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Archive by Brian Galante

Tightrope Media Systems Drives Interactive Digital Signage at Choice Hotels Headquarters

Systems integration specialist Human Circuit, Inc. networks Tightrope Carousel system across two locations, and multiple conference rooms and common areas

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, September 22, 2014
Choice Hotels, the corporate parent of several well-known hotel chains in the United States, recently relocated its Maryland headquarters to the northern Washington, DC suburb of Rockville. The company occupies six floors of a newly built 10-story building, with a second corporate location in Phoenix, Arizona. With various conference spaces and thoroughfares to communicate across, Choice Hotels turned to systems integrator Human Circuit, Inc. to design a complete professional AV system with a dynamic and interactive digital signage network from Tightrope Media Systems.

Tightrope’s Carousel solution was selected for its interactive capabilities and ease of use, allowing Choice Hotels to customize outputs depending on the nature of the message for each location. The network serves three main corporate communication purposes: interactive wayfinding, historical education, and general information for visitors and personnel. The open nature of Carousel has also made it easy to incorporate business operations, such as Outlook integration for real-time schedule of meetings and events.

“We work with a number of signage companies and representatives for many different manufacturers,” said Kevin Filano, systems design engineer, Human Circuit, Inc. “Tightrope was an ideal choice for this project because Carousel is highly customizable, which was important given the targeted content across different locations. Their layouts are non-cluttered and elegantly designed, which works great for a corporate environment. Tightrope makes sure the end user can display the right amount of information without making it look too busy, while retaining a smooth and professional look.”

The main business operation is centered on the fourth floor, and is naturally the most visible part of the network. The main conference center and several reconfigurable meeting rooms rotate a variety of engaging content, but the interactive elements of the network are spread throughout the building. The wayfinding displays are found at elevator lobbies and stairwells along a staircase spanning all six floors. Visitors can view a floor map, daily schedule and page through an alphabetical staff directory to pinpoint floor, room and other pertinent information. The historical education displays also incorporate interactive elements, engaging both visitors and staff.

“Choice Hotels added an interactive museum area to play out video clips that educate on the history of the company,” said Filano. “A lot of thought went into the layout, color scheme and playout of these interactive elements for both the historical and wayfinding displays. We worked very closely with Tightrope to achieve that. Their programming services were instrumental in bringing everything together on time.”

According to Filano, the installation process was unusual as his team was working in tandem with general contractors and architects as the building was raised. This had the benefit of cleanly integrating the entire technology infrastructure, including the digital signage, into the overall architecture. However, there was no downtime to create punch lists and program systems, which made Tightrope’s professional services that much more critical to the signage network’s success.

“Normally, the contractor completes 90 percent of the job before we even come on site, but we were pulling cables and hanging displays while they were raising walls,” said Filano. “We had enough to manage on the AV installation side, so we took advantage of their services to enable the custom functionality of the various outputs, and assist with signage network configuration.”

The overall Carousel architecture for Choice Hotels is clean and network-friendly, using a virtual server cluster with intelligent software to drive content instead of a central computer. The robust network now extends to the Phoenix corporate location, with similar content created, managed and driven from the Rockville headquarters, where Carousel’s remote capabilities also enable network-wide troubleshooting from a central location. The scalable Carousel backbone ensures that Choice Hotels can expand to additional displays at the Phoenix location without significantly driving up costs, labor or operational complexity.

“One of the biggest benefits of Carousel is ease of use and learning curve, which is important as the network scales,” said Filano. “Choice Hotels has already had a handful of people move around in the company that were previously operating Carousel. With a number of different operators taking over the system, they have had no issues with those transitions.”

About Tightrope Media Systems
Founded in 1997, Tightrope Media Systems is the pioneer of web-centric digital signage and broadcast automation systems. It provides station automation, video servers, internet video on demand, live streaming, the Carousel Digital Signage system, and ZEPLAY, a multi-channel instant replay machine for stadiums, arenas and Outside Broadcast vehicles. Tightrope’s award winning systems are used throughout the world. You can reach Tightrope Media Systems at (866) 866-4118 or visit them on the web at http://www.trms.com.

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Renewed Vision ProVideoPlayer 2 Delivers High-Impact Multiscreen Presentations for Watermark Church

Dallas-based worship organization enhances services, reduces costs with Renewed Vision software

DALLAS, September 10, 2014
Watermark Community Church, a prominent biblical community with a worship presence in three Texas cities, has chosen Renewed Vision’s ProVideoPlayer 2 (PVP2) to create dynamic, high-impact multiscreen video presentations at its 3,500-seat Dallas worship center. The PVP2 installation is a significant element of a larger technology upgrade, which includes a dedicated fiber network to connect its Dallas location with a 500-seat worship center in Fort Worth; and a third worship center opening in Plano in early 2015.

