Cablecast: Getting there slowly with a few snagsPosted: August 22, 2008
Our new cablecast area is slowly coming together. Dave G. and our engineer Dennis are putting things together just as fast as they’re able.
We have run into a few snags, as the new system, a Tightrope SX4 Video server and three Tightrope CG250 bulletin board playback machines, will operate differently than what we’re used to. To explain this, I need to go back to 2003 when we first got our original Tightrope system.
Before Tightrope, we had three Amiga 1200’s to handle bulletin board and a Leightronix TCD-RT event controller which was loaded from a PC. Each of the Amigas was independent and used its computer display as the video output (in-band), so we had to put up color bars on each channel as we updated it.
We got the Tightrope system (then) and I had planned for us to update channels the same old fashioned way as before. But the new system was (and is) web-based, so there was no need to go to each channel to update it. We had to run the system from a laptop for several months before we got another PC to be our cablecast console (which also feeds TIC Network to our channel and manages our UPS.)
Yesterday, I found out our nice new video server needs a PC to import DVD’s into MPEG-2. Our console machine doesn’t have a DVD drive, nor does it have a gigabit network connection. Oops. I expect us to work around that as we have Macs and any number of DVD import utilities. It’s personally embarassing, though; no excuse for me to not do the research. Once again, new technology is changing our work habits.
Our rack chart, already out of date.
Another snag, a potentially costly one, is our deck control. One of our Tightrope machines had an 8-port RS-422 card for deck control (RS-422 is the standard serial control interface in most broadcast facilities.) Unfortunately, Tightrope has advised us that our particular card is no longer supported. Our engineer tells us of an expensive way around that. I am going to have to look at this; perhaps there’s a USB to RS-422 snake out there.