Insights into Hyperlocal and Community Media

HyperCaster Breaks the Ice

September 14, 2016, 08:08 by dliu
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Title screen from a TNI children’s series

The Arctic may seem a daunting place to many, but to Taqramiut Nipingat Inc (TNI), the Inuit regional broadcaster, it is an opportunity. More than that – it is a mandate. “We do things nobody else does,” explains Julie Grenier, TNI’s Production Director, “Documentaries about our people and our region’s culture, traditions and activities: like mussel-picking under the ice; Arctic Winter Games; educational children’s programming in our native language, Inuktitut.”

In fact 100% of TNI’s programming is produced in Inuktitut, the language of Nunavik (also known as Arctic Quebec). TNI produces more than 30 documentaries a year, including some that are broadcast on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN).

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TV production in the Arctic climate can be a challenge

TNI serves an audience of about 12,000 people, spread out over 14 communities that are so remote you can’t reach them by road. You have to fly – and from Montreal to TNI’s head office in Salluit the airfare alone can cost around $4,000. Logistics make communication challenging, but all the more essential.

“It was a huge investment, but every community is now connected,” Grenier says of the development of TNI’s operations. Known as the “Voice of the North”, TNI began in the mid-1970s with radio, and gradually expanded to TV. Because the network’s outer reaches are so remote, installation and repair of anything becomes that much harder, and far more expensive.

Thus began TNI’s search for an alternative to satellite transmission. The decision to switch over to IP was not without some hesitation. Internet is very limited in Nunavik. There is only one provider and the basic speed is 128kbps up and 512kbps down. Still, the initial transfer of radio broadcasts to IP has been a success, and TNI is turning its attention to TV over IP.

“We had to find a solution that would allow us to continue broadcasting without the crazy satellite costs,” says Grenier. TNI began testing IP broadcast in a single community, with the TelVue HyperCaster IP broadcast server and TelVue Connect cloud video management. Because of the remoteness of the network, the testing phase is still ongoing after two years. But Grenier is hopeful about expanding IP broadcast to the rest of the Nunavik communities by next March.

In the meantime, Grenier has her hands full developing partnerships, producing TNI’s Inuktitut-language content, and running what has to be one of the most unique broadcast operations in the world.

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TelVue HyperCaster v5.5 is here, and we think you’re going to like the new features!

August 30, 2016, 08:26 by dliu
HyperCaster v5.5 direct upload to Connect

One-click upload to Connect/CloudCast

With HyperCaster v5.5 you can now upload video content directly from the HyperCaster to TelVue Connect/CloudCast VOD with a mouse click. The seamless integration with TelVue Connect/CloudCast™ means you can easily upload HyperCaster content to any of your TelVue Connect playlists, series, or categories, as well as map more of the metadata and view a VOD preview from the HyperCaster’s external schedule.

You will appreciate the new Playlist Randomization feature, which easily allows you to “shuffle” a HyperCaster video playlist — useful if you want to randomize the order of your video continuity playlist items.

HyperCaster v5.5 Virtual Trim

Virtual Trimming Tool

Virtual trimming of a video is much more visual with the new sliders in the preview player. Just high-speed scrub to the desired in and out points to customize the offset and duration of any video in your HyperCaster.

The HyperCaster v5.5 includes the ability to schedule playout and capture any local or Internet-based IP, RTMP or HLS video stream, expanding your live source options to include nearly everything streamed on the Internet.

For more excitement, please refer to the full release notes for full details on HyperCaster v5.5 enhancements.

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TelVue Launches New Configurable Broadcast Server for Hyperlocal TV

August 17, 2016, 09:11 by dliu

Aug 17, 2016 – (Mount Laurel, NJ) TelVue® Corporation (OTC: TEVE), the innovation leader in Television and Internet Broadcasting for communities, cable operators, and media companies today unveiled the HyperCaster AIO (All-In-One), a broadcast server with the ultimate flexibility in Input/Output configuration.

