXtab

Details of the improvements and bug fixes are listed here.

TelVue HyperCaster 4K Broadcaster Awarded Four Diamonds by BTR

September 10, 2014, 9:58 am by dliu
HyperCaster 4K is a Winner!

HyperCaster 4K is a Winner!

Sep 10, 2014 (Mount Laurel, NJ) – TelVue® (OTC: TEVE) is pleased to announce the TelVue HyperCaster® 4K IP Broadcaster was awarded Four Diamonds in this year’s Broadband Technology Report (BTR) Diamond Technology Reviews, for being “an excellent product, easy to operate,” according to the judges.

BTR criteria used in the Diamonds rankings include, first and foremost, unique technology or application thereof, innovation, ease of use, efficiency, reliability and contribution to profitability.

“The HyperCaster 4K is the first affordable SD, HD and 4K TV-station-in-a-box on the market.  We are pleased that the distinguished BTR judges recognize its quality and ease of use,” said TelVue President and CEO, Jesse Lerman.

In evaluating the HyperCaster 4K, the judges commented:  “With 4K TV’s now on the market, operators looking to offer some content specific to these devices can leverage TelVue’s Hypercaster 4K based on a friendly Linux system for easy systems integration. As a bonus, Hypercaster can also serve up an IP stream for consumer owned devices.”

The TelVue HyperCaster 4K is the latest version of TelVue’s flagship HyperCaster IP Broadcast Servers, which previously garnered industry awards for innovative, flexible and reliable content ingest, management and multi-format (SD, HD and 4K) playout features. The HyperCaster 4K can be used in all broadcast, Internet OTT, Cable, Satellite and Digital Cinema applications.  The HyperCaster 4K will be on display at the upcoming SCTE Cable Tec Expo in Denver, Sept. 22-25.

How Best to Obtain Technical Support

August 22, 2014, 11:04 am by Chris Perry

In the course of normal operation, systems will undoubtedly hiccup from time to time, new staff members may come aboard and have questions, or you will have to make simple, yet infrequent, changes and may need a refresher; luckily, with TelVue Care, you’re covered for all of these support-related needs.  But what’s the best way to obtain support, and what should you expect when you ask?  The following blog post offers notes from TelVue insiders on the best way to get support for your system that will ultimately provide the path for quickest resolution.

Technical Support is built into two tiers: Emergency and Non-Emergency.  As in the ER, TelVue prioritizes support cases dynamically, responding to “off the air” cases first, and general support cases (questions, information requests) in the order they are received.  There are two ways to submit non-emergency cases: email and phone.  Emergency cases should ALWAYS be handled via a special set of prompts within our phone system.

An Emergency case means you need help now, or within an extremely small window of time.  Some examples include:

-You’re off the air.

-You’ve got a meeting starting very soon and you can’t see the feed.

-You’ve got an error that’s causing, or will imminently cause, a production outage.

-You suffered a major power loss and are having difficulty getting the system back online.

In order to receive support most quickly for these type of cases, regardless of the time, or day of the week, it’s best to call 800-885-8886 and follow the prompts for EMERGENCY SUPPORT.  You can also get directly into that system by dialing extension 611.  Leave a clearly spoken message, including:

-Your name and the organization for which you work;

-A good call back number or the best way to contact you;

-Quick summary of the issue you are experiencing;

-Any deadlines that must be met.

Once this message is left, it triggers the following: First, it starts a ticket in our support system that is emailed to all support reps, and, at the same time, sends your voicemail to the on-call technicians.  You should expect a call back within 30 minutes.  For systems to which we have remote access, we do frequently start working on things much more quickly than that, especially if it’s the middle of the night (we want to go back to sleep, too!)

A Non-Emergency case mean you need help soon, or you have general questions, comments, or need clarification on something.  75% of these cases are resolved within 24 hours, and are handled within normal support hours, which are from 8AM-8PM EST.  Some examples:

-You’ve got an event tomorrow afternoon that you wanted to verify signal continuity.

-You’re working to activate a new service that you are working to take live.

-You want training on the system(s) or have general questions.

-You want to schedule an upgrade or request support at a specific time.