Les Brown, technical director for Watermark Community Church in Dallas, was seeking a reliable and affordable solution to replace a six-year-old Green Hippo media playback server, which reached end of life and could no longer be upgraded. He researched PVP2 following recommendations from media technicians at other houses of worship and drew on his experience using another Renewed Vision product, ProPresenter 5 softwareimage. Brown notes that ProPresenter has performed flawlessly for years, displaying biblical passages, song lyrics and other media content during services.

“We were confident that PVP2 would perform reliably to foster an inspirational worship experience for everyone,” Brown said. ”PVP2 has played a significant role in our overall upgrade plan, and offers us tremendous cost-savings. It is a fraction of the cost of competing solutions.”

Beyond its reasonable price point, Watermark Church benefits from long-term cost-savings based on its simple configuration and interoperability. Watermark Church has configured PVP2 to run on a Mac Pro, which outputs five video signals to a bank of digital video projectors, including two Christie and three Barco units. PVP2 can be programmed to deliver a different display to each of the five screens or a single display that spans all five screens, as well as a combination of displays in a single presentation.

The decision to buy PVP2 followed a successful software trial that Watermark conducted on Easter 2014. The special musical performance, which featured the house band, soloists, and back-up singers, leveraged PVP2 to project a single video across five separate large displays above the stage. The video, which featured song lyrics, graphics and particle smoke, was created in After Effects to allow the visual elements to use all five screens as if they were one display. Since the band was performing to a click-track, the lyrics would appear on the video in perfect synchronization with the vocalists.

Brown currently controls PVP2 using a Barco FSN router during services, but plans to integrate PVP2 with the church’s DMX lighting control system. This will enable the lighting director to control and synchronize the PVP2 video displays with other staging elements, like theatrical lighting and music, according to pre-programmed cues.

“The Mac Pro’s ability to output five streams at once saves us considerably on additional computer hardware, and we can make the most of our PVP2 investment since the system is easy to maintain and upgrade,” Brown said. “Reliability was a chief concern as we’ll use a DMX lighting board will control the PVP2, and won’t have a second system to cut to in the event of a technical problem. It’s been running reliably since deployment, and we’re confident we can transition to DMX integration.”

PVP2 now sits alongside a professional array of gear across Watermark Church’s infrastructure, including a professional production switcher and multi-resolution broadcast cameras. Viewers can access streaming media of the Dallas worship services at www.live.watermark.org from anywhere using their connected devices.

About Renewed Vision
Founded in 2000, Renewed Vision’s mission is to offer reliable, purpose-built production software that enables organizations—spanning from churches to corporations—to create dynamic media experiences that enhance worship services, meetings and other special events. For more information on our product lines, including ProPresenter, ProVideoPlayer and ProVideoServer, please visit our website at www.renewedvision.com.

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Stewart Audio Launches Low-Power Networked Amplifier Series

Compact, affordable Dante™-enabled amplifiers bring audio networking benefits to installations requiring lower channel counts for local amplification

SONORA, California, September 4, 2014 — The benefits of digital audio networking continue to extend past the mixing board and signal processing racks, bringing simpler connectivity, lighter infrastructure and improved flexibility and control to the amplification stage and beyond. However, most networked amplifiers today specialize in high channel counts for large installations, with amplifiers centralized in densely populated racks to serve global PA systems.

Stewart Audio today introduces a family of four low-wattage, networked amplifiers that address the need for lower channel count support at the local amplification stage. The new series brings the benefits of power-efficient digital audio networking to an underserved customer base, where consultants, systems integrators, dealers and end users require simple, affordable networked amplifier solutions scaled for smaller zones. This provides an affordable and reliable option to the larger, high-wattage amplifiers for high channel counts that permeate the market.

Importantly, the compact footprint of all four products enables simple installation at endpoints, providing networked amplification to smaller zones – whether for standalone needs in small-to-mid-sized installations; or to provide low-power amplification to smaller, distant zones in larger scale projects. Dual inputs in two models (AV25-2 NET+, CVA50-1 NET+) allow customers to serve both local and global PA systems if desired, with the option to target and prioritize pages and other audio events across many zones. This flexibility ensures that Stewart Audio customers can address larger facility needs while filling the void of local amplification requirements.