HyperCaster AIO (All-In-One)

HyperCaster AIO (All-In-One)

The HyperCaster AIO is the first in TelVue’s highly successful HyperCaster Broadcast Server Series to include multiple, software configurable digital baseband (SDI) ports in a single server supporting playout, encoding and switching of live baseband video inputs. The HyperCaster AIO comes with up to twelve, auto-sensing SDI ports, and can handle format changes on the fly with built-in up/down/cross-conversion.

Coupled with the HyperCaster’s IP output, and StreamThru™ switching and capture capabilities, the SDI input/output features provide the best of both traditional SDI and modern IP workflows all in one box. The AIO can broadcast and record a variety of live sources including:

  • remote encoders on a LAN or backhauled over the Internet
  • networked programming feeds
  • RTMP and HLS streams
  • baseband digital video

The HyperCaster AIO’s built-in graphic overlay feature supports broadcast-quality news tickers, bugs, motion logos and snipes over all sources including both files and live with optional video squeeze-back.

The HyperCaster AIO supports an optional Simulcast feature that allows outputting HD and SD versions of the same channel on a pair of SDI ports. Both file and live sources are automatically converted as needed for each Simulcast path, eliminating the cost and complexity of file pre-processing, upstream and downstream conversion equipment.

“The HyperCaster AIO allows stations to customize a single box playback server that blends right in to existing baseband workflows, without sacrificing the HyperCaster’s modular architecture or advanced IP features that make it easy to scale both input and output channels in the future,” says TelVue President and CEO Jesse Lerman. “Additionally, the HyperCaster AIO is a great fit for Public, Educational, and Government (PEG) Access operations that are such an important part of the community media ecosystem. Most PEG stations are still stuck with SD channels only on Cable, even though most of their programming sources are now in HD. This is a big frustration point for PEGs. The Simulcast feature coupled with TelVue CloudCast makes it easy to deliver channels in full HD for web and mobile viewing, and to TVs via popular OTT devices such as Roku and Apple TV, while still delivering to Cable in SD.”

The HyperCaster AIO sports two models:

  • The multi-channel HyperCaster AIO B2000 – a 2 rack unit box with up to 12 SDI ports with a mix of 5 simultaneous playback/encode channels, RAID 6 Storage, and redundant power supplies.
  • The single-channel HyperCaster AIO B100 – a 1 rack unit box with 4 SDI ports and 1 playback plus 1 encode channel.

Like all TelVue HyperCasters, the AIO models include a host of user-friendly features such as browser-based content management, easy scheduling tools, on-air graphics designer, multi-format HD/SD playback, and optional cloud video integration for content contribution, sharing, and streaming/OTT.

A live demonstration of the HyperCaster AIO will be featured at the upcoming Alliance for Community Media (ACM) National Conference in Boston, Aug 18-20.

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Get Ready for OTT and Mobile Delivery

July 12, 2016, 13:51 by dliu

Interested in streaming your TV channels? This webinar is for you!
DeviceMontage2016
“Stream to OTT and Multiple Devices”
Thu, July 14 at 2pm ET
Register
The future of video is streaming – not only to reach viewers on all kinds of devices, but also to reach the ever-growing OTT (Over-the-Top) market, which some predict will surpass the reach of broadcast by the Year 2020.

Learn how the all-new TelVue CloudCast can help you grow your audiences by making streaming easier: with browser-based content management, responsive video player, adaptive bitrate streaming to all devices, Roku and Apple TV apps, and integration with your broadcast workflow.

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The Future of Newspapers and Broadcast is Connected TV

June 7, 2016, 14:10 by dliu
Broadcasting news breaks from a newspaper

Broadcasting news breaks from a newspaper

Of all the organizations that are jumping on the OTT bandwagon, you might not expect to see newspapers. Yet that is precisely what is driving innovation at Calkins Media, a legacy media company with new media ambitions: hence Calkins Digital, which advocates video streaming for local media companies to “remain relevant”.

