DALLAS — PEG TV has an SD vs. HD issue.
PEG TV is the cable TV station that provides television services to the community of Hampton, Va., and the surrounding school district. And although the station has an operational SD production truck, it wanted to be able to provide HD transport from remote locations without needing to upgrade the entire production vehicle.
Tasked with public, educational, and government programming, PEG TV runs three television stations: one for the city, one for sports, and one as an educational channel for the school district. Until recently, PEG TV had relied exclusively on a microwave truck to handle remote productions, which meant it couldn’t transmit in HD and was at the mercy of available networks and bandwidth. The truck was cumbersome to use, and broadcasting live was too labor-intensive. As a result, PEG TV had to turn down a lot of remote-broadcasting requests.
The decision was made to instead adopt Talon G1 small form-factor H.264 encoders and decoders from Osprey Video to handle point-to-point HD transport from multiple locations.
PEG TV now uses five Talon G1 encoders and three Talon G1 decoders in multiple locations.
“The Talon G1 encoders and decoders are our microwave truck in a box. We’ve saved time and money by not having to get an expensive, over-the-air system that would involve a vehicle,” said Andrew Foley, director of PEG TV.
“Except for large productions like sporting events or graduations, the Talons have all but replaced our microwave truck. In fact, they have become a multipurpose tool we use to handle any transport scenario that might come up.”
The encoders can encode multiple streams of different types at multiple bitrates simultaneously. On the other end, the decoder only decodes the stream that’s supplying the best video compression over a given bitrate. This feature gives PEG TV the flexibility to adapt to changing network conditions in order to transport reliably from anywhere.
On location, the Talon encoders send video to the PEG TV studio and social channels from one box. At the same time, the video can go directly from the Talon system to PEG TV’s video server and play to air live from the event.
The Talon G1 system allows the station to be flexible when working with the city and school systems, Foley said.
“Instead of recording to tape or a hard drive on location, we can send video signals over IP immediately and have them encoded to the video server,” he said. “The video can play out before we even pack up and leave. And it looks fantastic.
“We just send video from one or more encoders to one of the decoders in the playout facility, and we can broadcast to YouTube, Facebook, Wowza, and our cable channels in one fell swoop,” he said.