“To date, the market has lacked an affordable way to position networked amplifiers at endpoints,” said Brian McCormick, chief marketing officer, Stewart Audio. “Our new family of compact amplifiers create a cost-efficient way to run CAT5 or CAT6 cable to local zones, allowing our customers to enjoy the benefits of digital audio networking beyond the central infrastructure. These products give our customers a simple and affordable way to address a broad range of low power, low channel count applications without the expense of larger networked amplifiers, or the complexity of architecting custom solutions with bridge devices and analog amplifiers.”

Stewart Audio incorporates the market-leading Dante™ media networking solution from Audinate into its product architecture to enable many operational benefits. The incorporation of Dante Ultimo technology in all four products specifically addresses the requirement of affordable networking solutions for lower channel counts and lower power consumption. Compatibility with other Dante-enabled products is also ensured for a seamless, high-performance networking architecture across installations of any size.

Installations are further simplified with the presence of Symetrix Composer 2.0 software. Composer 2.0 software natively integrates device discovery and signal routing all four new products through its unique Dante third-party programming environment. This further reduces complexity for the installer, accelerating deployment times and creating a cohesive end-to-end Dante networking solution with local amplification.

The complete range of new Stewart Audio networked amplification solutions include:
• AV25-2 NET+: A 2x25W, 4 or 8 ohm low impedance amplifier with two analog and two Dante inputs, and remote and local volume control. Automated port switching can override audio feeds depending on which Dante or analog feed is set to priority.
AV25-2 NET: A digital-only version of the AV25-2 NET+ with two Dante inputs.
• CVA50-1 NET+: A 50W, 70/100V mono amplifier with one analog and one Dante input, remote and local volume control, and automated priority port switching to insert local audio feeds over main programs.
CVA50-1 NET: A digital-only version of the CVA50-1 NET+ with a single Dante input.

All four compact solutions can be pole mounted or attached to a flat surface near loudspeakers, and are plenum-rated to reduce the installation costs associated with rack-mounted systems. However, the 1/3RU design enables simple integration into central equipment racks if desired.

ABOUT Stewart Audio
Since 1982, Stewart Audio’s singular focus has been making a difference in sound reinforcement. Our broad array of compact standard and network amplifiers span both analog and digital worlds. With a commitment to innovation and quality, we provide our customers with a unique combination of features from RS232 control to DSP in a compact package. Visit the company’s website at www.stewartaudio.com.
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Barix In-Store Audio Solutions Come to InfoComm India

New in-store solutions cover the spectrum for live and scheduled playback of audio content, including dynamic ad insertions

ZURICH/ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, September 3, 2014
— The upcoming InfoComm India show in Mumbai marks the official launch of Barix’s next-generation of in-store radio solutions in the Asia-Pacific region. Highlighting solutions that generate revenue for end users and reduce costs for systems integrators, Barix will demonstrate IP audio strategies for consumer engagement that meet a vast array of business requirements.

Barix’s next-generation IP audio “products” comprise wholesale applications that bring multiple software and hardware components together into complete solutions, driving both new operational efficiencies and revenue-generating opportunities. Visitors to the Barix stand at InfoComm India (Hall 1, B17 at the Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre, September 17-19) can see how the company’s latest in-store radio solutions align with this solutions-oriented strategy.

“Barix’s years of experience developing IP audio and control solutions for in-store radio has advanced to a point where we offer two very distinct networked solutions, each offering benefits based on system scale, network resources and even general customer preference,” said Domenico Gambino, VP Sales, Barix. “We are providing end users and integrators with an affordable, high-quality foundation to incorporate single or multichannel audio streams—along with revenue-generating advertising opportunities—into any organization’s promotional and entertainment strategies. Barix’s knowledge and expertise in moving audio over networks ensures that our customers experience simple deployments, reliable operation and infinite scalability.”

Store & Play
Store & Play specifically offers a solution to retailers and businesses that want dynamic in-store radio programming without using too many network resources, and/or want more control locally over their playout schedules. Store & Play allows customers to download music and advertising content off the network, and reliably play out that programming on schedule with excellent audio quality. Exceptional download speeds and system memory preserve playback quality through demanding processing actions, while a built-in precision clock ensures that schedules remain intact in the event of network outages.

SoundScape
SoundScape allows comprehensive management of audio distribution over IP networks, offering a centralized management portal and audio players at multiple locations. Users can manage, configure and group SoundScape audio players, schedule content and monitor device status network-wide. The network-wide management capabilities of SoundScape further reduces costs and complexity by enabling remote firmware updates, log creation and more. SoundScape delivers broadcast-quality programming with targeted, location-based advertising insertions that seamlessly fade in and out of music programs, as well as the ability to seamlessly switch between live and scheduled streams.