The first step in submitting a non-emergency support case is determining that a support case is needed.  This may sound silly, but sometimes, failing to arrive at, “I need to contact support”,  turns a non-emergency issue into a total meltdown.  I  typically abide by the rule of 5’s: five minutes of “brute force” and “sanity check” troubleshooting, five minutes of searching the manual or the web, and finally, five minutes submitting a support case.  These cases are frequently best handled via emailing support@telvue.com, as the email itself provides a great “future reference” tool.  Within this original email, be sure to include:

-The organization for which you work;

-A brief description of the issue or request;

-A detailed description of any steps taken to resolve the issue;

-Any deadlines that must be met.

Sometimes, it’s easier to highlight the improper or inefficient methods for obtaining support:

-Replying to an old support case for a new issue- once we close a case it gets archived.

-Directly emailing or directly calling a specific support rep, who may be on vacation or working on other projects.

-Calling, texting, or emailing a sales rep requesting support.

-Emailing in an emergency support case, especially on weekends or outside the Monday-Friday 8-8 EST timeframe.

-Carrier Pigeon, Ham Radio, Smoke Signals, Semaphore, US Mail.

It’s also worth noting here that if you have an issue, even if you resolve it yourself, it may still be worth submitting a support case.  At bare minimum, it allows us to track possible issues in the field, as well as relay information back to the staff at the organization if there are questions about resolving that same issue in the future.  Frequently, we even have a resolution for a known issue in the field, and letting us know gives us a chance to fix the problem and prevent it from happening in the future.

There is a third class of support case that normally falls into one of the first two, except that the resolution time is longer.  Fewer than 5% of all support cases fall into this category.  Sometimes, when integrating our systems with another third-party system or environment, there are unexpected compatibility issues that range from simple communication errors, to truly systemic incompatibility.  These would be considered “escalation” cases, as they could involve development, engineering and management.  While the path to resolution may be longer, TelVue is committed to providing tightly integrated solutions that work out of the box; your experience as a customer is our number one priority.

TelVue Support is here to help. In summary:

-Determine if your issue/request is emergency or non-emergency

If an Emergency, call 800-885-8886, ex. 611

If a Non-Emergency, email support@telvue.com

-Submit a detailed ticket using the methods above, including a brief description of the issue and any steps taken to resolve it.

-Be patient; we will get back to you as soon as we can.

In order to receive support in the most timely manner, a current TelVue Care support plan is required.  For customers purchasing new systems, the first year is included for free!  For subsequent years of support, the cost is calculated based on a percentage of the actual purchase price.  For more information on TelVue Care, feel free to reach out directly to your sales representative.

As always, we are continually working to improve the support process.  If you have any suggestions on how we can provide a higher quality of support, please let us know.  Stay tuned for our upcoming tips on system troubleshooting.

 

PhillyCam Upgrades to High-Definition with TelVue

August 8, 2014, 8:15 am by dliu

PCAMLogoSlogan3f8f8_0Aug 6, 2014 – (Mount Laurel, NJ) TelVue® Corporation (OTC: TEVE), the innovation leader in Television and Internet Broadcasting for communities, cable operators, and media companies is pleased to be providing the High-definition Broadcast technology for Philadelphia’s Public Access TV station, PhillyCam.

“Our producers have been creating video content in high-definition for some time, and with TelVue’s broadcast system, viewers will be able to appreciate the HD quality of these programs” explains Gretjen Clausing, PhillyCam’s Executive Director.  PhillyCam is currently available as a Standard-definition channel on Comcast and Verizon, and will be simulcast in HD – live and on-demand – over the Internet.  “We wanted to upgrade to HD in a way that gave us flexibility in the future,” Clausing adds, “TelVue’s HyperCaster system gives us modern workflows, enhanced on-air graphics capabilities, and can easily be scaled up when we expand our channel offerings.”

PhillyCam’s HD channel is powered by the latest generation TelVue HyperCaster® Broadcast server, which combines the efficiency of all-digital and Internet Protocol (IP) workflows with the convenience of a browser-based content management and scheduling system.  Through integration with the TelVue CloudCastTM streaming service, PhillyCam can reach multiple viewing screens, including smartphones, tablets, and over-the-top Internet TV boxes like Roku®. With the TelVue ConnectTM content aggregation service, PhillyCam can more easily acquire programming from producers, members, and the community.

