Insights into Hyperlocal and Community Media

Cloud-Hosted Government TV

December 3, 2014, 11:54 by dliu
NCCTV Studio Antonio Prado and Mike Hendry

Antonio Prado giving a studio tour to visiting high school media teacher Mike Hendry

As a relative newcomer to government video broadcasting, New Castle County in Delaware is not weighed down by legacy technology, and has been able to leapfrog into the future with a completely cloud-hosted linear broadcast channel.

“That sums up why TelVue is great,” enthused Antonio Prado, Director of Communications for New Castle.  “Our IT people saw the merit of not having any broadcast equipment in house.” With no need for a broadcast server at the headend, Prado and his staff can operate the New Castle County TV channel (NCCTV) from any Internet connection, because their channel is managed inside the TelVue Hosted Broadcasting Cloud.

How does it work? New Castle County TV runs off a Virtual TelVue HyperCaster®, which offers the user-friendly HyperCaster broadcast management interface without the need to maintain any broadcast hardware on site. Video content is uploaded through the Internet to TelVue ConnectTM – a content aggregation and management system – for direct distribution to the Virtual HyperCaster (VHC). Live studio output can be fed via IP encoder –> up to the public Internet –> to the VHC. Community message boards don’t even have to be uploaded, since they are generated directly in the cloud.TelVue Hosted Broadcasting Solution for New Castle DelawareIt then becomes a simple task to arrange these different elements into a 24/7 channel, using the HyperCaster’s built-in drag-and-drop scheduling, plus the IP StreamThruTM feature that allows a programmer to schedule and switch IP events right in the VHC interface.

TelVue takes care of delivering the final VHC output signal to Comcast and Verizon. “Our long relationship with Comcast and Verizon paved the way for their acceptance of this innovative form of peering,” explains Paul Andrews, TelVue’s Senior Vice-President for Sales and Marketing.

In addition, TelVue delivers the NCCTV live streaming channel to Internet viewers through the TelVue CloudCastTM service, so viewers can watch directly from a web player.  Prado is currently building up a video-on-demand library as well, which will become accessible through the same CloudCast player.

Prado says the feedback from their viewers has been good. “We’ve run features on local Polish and African-American festivals, a weekly message from the Governor, Department of Safety events, and some shorter pieces.”  The station also has access to the TelVue Connect Media Exchange, a potential source of even more diverse programming.

NCCTVset

NCCTV interview show with host Melody Kitchen

The migration to TelVue’s 100% Hosted Broadcasting solution began when New Castle County Executive Tom Gordon realized the government’s TV channel was not being used to its fullest potential.  Previously, NCCTV ran only bulletin boards.  Gordon realized the government could do a better job of reaching its constituents, and worked with Prado to build up enough local production capacity to be able to provide some real TV viewing to the NCCTV audience.

“There was a time this county had a local news channel and a PBS station, but no more,” says Prado, and the former newspaperman set about teaching himself everything he needed to know about video production, equipment, and studios. “My job was to realize Gordon’s vision.”  Job done.

Monetize your Channel

November 20, 2014, 12:58 by dliu

PlaylistWe’ve already blogged about some of the ways the HyperCaster v5.0 release can enhance your broadcast workflow. But do you realize it also opens up new ways to monetize your channel with ads?

The HyperCaster always had the ability to schedule Ads as individual pieces of content within the programming lineup.  Now that you can include continuity playout in the As Run Reports, running ads has become even easier.  Just create a Continuity Playlist of ads.  Not only will this run wherever you have a programming gap, but it will also register these ads as playout events.  That means you can export a full playout report at the end of the month for billing purposes.

For more details on how to use the HyperCaster to play ads in your programming, read this Typical Use Case.

Easy Download of Democracy Now!

November 18, 2014, 16:51 by dliu

DN! in ConnectWith today’s release of TelVue Connect v1.7.4, re-broadcasters of Democracy Now! can have each new daily episode auto-distributed to their TelVue broadcast server from the TelVue Connect Media Exchange.

Democracy Now! has always been available as a video in the Media Exchange.  Starting today, Democracy Now! is available as a Series. The difference between licensing a video and licensing a Series is that Series will automatically populate the Media Libraries of TV stations that subscribe.

That means that after each Democracy Now! episode is added to the Media Exchange (usually between 10am-11am, Mon-Fri), those who subscribed to it will find it in their TelVue Connect Media Library.

From there, TelVue Connect Pro users who have their account synchronized to their TelVue broadcast server can set their accounts to “auto-distribute”, which will then push the media up to the broadcast server, ready to be scheduled.

One more time-saving tool from the TelVue Team!

Ocean Videos in Media Exchange

October 23, 2014, 12:00 by dliu

OceanOceans can be all too easy to overlook.  Literally.  How many of us, when admiring a coastal vista, have any idea what goes on under the gleaming surface of the sea? Yet there is an ecosystem underwater that is teeming with life, beauty, and unfathomable mystery.  And now there is a lens onto that world: Your Sanctuary TV. Local TV stations can re-broadcast this beautiful TV series, distributed for free by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF).