Barix: We Move Audio (www.barix.com)
Barix supplies simple and reliable solutions and components to systems integrators and end users worldwide. We move high-quality audio across IP networks, adding value to customer solutions for more than a decade with hundreds of thousands of devices installed worldwide. Background music distribution with dynamic advertising insertion for retail shops, bars and hotels; public address solutions for schools and public spaces; and intercom and entry systems for facility surveillance, protection and security are among the many applications of Barix solutions. Barix also supports OEM projects for a number of Global 500 listed companies serving many industries worldwide.

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Barix AG, Seefeldstrasse 303, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 43 43322 11, Fax: +41 44 2742849
Barix Technology Inc, St. Paul, MN – (866) 815-0866

http://www.barix.com

http://www.ip-audio.info

Sliq Media Technologies Wins Caribbean Legislature Contract

Automated recording and transcription workflows, cross-platform streaming help Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago accelerate public record creations, expand audience reach

MONTREAL, August 19, 2014Sliq Media Technologies announces that the Parliament of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has selected its Harmony Suite to automatically record, transcribe and stream parliamentary proceedings, minimizing labor costs and workflow errors associated with legacy transcription processes.

The Sliq solution transitions the Parliament to an automated workflow that reduces the time required to create official public records. The automated workflow will streamline their existing process, reducing the Legislature’s reliance on traditional stenography for transcriptions. The upgrade will also add cross-platform streaming capabilities for the first time, broadening the delivery of legislative content across multiple consumer devices, including web and mobile targets. Collectively, the marriage of Hansard workflow and cross-platform webcasting delivers a unified service to the public that to date has not existed for the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago.

“The use of stenography technology in government meetings continues to diminish as more efficient tools become available to create public records,” said Sanjiv Menezes, president, Sliq Media Technologies. “Sliq provides an all-in-one, easy-to-use solution that combines transcription tools and cross-platform streaming to establish a far more efficient workflow with reliable results.”

The Sliq Harmony Suite enhances the user experience with cross-workflow indexing tools that deliver all relevant information from parliamentary proceedings alongside video and audio streams. While Sliq’s Razorback multi-channel encoders capture HD-quality (H.264) video and pristine audio streams, Harmony’s time stamped indexing tools ensure that content associated with parliamentary proceedings is uniformly presented alongside webcasts. This guarantees that all relevant legislative content, including speakers and orders of the day, is made available to constituents in one place, with simple access to specific points of interest.

The agreement includes video support at two venues and single-track audio support at three venues. Sliq Hawkeye tools will provide monitoring of all video and audio levels across the workflow, helping staff centrally monitor performance parameters for quality assurance—and quickly react to rare troubleshooting issues via diagnostics and alerting tools.

“This project advances our Caribbean presence to three countries, and we are in active discussions with several nearby countries that have recognized the efficiency and quality gains of neighboring nations that have transitioned to the Sliq platform,” said Nic Côté, VP, Business Development for Sliq. “The launch of the Harmony Suite for the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago also gives us an opportunity to go back this winter and enjoy a warm meal with our customers at Husseins Restaurant!”

ABOUT Sliq Media Technologies

Sliq Media Technologies sells a simple yet scalable solution for high-quality media recording, streaming, annotation, indexing, transcription and closed-captioning, tailored to legislative environments. Its turnkey webcasting solution for government agencies is available in cloud-based, hybrid and self-hosting solutions and is easily accessible by a vast variety of mobile, desktop and consumer devices. Visit http://www.sliq.com for more information.

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TNDV Delivers Multistage Mobile Production Services for CMA Music Festival

Specialist captures live video and audio for performances and events across 11 stages and five days for live streams, broadcast TV special

NASHVILLE, August 13, 2014
— Mobile production specialist TNDV has five trucks and six fly packs crossing the country on any given week, but for one week in June most of the fleet and crew remained in Nashville for the CMA Music Festival, accommodating a live broadcast TV shoot plus video and audio production across multiple downtown stages.

TNDV’s relationship with the Country Music Association is enduring, delivering full-service mobile production for several annual events including pre-show festivities for the CMA Awards each November. The CMA Music Festival is the most immense, encompassing many outdoor stages with live performances from well-known and emerging national and local musical acts. TNDV also provided onsite shooting, graphics and editing services across most stages, producing 30 original packages used in conjunction with an ABC TV special that aired on August 5.

