CMAC Upgrades to HD, Boosts Streaming Capabilities With Tightrope Media Systems

Fresno, CA-based Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC) has upgraded its playout infrastructure to HD and bolstered its online streaming capabilities by deploying the latest generation of solutions from Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS), including a Cablecast Flex multi-format video server and version 6.1 of the Cablecast broadcast automation software.

tightropeA community access production facility serving Fresno and nearby Clovis, CMAC has depended on Cablecast automation, playout, and streaming solutions for over four years to bring its public, education, and government (PEG) programming to viewers on television and online. When CMAC sought to upgrade its playout capabilities from SD to HD, the flexible configurability and increased channel density of the new Cablecast Flex 4 server made it an ideal solution.

“While our channels on Comcast and AT&T can currently be distributed only in standard definition, we wanted our entire master control environment to be fully HD-ready,” explained Bryan Harley, facilities and operations manager at CMAC. “With earlier HD server models, we would have needed two separate servers to provide the total of three playout channels that we need. The Cablecast Flex 4 gives us the input and outputs we need in a single server, avoiding complexity and saving us money, space and ongoing maintenance effort.”

CMAC also took immediate advantage of the new HD capabilities to enhance the live and on-demand streams it offers for Internet and mobile viewers. High-quality H.264 streams are created automatically through Cablecast Live and Cablecast VOD in 720p HD, while the Cablecast Reflect cloud-based service enables delivery of the HD streams to a virtually unlimited number of viewers while minimizing bandwidth impact on the station’s local network.

“Having the flexibility to deliver HD online and SD for television is really great,” continued Harley. “We now stream all three of our channels on the web in HD, and we’re ready to deliver HD on television as soon as the cable and telecom operators will distribute it.”

CMAC also upgraded to Cablecast 6.1, the newest update of the comprehensive automation software. “The new VOD chaptering feature in version 6.1 is particularly appealing,” Harley noted. “We can create chapter marks to help our viewers jump quickly to exactly the section they want to see within a VOD clip. This can improve their online experience for a variety of types of on-demand content, from government meetings and educational sessions to sports.”

Version 6.1 is the second powerful Cablecast software upgrade that CMAC has enjoyed in the past year, having also benefited significantly from the 6.0 release. “The new user interface that came with version 6.0 is really great. It’s very modern, sleek and easy to use, while the new advanced scheduling features improved our efficiency,” said Harley. “The ‘mobile-friendliness’ of the new user interface has also been a big benefit for us. There have been a number of situations where we needed to make a quick change to the schedule while we were in away from the station, and being able to do that seamlessly from our phones has been incredibly useful.”

Together, all of these new Cablecast products and releases have enabled CMAC to affordably keep pace with the evolving viewing preferences of their audience, and have further reinforced the reasons that led Harley to choose Cablecast in the first place. “Like always with Cablecast, the new Cablecast Flex server and the 6.1 software have added value and have been working very well, and I can’t wait to see what the folks at Tightrope will cook up next!”

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