Your Sanctuary TV’s rapidly growing collection of broadcast-quality TV programming is a success story for productive collaboration between local access TV and community institutions.  It started like this: when Steve Ellzey was an executive producer at ampmedia.org, he visited the nearby Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and asked if they would like to collaborate on a series.  The first couple of programs were noticed by Dan Basta, Director of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, who immediately saw the potential for this kind of public outreach.  “Dan Basta’s vision was pivotal to the development of Your Sanctuary TV,” explains Ellzey.  “He saw that this was more than just a TV show.  It was a way to market the mission of marine sanctuaries to the public.”

A previously unknown mollusk species, as seen in “The Seafloor HD” episode of Your Sanctuary TV series, available in the TelVue Connect Media Exchange.

A previously unknown mollusk species, as seen in “The Seafloor HD” episode of Your Sanctuary TV series, available in the TelVue Connect Media Exchange.

The first programs were produced by the NMSF, AMPmedia, NOAA, and Your Sanctuary TV.  As word of the TV series spread in the marine sanctuary network, programming started coming in from other outposts like marine sanctuaries in the Florida Keys and Hawaii. Ellzey has become a curator as well as a producer, and at last count the Your Sanctuary collection had grown to 115 videos.  Some of these are organized as a series of roughly 25-minute magazine-style shows, hosted by Paul Michel, Superintendent of the Monterey Sanctuary.  An environmentalist by training, Michel honed his TV hosting skills (and overcame camera shyness) with some media training and now, Ellzey says, “Paul’s natural affability shines through.”

Ellzey has just started publicizing the availability of Your Sanctuary TV programming, and he is pleased with the results.  “Within a couple of weeks of the first email blast to hundreds of PEG stations around the country,” he reports, “the programs had been licensed a total of 410 times.”  Ellzey is currently working on a longer-term distribution strategy that would make innovative use of community and national resources to spread the word about preserving one of the most precious resources on earth – the oceans.

The Your Sanctuary TV broadcast-quality videos can be downloaded from the TelVue Connect Media Exchange, a source of free syndicated programming such as Democracy Now!, National Science Foundation educational videos, Ad Council PSAs, and many local and regional TV programs of a wide variety of styles and topics.  If you don’t already have a free Media Exchange account, ask us for one.

New Features In TelVue HyperCaster™ v5.0 Release

October 22, 2014, 10:00 by dliu

Oct 22, 2014 – (Mount Laurel, NJ) TelVue® Corporation (OTC: TEVE), the innovation leader in Television and Internet Broadcasting for cable operators, media companies and communities, today released version 5.0 of the TelVue HyperCaster™ IP Broadcast System, adding many new and powerful feature enhancements.

“TelVue is committed to continually improving the HyperCaster IP broadcast platform to keep our clients on the leading edge of TV technology,” explains Jesse Lerman, President and CEO of TelVue Corporation. “With HyperCaster v5.0 and its enhanced workflow features, launching and managing a professional HD broadcast channel has never been easier.”

Version 5.0 of the HyperCaster multi-format SD/HD/4K playback server includes:

  1. Flexible Content Storage: The HyperCaster now integrates with any external storage system for more flexibility in storage expansion and archiving.
  2. Enhanced On-air Graphics:  True downstream, per-channel HD/SD graphics for on-air logo / bugs, multiple tickers, and snipes  are all managed within the HyperCaster’s user interface.
  3. Enhanced Scheduling:  Powerful new block copy-and-paste scheduling and expanded drag-and-drop scheduling capabilities.
  4. Integrated Content Previews: Preview full motion video content at the native aspect ratio within the HyperCaster interface, whether onsite or remote, with the ability to select preview speed.

TelVue’s award-winning HyperCaster™ IP Broadcast Server originates up to 20 channels in a single rack unit server. Manage video content and schedule broadcasts through an easy-to-use browser-based interface.  The TelVue HyperCaster is designed to operate seamlessly with one or more external TelVue ProVue™ IP decoders – supporting automatic HD/SD up-and-down-conversion of both video and graphics – which greatly simplifies mixed format workflows.

AdCaster 1.2 Release

October 1, 2014, 08:37 by dliu

AdCaster A1000

Check out the latest features and improvements to the TelVue AdCaster digital ad server.

Highlights of this week’s AdCaster 1.2 release include:

  • the ability to download the As Run report as a CSV for those using the AdCaster without a full Traffic & Billing system
  • a new browser-based log viewer that displays logs in real-time and allows sophisticated filtering, viewing multiple log files merged in one screen, or partitioning the screen into regions to view certain logs at the same time.

Here are the full AdCaster 1.2 release notes.

Must-See at Cable-Tec Expo

September 23, 2014, 17:09 by dliu

2014CableTecThe TelVue Booth (#1615) at the annual Cable-Tec Expo in Denver this week is demonstrating the 4K HyperCaster, the AdCaster, and all the features that make it easy for you to stay at the forefront of broadcast technology.

If you’re in Denver, stop by and say hi to Henry (in the picture) or Jerry (who took the picture).

 

TelVue Connect – New Release

September 17, 2014, 10:41 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, 09:58 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 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.