Cox Communications expanding public access offerings with Cablecast media platform | Cable | News | Rapid TV News
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To support its public access channels in Connecticut, Cox Communications has upgraded and expanded its multi-site deployment of the Cablecast community media platform and Carousel digital signage software from Tightrope Media Systems.

Cox 11June2018After upgrading the playout capabilities at two of its facilities to HD with Cablecast Flex servers in 2017, Cox’s PATV 15 channel added three more Carousel bulletin board systems at its Manchester location in May 2018 month to deliver town-specific programming on a trio of new hyper-local access channels.

PATV 15 provides production studios, playback facilities and training designed to empower community TV producers to create their own shows. It also operates separate public access channels in its designated franchise areas of Manchester, Cheshire and Enfield, with the latter franchise also providing a government access channel for several of the region’s towns. With its most recent expansion, the Manchester facility now offers three local access channels for individual towns alongside its main public access channel, which serves six municipalities in the area.

The channel first started using Cablecast nearly a decade ago when starting the transition from tape- and DVD-based operations to server-based playout. Its then long-standing incumbent playback vendor seemed to be abandoning support for legacy devices that PATV 15 still needed. As a result, the company looked for a replacement platform that could bridge older sources with its file-based future.

“Tightrope’s willingness to embrace legacy sources in the Cablecast workflow was a key factor in our decision, and I really liked Cablecast’s background architecture for processing and encoding files,” revealed said Chris Giard, video engineer at Connecticut public affairs, Cox Northeast Region. “Cablecast does all the work behind the scenes, transforming files as necessary not only for cable playback but also VOD. Other systems we looked at required manual conversions or were limited in format support. Similarly, as we moved into the HD realm, Cablecast also automatically up-converts or down-converts between HD and SD as needed, giving us exceptional flexibility without us having to worry about all of the technical details.”

All three PATV 15 facilities are now fully HD-capable. While its cable broadcasts are currently limited to SD, PATV 15 uses Cablecast Live and Cablecast Pro VOD systems to power live and on-demand video streaming in HD, and again found Cablecast’s flexibility ideal for their needs. “Tightrope offers server-based streaming solutions as well as a subscription-based service option, while other vendors were moving exclusively to an annual-fee service model for streaming,” Giard added.

“As Cox is a communications company, we have very high-capacity data connectivity and the ability to host and serve the streams ourselves. We wanted a CAPEX equipment purchase, not an annual-fee business model, and we could do that with Cablecast.”