In addition to the musical performances, TNDV’s Aspiration truck was reserved for a 10-camera live TV shoot, capturing performers and personalities for the CMT Music Awards Red Carpet Special. The mobile production infrastructure required 96 channels of professional audio and a massive RTS intercom matrix to ensure smooth communication across the large production crew.

Collectively, the CMA Music Festival exemplified TNDV’s ability to accommodate production requirements for events of varying scales simultaneously, demonstrating the company’s diverse skillset and technical portfolio across the five-day event. In addition to general camera shoots and audio recording, the diverse needs of the CMA Music Festival required a great deal of digital content management, from on-the-fly editing to live web streaming.

“Our relationship with the CMA is based on production flexibility, requiring an innate ability to adjust on short notice while keeping pace with their year-on-year growth,” said Nic Dugger, owner and president, TNDV. “The relationship has evolved over a six-year period, when we were first approached for a simple rental that we quickly converted into a custom flypack. This year, it meant providing a diverse array of scaled mobile production solutions, including trucks and flypacks, to shoot, mix, edit and stream performances throughout the week. That made for a number of unique and interesting situations that allowed us to engineer custom workflows to accommodate production needs based on event scale and venue size.”

Some of the more unique events included the CMA Close Up stage, featuring private performances and interviews from Lady Antebellum, Leann Rimes and other well-known artists. TNDV set up a streaming server to capture the main events, engineering a live, automated switching architecture with three HD robotic cameras and integrated encoding technologies from BlackMagic Design to seamlessly hand off the live streams.

Additionally, TNDV converted a downtown honkytonk club into a performance venue that also served as a shoot for the premiere episode of Big Smo, a new A&E network reality TV show that follows the life of a Tennessee rap artist. The end-to-end solution includes several large HD display screens for live image magnification of the performances.

On a grander scale, TNDV supplied a five-camera HD flypack for the CMA Chevy Riverfront Stage, with massive LED video boards and a full online HD edit suite. Performances from this stage, which included Billy Ray Cyrus, Kellie Pickler and Colt Ford, were also played back across other venues throughout the week using Aja KiPro servers.

TNDV also provided complete support for the press room at LP Field, the Tennessee Titans NFL stadium that served as the main CMA Music Festival venue. The production infrastructure here included HD cameras for live interview feeds, along with a complete signal routing and processing infrastructure to support HD-SDI, SD-SDI and composite video outputs, along with XLR audio for mic and line level connections. Custom TNDV made press mults featuring three video options, two audio options, and integrated LCD monitors were made available to the press.

Additional mobile production solutions for other CMA Festival location shoots included:
• The company’s Inspiration mobile production truck, a large LED board and a custom PA sound system for the City of Hope celebrity softball game at Greer Stadium.
• Multiple HD cameras and live switching at the CMA Global Stage, positioned on the corner of 1st Avenue and Broadway in downtown Nashville.
• Custom HD flypacks to shoot in-house video and ISO-record Grand Ole Opry performances, to be used for a Labor Day TV special.

Custom mobile production solutions were also developed across additional venues, including the Bud Light Stage and Samsung Galaxy Stage among other locations.

ABOUT TNDV: Television
Formed in 2004, TNDV: Television represents the culmination of over 22 years of broadcast and live production for Nic Dugger, owner and president; and his staff of full time engineers. TNDV produces events from small single-camera productions all the way up to multi-million dollar international TV events, and takes pride in building custom solutions for challenging productions of any size, in any situation. Recent projects include the live concert productions at the NCAA Final Four, the 2013 Re/Max Long Drive Challenge on ESPN, and for the first time in broadcasting history TNDV produced the 2014 Hat Trick of Country Music Award show red carpet specials, including the CMA Awards, the CMT Awards, and the ACM Awards. Please call 615-585-6528 or visit www.tndv.com for more information.

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TNDV Upgrades Production Quality for University Graduation Ceremonies

Mobile production specialist captures, magnifies and streams Vanderbilt and University of Virginia commencements in HD

NASHVILLE, July 14, 2014 — Mobile production is most often associated with the world of sports and large entertainment events, but a growing contingent of non-broadcast organizations are looking to outside production teams to increase quality and expand audience reach.

TNDV recently brought its mobile production expertise to the campuses of Vanderbilt University in Nashville and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, achieving these goals and more for their spring graduation ceremonies. TNDV transitioned both commencement productions to HD for the first time, vastly improving image magnification quality for the large attending crowds. The company also streamed the live ceremonies worldwide to ensure families, friends and alumni could tune in from anywhere.