“At the end of the day everybody needs local news,” explains Guy Tasaka, Chief Digital Officer at Calkins Media. “The great experiment at Calkins is how to transform a print newsroom into a local media company with text, video, audio integrated into any platform.”

A short four years ago, Calkins was primarily print. Then they started to invest in teaching their people video production skills: arming reporters with iPhones, and training them to shoot and edit. Calkins started offering reporter videos, cooking shows, newsroom updates, and the occasional news show “package” – all sponsored. Comcast has included Calkins Media videos on its local Xfinity On Demand service.

But Jai Vyas, Calkins’ Director of Digital Innovation and Strategy, says VOD assets are important, yet hard to monetize.  “Linear has more credibility because it has been so successful for so many years.  Our analytics show the average viewing session for linear video is one and a half to two hours, compared to two minutes for VOD.”

Linear channels are not an easy task for newspapers to undertake, without a broadcaster’s knowledge and equipment. “That’s when we identified TelVue, about three years ago, when we started to evangelize linear video feeds for our news operations,” says Tasaka.

Vyas says it was impossible to ignore the spectacular growth of video consumption. “All the data says that is the direction to go in.  For us, TV solves the readership problem.”  Yet, Calkins didn’t want to go into the hardware business, and for them TelVue’s Virtual HyperCaster was the solution.

The Virtual HyperCaster is a cloud-based broadcast server that includes all the linear scheduling and content management tools of the regular HyperCaster, without the need for  broadcast hardware on the client premises.  Everything is managed in TelVue’s Hosted Broadcast cloud.

TelVue CEO Jesse Lerman says Calkins is blazing a trail for traditional print media to adopt new streaming video technologies. “TelVue makes it easier for all kinds of media companies to leverage the awesome power of video.  Video distribution technology is changing quickly and legacy media companies are eager to deploy these new distribution platforms with technology partners… TelVue is that technology partner.”

Tasaka: “We  loved the whole concept of cloud-based playout.  We knew it would be difficult and costly to replicate traditional hardware-based playout. We were saying the future was cloud-based playout.  So we were really happy when we found TelVue.  And now that’s where the industry went. TelVue was incredibly ahead of its time, and well-priced for the industry.”

Tasaka’s advice to anyone who wants to introduce new technologies to a legacy operation? “Any legacy company, no matter how forward-thinking, will get sucked under by the day-to-day grind, and won’t be able to look forward.  You have find things that don’t exist. Take a lot of arrows.  Duct-tape a lot of solutions together.  Identify trends and opportunities.  You need a strategic GPS.  We showed the publishers and general managers and built a culture of experimentation and innovation. Our newsrooms never asked for it.  Don’t wait til they ask.  Give it to them and let them experiment.”

The Bucks County Courier Times on Apple TV

The Bucks County Courier Times on Apple TV

Within the past year, Calkins has launched fifteen OTT channels that deliver hyperlocal news to the home TV: The Bucks County Courier Times, Wochit, and WWSB, all of which are available on Roku, FireTV, and Apple TV. There are plans to launch more linear channels from Calkins’ Philadelphia properties.

Says Tasaka: “We don’t position ourselves as a media tech company, we position ourselves as publishers and broadcasters with awesome technology.  We have presented to broadcasters much larger than us and the feedback has been, ‘You’ve anticipated and solved problems we haven’t identified yet!’ Being broadcasters and publishers in the OTT space helped us figure out branding, marketing, cultural issues. You can build as much tech as you want, but it’s about understanding what goes on in the building.”

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TelVue’s Celebrates 30th Anniversary

May 27, 2016, 15:07 by Lauren Caputo
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Jesse Lerman presenting the fully-responsive CloudCast VOD player.

