Membership shall be open to any community access station operated by local governments, non-profit schools, colleges, universities, and teaching hospitals associated with an institution of higher learning with internal network, and individuals producing video content, any manufacturers, integrators, vendors or private for profit organizations, and any non-profit organizations, supporting the goals and objectives of JAG. …
Local municipal television channels have come a long way since their portrayal in Wayne’s World. Plastic potted plants and silly content have given way to serious programs that inform, educate, and entertain the citizens they serve. In addition to the importance of open government through meeting coverage, Public, Educational and Government (PEG) channels carry various general interest programing for everyone from kids to seniors, with subjects that range from high school sports to cooking shows.
There aren’t any ‘terrible’ video cameras these days. In fact, there are a myriad of tiny cameras with pinhole-sized lenses – often referred to as “cell phones” – that incorporate the latest technology and are available from many manufacturers.
With any current generation camera you can record (and stream) excellent HD video with minimal lighting. Overhead fluorescents provide adequate ‘soft light’ for any meeting venue. So just turn on the camera, frame your shot, and press Record.
These days, more and more people are buying HD televisions, so naturally access channels want to switch to HD to accommodate it. Therefore, if you run a local access channel, where do you start? What exactly do you need to accomplish the switch to HD? What should you buy first?
If your municipality uses a statewide franchise agreement, you should be able to have them provide an HD channel.
My local access channel, OPTV, bought HD cameras first. This was a major decision to make, and a moderately expensive one – with inherent budget considerations and cases to be made for it.
Currently, many cameras have dual outputs – both HD and analog – so they can easily make the switchover without too much additional cost. If that isn’t possible, as is the case with some PTZ cameras that only have a digital output, most likely you will need to buy converters to accommodate digital-to-analog temporarily, so that your channel is able to stay on the air in the meantime.
The next item would be the switcher. There are many switchers out there, ranging in cost from a couple of thousand dollars to many thousands of dollars. The size and scope of local access facilities vary, so you will need to do your homework as to what you will need, both now and in the future. Some switchers can handle analog, SD digital, and HD digital. Of course, these will have a bigger price tag.
Another way to go is to buy a switcher that is solely digital, with the use of converters. If you have analog equipment that you want to use, but also want a new switcher, you can still buy converters that will take an analog source and output as serial digital.
Additionally, another consideration to make is that for HD broadcasting you will need to change cabling. Your choice will be either to make the cables you need, or you can buy them separately.
After the switcher, the next item to consider is the video server that feeds the cable station and OTT streaming service (if you have one). Again, all the new servers handle digital signals, both SD and HD. In the case of my station, we have Altice which requires an analog signal, so we need to use a digital-to-analog converter for broadcast to Altice customers. Verizon, however, allows for an HD signal; in our case, we also have an HD channel, which is no problem for us.
After making these decisions, over time you can consider various upgrades as needed. Most don’t require very much cost, but they all do involve time and effort to install.
Finally, as a member of JAG, you have the ability to connect with other local access facilities as to what they have done in their switchover to HD and what they plan to do. “Picking the brains” of other members is an invaluable benefit of membership.
In the end, you will be very happy with the difference in picture quality with HD!
To continue our discussion into the possibility of having OTT providers such as Hulu and Netflix pay franchise fees in exchange for their use of the public rights-of-way, along comes a couple of stories from Reuters news about this very issue.
When one thinks of the Membership Committee, it may be as the group that takes in information about a new member, welcomes them and helps them get acquainted with JAG as an organization. Or you may think of us as that irritating committee that pesters you to fill out a membership survey. But the Membership Committee is much more than that. This committee is continually looking at JAG from the member’s point of view… why did you join JAG? Are you getting the most out of your membership? Are there other benefits you need or want? So the committee recently when back to the drawing board as to the membership categories we offer and what is most valuable to each of the types of membership.
by Paul Distefano, Eastern Regional Sales Manager, DeSisti
After the two-year hiatus as a result of the apocalypse, as I like to refer to it, what a pleasure it was to participate in this year’s Eastern Video Expo, IN PERSON, again! Since I was privileged to have been a part of the expo, in all its forms and names, since its start in 2003, I was asked to comment on this year’s conference. When I was asked, the first thing that came to mind was the term “full circle”.