According to Nic Dugger, owner and president of TNDV, an increasing number of his clients across education, government and corporate verticals are recognizing the quick return on investment that comes with upgrading the production quality and taking the event to an external audience.

“Universities like Vanderbilt and University of Virginia realize that commencement is the most crucial day to a student’s life,” said Dugger. “Graduation day sets the mood and tone to the student’s relationship with that university forever, and potentially influences future donations and ongoing involvement. They want every student’s family to be able to experience the event with them, whether onsite or online, with the visual and audio quality required for total immersion. It takes a professional mobile production crew and technology infrastructure to make that happen, especially when you are serving two very different audiences.”

TNDV built a true mobile production facility for each event, staffed with producers, directors, and a complement of switcher, graphics and playback operators. The staff positioned multiple Hitachi HD5000 cameras around the venues, feeding back to its Inspiration truck. On board, the signals were sweetened with graphics and audio, and routed to large LED screens on either side of the stage. Throughout the productions, TNDV staff monitored multiviewer feeds both on board and outside the truck, the latter of which lent a professional production atmosphere for attendees.

The team also positioned an array of audience microphones throughout the crowd to capture the energy of the event for online audiences. This replicated the in-person experience for those who couldn’t make the ceremonies. Additionally, all camera feeds from the ceremonies, as well as special events surrounding the commencements, were recorded to Aja KiPro banks for future university use.

For Dugger, the tricky nature of producing graduation ceremonies is that unlike a live performance, the emphasis is not on a single artist or small group of performers. Everyone involved is on equal footing, from guest speakers to the entire student body.

“The challenge across both the image magnification and live stream is to make sure that every student gets the recognition they deserve,” he said. “Every student’s name needs to be seen and heard clearly. Taking the leap to HD production makes that experience far more immersive, and ultimately more memorable. And these productions were truly what you would see for a full-blown live broadcast.”

ABOUT TNDV: Television
Formed in 2004, TNDV: Television represents the culmination of many years of broadcast and live production for Nic Dugger, owner and president; and his staff of full time engineers. TNDV produces events from small single-camera productions all the way up to multi-million dollar international TV events, and takes pride in building custom solutions for challenging productions of any size, in any situation. Recent productions include the live concert productions at the NCAA Final Four, the 2013 Re/Max Long Drive Challenge on ESPN, and the inaugural season of Sing for Your Supper on PBS. Please call 615-585-6528 or visit www.tndv.com for more information.

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Suburban Community Channels Serves Local Viewers with Tightrope Media Systems

New master control center, production truck benefit from multichannel scheduling and playout, slo-mo instant sports replay

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, July 10, 2014 — Many Community TV broadcasters across the United States rely on Tightrope Media Systems to simplify multichannel scheduling and playout, but one Minneapolis-area broadcaster is leveraging the full Tightrope portfolio to establish meaningful community connections beyond master control.

Suburban Community Channels has been the Community TV and media resource connection for the northeast Minneapolis/St. Paul suburbs for more than 30 years, delivering 17 physical channels from its facility. As the local cable franchise authority for Comcast, the PEG broadcaster delivers eight channels of programming across 12 municipalities, including discrete government channels for each community. Suburban Community Channels populates its remaining channels with a variety of imported and locally produced content, the latter of which includes live broadcasts of high school sports.

Suburban Community Channels relies on solutions across Tightrope’s portfolio to manage all content. In master control, Tightrope Cablecast server and automation solutions cost-efficiently deliver high-quality programming to Comcast viewers, simultaneously serving on-demand content to online viewers. Cablecast has played a significant role for the core master control operation, cost-efficiently transitioning Suburban Community Channels from analog to SDI digital while establishing an HD-ready future. On July 16, “On Location TV19” will become the first channel in the cluster to transition to HD.

“It was clear we needed to rebuild master control from the day I was hired,” said Michael Simonds, technical lead for Suburban Community Channels. “We had a 25-year old system based on old analog composite video equipment and relay machine control, along with a massively sized router and automation system. Cablecast quickly and cleanly transitioned us to a digital environment while introducing a large number of operational efficiencies—not to mention returning real estate to our master control center. Tightrope clearly has the community media market in mind for product development, and understands the challenges we face.”

Many of the new operational efficiencies are tied to centralized workflows. Operators can connect to the central Cablecast server from any location with web access, and schedule programming weeks in advance; or make scheduling changes on the fly. Cablecast also allows Suburban Community Channels to quickly add new channels and applications, the most recent of which was a video-on-demand service that offers city council meetings on the website of its member municipalities.