What better way to kick off TelVue’s 30-year celebration of broadcast innovation than a reception for friends of TelVue at the Power of Partners Conference in Morristown, NJ!

At the tradeshow, TelVue displayed our 2016 innovations, including the new sleek and responsive CloudCast video-on-demand player and GoToAir, a cutting-edge IP video production application. An overwhelmingly positive audience listened as TelVue’s President and CEO, Jesse Lerman, and Senior VP of Sales, Paul Andrews, explained how to enhance a broadcast with these two neat, cost-effective broadcast tools.

TelVue provided digital signage for the Power of Partners Conference, powered by TelVue InfoVue, which also grabbed lots of attention. At the TelVue booth, two TV monitors displayed local traffic and weather feeds, social media feeds alongside elegantly designed tickers, and overlay animations to capture the viewer’s attention in a loop.

In addition to participating in tradeshow activities, clients and friends of TelVue generously took the time to shoot some warm and cheeky videos expressing their TelVue pride on and off the busy exhibit floor.

Thank you, friends! TelVue looks forward to serving and supporting even more video broadcasters in the decades to come!

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Expanding Religious Audiences with TelVue GoToAir

May 6, 2016, 08:33 by Lauren Caputo
Ceremony as seen through TelVue GoToAir.

Ceremony as seen through TelVue GoToAir.

It was a full house. Every seat in the St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral in Metuchen, New Jersey was filled for bishop-elect James F. Checchio’s Evening Prayer. As cardinals from Rome, Italy joined about 900 Catholics from the Metuchen Diocese, local church-goers were able to watch the ceremony from the comfort of their living room couch. Although these local community members were not physically at the evening event, they listened to the elegantly powerful voices of the choir echoing from wall to wall, and they got front pew views of Checchio himself. That’s because this ceremony was Internet HD streamed into their living rooms through TelVue’s GoToAir live video production application.

St. Francis Cathedral, Head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen, is paving the way for other churches that desire to expand worship beyond the local community. In a space where technology is scarcely integrated, this Metuchen Cathedral was determined to transform the everyday church experience into a universally-available event – but at an affordable price.

GoToAir camera position.

GoToAir camera position.

“TelVue GoToAir is an excellent solution for House of Worship clients – we can help their visions come to life for a fraction of the professional production costs”, says TelVue’s Senior VP of Sales and Marketing, Paul Andrews.

TelVue GoToAir is a video production application that allows a single operator to act as a fully-functioning production team. The GoToAir software makes it possible to interface with up to three video cameras, or emulates multiple cameras with a single HD or 4K camera. An operator can create onscreen graphics, create picture-in-picture, upload media, incorporate narration, switch between zones within a scene through the magic of virtual PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) and stream live – all at once!

Paul Andrews operating TelVue GoToAir.

Paul Andrews operating TelVue GoToAir.

During the Evening Prayer, Andrews operated the TelVue GoToAir application from a laptop off-site. Even without watching the event in person, Andrews was able to easily control the broadcast from a remote location attached to the same network. Even before the start of the event, he was able to define regions of interest within the overall wide shots provided by the two cameras, and then switch between both camera sources in real-time with the click of a button. In addition, GoToAir displayed the Diocese crest on the screen at all times, and a lower third graphic at the beginning and end, identifying the nature of the ceremony.

St. Francis Cathedral now makes live streams of regular church services, which happen three times a day, available to the public at no charge.

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Going for Local Viewers

April 22, 2016, 18:05 by dliu
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Scott Sayger (L) and Chris Messersmith (R)

Imagine a town where the local TV channel gets more viewers than ESPN. That’s the case in the rural community of Rochester, Indiana (pop. approx. 6,100), where local sporting events, school programs, and town council meetings are the best show in town – and available only on the Rochester Telephone Company’s local origination channel, RTCtv.

