Calhoun Community College (CETV)

"I think the company brings together price, reliability in its products, and great customer service, and those are the things that keep bringing us back to purchase new products as they become available."

–Wes Torain (CETV Station Manager)

Decatur, AL—As far as channel location goes, Calhoun Educational TV (CETV) couldn't have asked for a better spot. CETV, Calhoun Community College's educational channel, is sandwiched between NBC and FOX, virtually guaranteeing high traffic volumes. However, as CETV station manager Wes Torain found out, being located next to two network stations put the quality of his station in direct juxtaposition with the quality of those much larger cable companies.

CETV logo"We're in between NBC and FOX so it's a good location, but as those stations upgraded to HD our station started to look not so good, so we wanted to make it look slick and as professional as the others," Torain said.

Transition to HD

To generate the high quality and professional appearance CETV desired, they turned to the E-HD2™ high-definition video server. As the station is in the process of transitioning over completely to the E-HD2, it currently switches between the E-HD2 and their previous video server, the NEXUS®.

"We wanted to upgrade from standard-definition distribution to high-definition distribution and we were using the NEXUS which gave us excellent service for many years without a glitch," Torain said. "So quite naturally we went back to LEIGHTRONIX to approach the upgrade to HD and chose the E-HD2."

Torain felt it necessary to bring an HD video server to his station, not only to compete with the quality of the network stations, but also because the educational value of CETV was twofold. The college uses the station to provide educational programming for its courses, and the actual studio is a learning lab for students to learn how to run a television station.

Wes Torain

"I think (LEIGHTRONIX) brings together price, reliability in its products, and great customer service, and those are the things that keep bringing us back to purchase new products as they become available." –Wes Torain

Video as an Educational Tool

As it becomes increasingly common for students to take online or hybrid classes (classes which take place predominantly online, but require a few traditional classroom sessions throughout the semester), the need for multimedia learning tools is on the rise.

Torain said the educators in the non-traditional courses still have to find ways to engage the students and provide them with content and learning materials in order for them to succeed in the class. With the E-HD2, CETV allows the educators to do just that.

"An instructor may have a student watch a video on the Internet or the student may be required to tune into the cable TV channel to watch a certain program that relates to the subject matter they are studying," Torain said.

CETV runs solely educational programming and airs content numerous times throughout the day to make it more available to students with erratic schedules. To make it easier for students to keep track of when programming will air and to maintain the professional standard of the station, Torain starts programs at the top or the bottom of the hour.

TOTAL INFO

However, much of their content was not designed to fit a 30 minute or 60 minute window perfectly, so CETV is often left with five to ten minute gaps in their scheduling. To fill those gaps Torain utilizes the TOTAL INFO® service to provide up-to-date live dynamic video content on the NEXUS.

"TOTAL INFO is very important. We use TOTAL INFO because often times the programs we put on the air may not always end at the bottom of the hour or top of the hour. Of course you like to start new programming at the top or the bottom so we needed a resource to get us to that point," Torain said. "If you need something to fill the 5 or 10 minute space so you can get to the top or bottom of the hour so you can start your next program, TOTAL INFO is ideal for that."

Studio Experience

In addition to providing content for the students of Calhoun Community College, the E-HD2 acts as a learning tool in the CETV studio. Acting as a learning lab, the studio is a classroom in which students come in and help operate CETV. Giving his students an opportunity to work with a professional HD video server was another reason Torain decided to upgrade to the E-HD2.

"We want to stay on the cutting edge of new technology," Torain said. "We want to give students a real life experience of dealing in an HD world so they can have that experience before they get out in the workforce."

While the station is staffed by both faculty and students, it is still a smaller station that isn't able to have someone in the studio at all hours. CETV does air programming 24/7 though, because of the easy automation of both the NEXUS and the E-HD2.

"We're a small staff so we can't have someone here around the clock. We can upload the programming and basically tell that programming when to run and where to run so we're on the air 24/7, but we're not here that long," Torain said. "We load the content onto the E-HD2 and basically with the click of a mouse it's set to run, even when we're not here. So that's tremendous for us and we've learned to rely on that."

Quality Support

Torain also added that in addition to being satisfied with the products he has used from LEIGHTRONIX, he has been extremely happy with the support LEIGHTRONIX has provided to him and his staff.

"That's the other good thing about LEIGHTRONIX, it's not just the products that we've learned to rely on but the customer service in addition to that. It's easy to access the company if you have a question about something, or if you run in to a problem, you're able to get through by phone or by email fairly quickly and that's huge," Torain said. "That's important because, again, we don't have a big staff and we have to be able to get support when we need it."

Already using his second generation of LEIGHTRONIX products, Torain said it's obvious to him why he and CETV keep going back to LEIGHTRONIX for their video needs.

"I think the company brings together price, reliability in its products, and great customer service, and those are the things that keep bringing us back to purchase new products as they become available."

The Problem

Calhoun Community College needed a high definition solution for their educational channel, CETV. With students increasingly taking online classes through the distance learning program, Calhoun Community College wanted to provide them with HD content.

The Solution

How It Works

With the E-HD2, CETV produces HD content that is used to supplement the college's courses. The programming is automated and broadcast out on the college's television channel and website for students to view from home.

In Their Words

"We were using the NEXUS which gave us excellent service for many years without a glitch. So quite naturally we went back to LEIGHTRONIX to approach the upgrade to HD and chose the
E-HD2."

–Wes Torain
CETV Station Manager

End Result

"We load the content onto the E-HD2 and basically with the click of a mouse it's set to run, even when we're not here. So that's tremendous for us and we've learned to rely on that."

–Wes Torain
CETV Station Manager

At a Glance

  • Name: Calhoun Community College
  • Location: Decatur, Alabama
  • Size: almost 12,000 students attend Calhoun Community College
  • Founded: the school was founded in 1949
  • Namesake: named after John C. Calhoun, the 7th Vice President of the United States
  • Warhawks: the school's mascot is the Warhawks because Calhoun was a War Hawk in the War of 1812
  • Headquarters: serves at the headquarters of Sigma Kappa Delta National English Honor Society
  • Biotechnology: home of Alabama's first and only associate degree program in Biotechnology
  • Famous Residents:
    • Bo Bice–American Idol runner-up
    • John David Douglas–former point guard for the San Diego Clippers
    • Jorge Pasada–former catcher for the New York Yankees

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