Additionally, Tightrope Carousel digital signage solutions support transitional broadcast feeds, including bulletin boards between programs. The Carousel systems also deliver a bright and lively mix of rotating informational programming for visitors and employees inside its lobby areas, providing an additional public-facing benefit for establishing community connections.

On board its production truck, the broadcaster uses a Tightrope ZEPLAY solution for slo-mo instant replay of highlights from varsity football and other local high school sporting events. ZEPLAY allows production personnel to quickly trigger exciting replays and build highlight packages for viewers who follow local high school sports at home. Adding ZEPLAY to the infrastructure allows the production staff to operate across the workflow with more freedom by eliminating the more labor-intensive replay processes of the past.

“Tightrope makes their equipment very accessible, with no special software or training required to learn their products. The user experience is really much better than competitive products, and that is especially true of ZEPLAY,” said Simonds. “For live sports production, having four inputs and four outputs means that our operators don’t need to do any more intensive switching. We’re no longer doing the old school method of following the puck or the ball and switching angles in real-time. The ZEPLAY records every angle, and we can assemble what we need to enhance our sports programming. It has simplified our live productions dramatically—just as Cablecast has simplified our master control operations.”

About Tightrope Media Systems
Founded in 1997, Tightrope Media Systems is the pioneer of web-centric digital signage and broadcast automation systems. It provides station automation, video servers, internet video on demand, live streaming, the Carousel Digital Signage system, and ZEPLAY, a multi-channel instant replay machine for stadiums, arenas and Outside Broadcast vehicles. Tightrope’s award winning systems are used throughout the world. You can reach Tightrope Media Systems at (866) 866-4118 or visit them on the web at http://www.trms.com.

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Barix and DMD2 Team for In-Store Radio at Bucherer Retail Stores

Custom solution reliably streams branded content to more than 30 stores in central Europe

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, June 10, 2014 — Leading corporate music provider DMD2 of Switzerland has long trusted Barix IP audio solutions to stream branded audio content to businesses around Europe. The company has again selected Barix for multipoint in-store radio, streaming high-quality custom music programs to 33 Bucherer retail jewelry stores in four countries.

Bucherer was founded in Lucerne Switzerland in 1888, and is today the European retail leader for luxury watches and fine jewelry. The Barix installation marks the first time Bucherer has used a live in-store radio service, with DMD2 crafting a specially branded music stream from a huge music library to match specifically the vibrant and elegant atmosphere of their stores. The service gives the retail chain a high-quality audio program, producing a pleasant and consistent audio experience for customers. The service is now live in stores across Switzerland, Germany, France and Austria.

The Barix IP-based delivery architecture also keeps employees focused on customer service instead of fumbling with CDs and the FM radio dial, removing the role of “in-store DJ” from the sales team’s job description.

“Bucherer have gained exceptional control over this part of their in-store branding with the Barix and DMD2 solution,” said Alexander Dal Farra, owner and president of DMD2. “They are very happy with their choice. The Barix solution also ensures that their existing audio equipment could be used for an overall cost-effective installation. Additionally, the audio service is virtually maintenance free once it is up and running.”

The technical concept of the Barix and DMD2 solution was equally appealing to Bucherer. The solution provides a low-latency, bandwidth-efficient live stream over the retail chain’s existing network, requiring no major updates at the store level. The streams originate from the DMD2 offices in Bern, Switzerland, with direct connection to Barix Exstreamer IP audio decoders inside the stores. The Exstreamers reliably play out AAC+ streams at a bitrate ideal for background music.

The Exstreamer models selected for this installation feature a front-panel display with artist/title and stream information, as well as MicroSD slot with backup music in the event of network failure. That MicroSD slot additionally provides built-in content protection, eliminating the temptation for customers or employees to remove attached USB sticks with DMD2 in-store content. Set up is simple and efficient, and virtually no physical space is required due to the Exstreamer’s compact footprint.

Dal Farra adds that his success with Barix across similar in-store radio installations, including Victorinox retail stores in four countries, gave Bucherer the confidence they needed to modernize their in-store music approach. DMD2 handles all Barix device configuration, service monitoring and music licensing for its in-store radio customers, further simplifying matters for retail customers like Bucherer.

“DMD2 has installed well over 1000 Barix Exstreamers across many businesses, each of which have varying network conditions,” said Dal Farra. “That track record of success made it easy to convince Bucherer that it was smart to build their service on this technology.”