“I admire PhillyCam’s amazing growth in the five years since its launch,” says Jesse Lerman, TelVue’s President and CEO.  “We take pride in helping community media operations keep up with the rapid changes in broadcast technology. Upgrading their channels to high-definition with cloud-enhanced workflow is a big part of that.”

More Ways to Make Your Video Announcements Sing!

August 4, 2014, 10:05 am by dliu

Users of the Video Producer feature in TelVue Connect will be glad to see a whole bunch of new animation templates to choose from.  As with all the Video Producer styles, these range from the highly thematic (check out the “old glory” example, below), to the very subtle (“champagne”),  to the downright quirky (#1 Dad).

Video Producer is the optional feature in TelVue Connect that allows people of any technical skill level to make professional video announcements and spots right in their browser, for export to your video library and further distribution to your TV channel.

Video Producer is perfect for a fresh look at community bulletin board announcements, making your TV channel look more like TV and less like signage. And what is great is you don’t have to do all of the work! Your contributors and members of the community can easily create and directly submit videos to you for your review and approval. Video Producer also shines for making sponsorship or ad spots.

Here’s a quick rendition, using a new template called “Old Glory”:

Those with a Video Producer license can start using the new templates right away. If you have a TelVue Connect account but don’t yet have the Video Producer license, you can still experiment with a Video Producer demo by hovering over the Media tab and clicking “Produce a Video”. If you’d like to activate Video Producer for your organization, please email sales@telvue.com

P.S. – with Video Producer, you also get access to tons of rights-cleared soundtracks.

TelVue’s HyperCaster offers On-Air Emergency Notification

August 1, 2014, 9:17 am by dliu
Emergency Notifications as an on-screen text crawl

Emergency Notifications as an on-screen text crawl

July 31, 2014 – (Mount Laurel, NJ) TelVue® Corporation (OTC: TEVE), the innovation leader in Television and Internet Broadcasting for communities, cable operators, and media companies announces the release of the Emergency Notification Console for the HyperCaster SDI Broadcast Server – giving community leadership the ability to quickly add on-air emergency video text messaging on High-definition and Standard-definition TV channels.

“What an important tool we now have!  Now we can remotely send tickers such as Flash Flood Warnings immediately to air, which we couldn’t do with our old broadcast automation playout,” says Bill Maffit, Technical Coordinator for Nā Leo ʻO TV in Hawaii.  “Mahalo for the new Emergency Notification feature.”

“Emergency notification for communities is a key responsibility for local broadcasters,” explains TelVue President and CEO Jesse Lerman.  “By building this feature directly into our flagship HyperCaster SDI broadcast server, municipal, community, and other hyperlocal broadcasters can save precious time in getting emergency messages to the viewing public.”

The Emergency Notification Console allows a TV station administrator to grant key personnel (e.g. the police department, the mayor’s office, office of emergency management) the authority to compose a text ticker message that “crawls” across the screen, overlaying any ongoing video programming.  The emergency text message is typed into an easy-to-use web interface, with no interference or access to the rest of the broadcast server’s management interface.

In addition to emergency notifications, the HyperCaster SDI’s built-in graphics feature allows station managers to add station identification “logo” graphics and any number of informational text “crawls” across the screen. For simulcast delivery of a single programming channel in both High-definition and Standard-definition, on-air graphics are automatically presented in the proper resolution.

Another TelVue-powered Roku Channel

July 31, 2014, 8:21 am by dliu
Atheist TV in the Roku Channel Store

Atheist TV in the Roku Channel Store

Whether PEG, sports, religious, or non-religious – TelVue is powering all sorts of new TV channels on the Roku platform.  The latest addition is Atheist TV, which launched this week with a good amount of publicity.

Atheist TV is a production of American Atheists, a group that describes its mission as “promoting the separation of state and church”.

Like many of the other Roku channels developed by TelVue, Atheist TV’s content can be viewed as both a live streaming channel and video-on-demand.  Atheist TV is powered by TelVue’s Hosted Broadcasting service, which allows media companies to manage a broadcast or Internet channel through a simple browser-based interface.  Subscription is free through the Roku Channel Store.

