Souderton Area TeleVision

SATV Station
Souderton Area School District finds an integrated broadcast and streaming solution that's both affordable and feature-rich
UltraNEXUS and PEG Central combination allows district cable station to affordably expand viewership online
Henry Franz, Video Production Specialist
Video Production Specialist Henry Franz chose the UltraNEXUS for its ability to easily integrate video-on-demand with the station’s broadcast workflow.

Wanting to expand their cable audience and reach those who may live outside of the district’s parameters, the Souderton Area School District located in Upper Montgomery County, PA began looking for a streaming video-on-demand solution. For the district’s video production specialist, Henry Franz, it was important that the school’s new online presence easily integrated with the district's broadcast workflow.

“At the time we were only on one cable channel, which prevented a lot of residents in the community from seeing our programming,” Franz said. “The district was interested in reaching out and communicating online as a means to better inform the community.”

Wanting an integrated solution, Franz prompted the district to look into the UltraNEXUS™ digital broadcast server. The decision to purchase the UltraNEXUS allowed the district’s cable station to expand their presence online and through multiple cable channels.

“We gained access to so many improvements in our broadcast workflow when we upgraded to the UltraNEXUS, but the main one of course was the ability to offer online programming through the server’s integration with PEG Central,” Franz said.

The school district’s PEG Central streaming video-on-demand site, hosted by LEIGHTRONIX, was just one way programming was able to be distributed to more viewers.

“On top of offering online programming, we now technically broadcast three ways, even though there are only two outputs on the UltraNEXUS,” Franz said. “We are able to take one output and split it so we run simultaneous programming on Verizon and Comcast.”

Utilizing the other output, the station broadcasts unique messaging and programming on a closed circuit internal high school television channel.

The Souderton Area TeleVision Production Equipment
The UltraNEXUS allows Souderton Area TeleVision to have an all-digital workflow from start to finish.

“We are able to instantly put up messages internally to keep our students informed,” Franz said. “The UltraNEXUS allows for a lot of flexibility in these messages, giving us the option to show full programming, short video commercials, and informational slide shows.”

The UltraNEXUS also allows for dynamic user input from administrators and club advisors through its collaborative, online user interface, WebNEXUS™.

“I’ve learned that you can have multiple users and manage them with limited rights,” Franz said. “So I’ve created groups so that teachers can log on and create slides that will be distributed to the students.”

The station’s new broadcast server also makes content contribution easy for students.

“Everything we do now is all digital,” Franz said. “So students can import the video in either our editing class or TV production class, edit it digitally on the computers, send it to our control room, and then I can send it right away to the UltraNEXUS and put it on the air.”

Digital video that is uploaded to the UltraNEXUS is also automatically sent to the district’s customized PEG Central streaming video-on-demand site, making it easy for Franz to keep that site’s content up-to-date with all of the district’s latest programming. The site’s large storage capacity easily handles all of the district’s original programming within a given year, often surpassing 100 unique programs.

“PEG Central allows us to continue to grow without hampering our district’s bandwidth,” Franz said. “It transfers the bandwidth off of our resources onto PEG Central’s servers.”

When choosing a district specific video-on-demand site, part of the station’s decision was based on PEG Central’s value.

“Other sites are easily ten times more expensive and this site provides us with a long feature list,” Franz said. “It’s a challenging time for a lot of districts and their budgets, and this is a very affordable system. It’s also flexible enough to allow users to give the community so much information, plus it’s user friendly on top of that.”

Franz also appreciates the ability to track each video’s popularity on the district’s streaming site by utilizing PEG Central’s comprehensive viewer statistics. Even when videos from the site are embedded in the district’s official Web site, Franz is able to gather specific information on how many people watched each video and how long each viewer watched.

“It has been great to track hits,” Franz said. “One video that we put on our site was an inside tour of our new high school. In just a year and a half, that video has received over 10,000 hits. PEG Central is a great resource, especially when we need to be able to handle that kind of traffic.”

Another feature of the integrated broadcast and streaming solution is the school’s TOTAL INFO® subscription from LEIGHTRONIX.

The TOTAL INFO subscription allows the cable station to provide viewers with up-to-date localized weather and metro-traffic feeds, along with national news, sports, and financial information.

“Before we had the UltraNEXUS I was actually looking around for programs that would just allow us to do weather forecasts,” Franz said. “The only ones out there were very expensive and required a lot of equipment. So TOTAL INFO is nice because I get weather along with several other timely information and it’s extremely affordable.”

On top of the company’s ability to provide customers with products that are feature rich at an affordable price, Franz appreciates the LEIGHTRONIX technical support team when it comes to the district’s broadcast and streaming solution.

“The LEIGHTRONIX technical support team is amazing,” he said. “They truly have a passion for figuring out any and every problem. I mean don’t get me wrong, the equipment is amazing, but I just can’t say enough about the technical support that is available through LEIGHTRONIX.”

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Souderton Area School

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