Barix: We Move Audio (www.barix.com)
Barix supplies simple and reliable solutions and components to systems integrators and end users worldwide. We move high-quality audio across IP networks, adding value to customer solutions for more than a decade with hundreds of thousands of devices installed worldwide. Background music distribution with dynamic advertising insertion for retail shops, bars and hotels; public address solutions for schools and public spaces; and intercom and entry systems for facility surveillance, protection and security are among the many applications of Barix solutions. Barix also supports OEM projects for a number of Global 500 listed companies serving many industries worldwide.

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Barix AG, Seefeldstrasse 303, 8008 Zurich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 43 43322 11, Fax: +41 44 2742849
Barix Technology Inc, St. Paul, MN – (866) 815-0866

http://www.barix.com

http://www.ip-audio.info

Tightrope Media Systems Helps Binghamton High School Spread the News Through Digital Signage

Using Tightrope’s Carousel solution, school district communicates news, events and more across multiple platforms to the benefit of students, faculty and parents

ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, June 9, 2014
– The Binghamton School District in the central-southern tier of New York State has discovered a way to communicate clearly with high school students, faculty and parents at once, creatively using digital signage technology from Tightrope Media Systems to deliver information inside the school and over the web.

Branded as Patriot TV, the school district rotates morning announcements with regular updated information on school events, weather and more to nearly every space in the Binghamton High School, reaching 1700 students across grades 9-12. Using Tightrope’s Carousel digital signage solution, the IT-centric architecture allows the school to broadcast feeds on classroom SMART Boards and large monitors situated inside the cafeteria and within common areas.

Additionally, Patriot TV feeds are replicated 24/7 on the school’s website, easily accessible from the front page. This has the added benefit of giving parents an easy way to keep up with district news, school closings and other important information.

“We were really looking to simplify how the greater community accessed this information,” said Roxie Oberg, Principal at Binghamton High School. “We wanted to provide a better experience than going to our website and navigating through a bunch of pages. The Tightrope system puts everything in one place, in a visually appealing and easy-to-comprehend manner. The community is learning about a lot of our activities through the Patriot TV web stream.”

This multiplatform approach was the driving influence behind adopting digital signage as opposed to more traditional methods. An initial plan of launching a basic, traditional TV broadcast for morning announcements quickly transitioned to digital signage when its benefits of reaching wider audiences became clear. And of all solutions explored, Lawrence Kassan, Coordinator of Special Events for the Binghamton City School District felt Tightrope offered the best mix for creativity, content management and price point. Though Carousel supports unlimited screen zones, The Patriot TV output consists of four discrete zones and a constant data crawl of the morning announcements.

“The whole school doesn’t go quiet the minute the morning announcements come on, and we realized we could reach students and faculty all day through a rotational digital signage program,” said Kassan. “The Carousel system gives us a very creative template to produce a dynamic output. Integration with SMART Boards means that teachers can easily show Patriot TV feeds in the classroom when they are not using them for instruction. And it has added to the overall school atmosphere as well. The students are constantly looking at the big display screens. There is a noticeable element of excitement.”

Ease of use is another major benefit, according to Kassan. Time-sensitive content is often added on the fly, though a rich scheduling function supports long-term planning. Though Kassan currently handles all Carousel operations, the quick learning curve will allow him to train students and other faculty members heading into the 2014-15 school year. Carousel’s user rights and permissions will help him facilitate the types of bulletins that can be created, screen areas that users can access, and advance content approval.

The opportunity to train other departments to use Carousel is especially pertinent given the school’s reputation as a creative force. In fact, the high school boasts a school of the arts named after Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling, who graduated from the school in 1943.

“The Rod Serling School of Fine Arts produces a tremendous amount of events covering theater, dance, concerts and more,” said Kassan. “Our visual arts department has an excellent graphics arts department. It’s a natural fit to have these faculty members and students contribute to Patriot TV. And the easy learning curve of Carousel makes that a no-brainer.”

Kassan also expects to integrate the athletics department into the Patriot TV rotation, alerting the community about game schedules, results and other interesting sports highlights.

About Tightrope Media Systems

Founded in 1997, Tightrope Media Systems is the pioneer of web-centric digital signage and broadcast automation systems. It provides station automation, video servers, internet video on demand, live streaming, the Carousel Digital Signage system, and ZEPLAY, a multi-channel instant replay machine for stadiums, arenas and Outside Broadcast vehicles. Tightrope’s award winning systems are used throughout the world. You can reach Tightrope Media Systems at (866) 866-4118 or visit them on the web at http://www.trms.com.

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