TelVue Expands Hosted Broadcasting Services with Level 3

July 24, 2014, 3:26 pm by dliu

July 24, 2014 – (Mount Laurel, NJ) TelVue® Corporation (OTC: TEVE), the innovation leader in Internet and Television Broadcasting services for communities, cable operators, and media companies, has significantly upgraded its hosted broadcasting and cloud video services with a migration to Level 3 Communications® IP network.

“The integration of Level 3 Communications into our rapidly-expanding hosted Internet broadcast platform is a big win for TelVue and our customers,” explains TelVue CIO Mark Steele.  “With the wide adoption of cloud-based services in TV and Internet broadcast, we needed a world class partner that could guarantee reliable, fast, and scalable Internet access and video interconnect services.”

TelVue’s hosted broadcast clients benefit from the redundancy, load sharing, and diverse fiber routing of Level 3’s robust global network.  In addition to TelVue’s innovative TV channel-in-a-box solutions, TelVue offers a unique array of cloud-hosted broadcast services for broadcasters who do not want to support on-premise broadcast equipment, or want to augment their traditional workflow with the power of the cloud:

  • TelVue Hosted BroadcastTM: for 100% cloud-based linear broadcasting that leaves the operator free to upload programming, manage and broadcast TV channels from any Internet connection without requiring a broadcast facility or equipment.
  • TelVue ConnectTM: for cloud-based content aggregation, moderation, scheduling and transcoding, along with access to syndicated programming in the Media Exchange, and the versatile Video Producer tool for creating short animated spots.
  • TelVue CloudCastTM: for streaming professional-quality live or VOD over the Internet, to multiple viewing devices including mobile, tablet, PC, TV, and over-the-top boxes like Roku®.

 

 

New HyperCaster Features: Block Copy and Overlay Scheduling

June 30, 2014, 3:03 pm by dliu

TelVue recently asked our users what new time saving feature they would like to see developed for the TelVue HyperCaster.  In response, we are pleased to announce that the “Block Scheduling”, is now available in the latest HyperCaster v4.3. (See Release Notes).

BlockCopyButton

The “Block Copy” function allows a programmer to easily copy/paste a block of playout events from one part of your programming schedule to another.  (See HyperCaster User Manual for instructions).

AddOverlayAnother big enhancement in v4.3 is the ability to schedule a graphic overlay in the Programming Classic View.  On-air Bugs and Text Crawls can now be scheduled – just as you would any other event.

You asked.  We listened.  Enjoy the new features.

The HyperCaster's "Block Copy" UI

The HyperCaster’s “Block Copy” UI

In Calendar View, this is an example of one block of programming, repeated twice.

In Calendar View, this is an example of one block of programming, repeated twice.

 

Equipped for the Future

June 27, 2014, 9:26 am by dliu

Station-of-the-month:  RETN/VCAM

CoopAs an Educational TV operation, RETN (Regional Educational Television Network) is constantly looking to stretch the traditional PEG mandate beyond the limitations of traditional TV technology. Along with partner station VCAM (Vermont Community Access Media), RETN has not only moved to HD, but is also fully integrating the Web in its video distribution strategy. “The tools are changing. It’s a paradigm shift, even though we haven’t strayed from our core mission,” says RETN Content Manager Drew Frazier.

The core mission for RETN and VCAM in Burlington, Vermont, would sound familiar to any PEG aficionado: “Community involvement. And trying to draw from 12 communities around Burlington all manner of program sharing. And educating the community on the use of new media tools.” So says Scott Campitelli, Executive Director of RETN and the driving force behind the station’s transition to modernity.

RETN/VCAM have the advantage of operating in a state where PEG stations are well-known, watched, and appreciated. Vermont has the greatest number of PEG channels per capita of any state in the U.S. – 27 access centers, running a total of 45 channels – in a state with no more than 700,000 residents. “Politicians come into our access centers. Local government officials and legislators know the local access organizations and community media centers,” Scott explains.

HD Upgrade

RETN and VCAM are fortunate to be distributing over a local telco – Burlington Telecom – which operates a Gig network and had not only the bandwidth, but also the vision to grant VCAM an HD channel, with RETN planning to work with BT for another HD channel soon. Read more …