“The viewership is that high because we are hyperlocal. See your grandson in a school program. Catch that city council meeting that you couldn’t make it to,” explains station Director Scott Sayger, who in a few years has transformed RTCtv from a bulletin board channel to a 24/7 slate of intensely hyperlocal programming. “We cover the school system more than anything. Sports, which everybody loves. School board meetings, choir, band concerts. And we involve students in our productions. I work with them on every aspect of video production, from script to shooting and editing.”

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RTCtv interns: Chris Messersmith, Becky Malchow, Abbie Malchow

In June two of those students will be hired on fulltime, thus tripling RTCtv’s staff – to a grand total of three. “We’re pulling 120% out of each person.” With that, Sayger is looking to expand coverage even beyond the estimated 1,000 projects he has undertaken in the past year. He was growing his production capacity so quickly that a couple of years ago he realized the operation needed to graduate beyond the jury-rigged PC they were using to play out the old channel. That’s when he called TelVue.

“TelVue’s service and knowledge base were phenomenal. They’re the experts.” Sayger adds that when shopping around for linear broadcast solutions, “TelVue scored A+ in all categories.”

RTCtv now schedules and plays everything out of a B100 HyperCaster, on both the SD and HD tiers. “Scheduling used to be so time-consuming. The HyperCaster has made it so easy to organize our content into a linear schedule.”

To anyone who wonders whether it’s worth the effort to start a local channel, Sayger’s answer would be an unqualified “Yes. Hyperlocal content has extreme value. Some of that is monetary and some is historical. Advertisers who know and watch us think it’s one of the best buys in the market. But even more importantly, hyperlocal allows you to become a more informed citizen.”

Sayger believes that by involving and interacting with the community, television has not only proven its worth, but may actually be changing the way participants behave. For example, council members tell him they address the camera because so many people come up to them with questions based on seeing them on TV. “We have really been embraced by the community.”

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TelVue Launches GoToAir™ – Laptop Video Production for Live Sports Event Broadcasting

April 15, 2016, 12:05 by dliu

Apr 15, 2016 – (Mount Laurel, NJ) TelVue® Corporation (OTC: TEVE), the innovation leader in Television and Internet Broadcasting for communities, cable operators, and media companies today launched TelVue GoToAir™, a software-based application for low-cost, fixed or portable live event video production.

“GoToAir is so easy to use, that professional-looking live broadcasts are now within reach of every high school or college athletic department, sports league, school, municipal government and local community TV operation,” said TelVue Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing, Paul Andrews. “This innovative application allows an operator with one or more HD or 4K cameras to define and switch between regions of the same wide shot, as if it were a multiple camera shoot. You can even capture video clips and still pictures on mobile devices and instantly integrate these into the live production. Your only limitation is your own creativity. GoToAir will support cameras with IP, USB and even HDMI.”

The GoToAir application includes the ability to add overlay images, motion graphics, animated transitions, picture-in-picture, sports scoring graphics and optional instant replay, giving any live production the finishing touches of a professional broadcast.  GoToAir’s most powerful feature is the ability to utilize virtual Pan, Tilt, Zoom using fixed position, fixed focus cameras that make shot selection push-button easy. No more camera operators chasing the action with less than professional results.

“GoToAir will revolutionize the way local live broadcasting is produced,” Andrews added. “Ultra HD 4K cameras now give you such detail that you can use any portion of the frame as an entire picture, and still maintain high video quality.”

The TelVue GoToAir system will be on display at the upcoming NAB Show in Las Vegas, at TelVue booth N7212.

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TelVue Launches new CloudCast™ v5.0 Adaptive Streaming & OTT Platform

April 14, 2016, 13:35 by dliu

Apr 14, 2016 – (Mount Laurel, NJ) TelVue® Corporation (OTC: TEVE), the innovation leader in Television and Internet Broadcasting for communities, cable operators, and media companies has created a feature-rich cloud platform for Live, Linear, and On-Demand video channel creation and adaptive streaming to Internet-connected devices of all sizes.  Read more …

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