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San Jose’s CreaTV on the Cloud in HD

Cable access in the cloud

A crew at CreaTV sets up Studio A for “Latino Focus.”

CreaTV San Jose, the community access provider serving San Jose, Calif., will now be streaming its content in HD using Cablecast Reflect from Tightrope Media Systems. The Reflect solution integrates tightly with the access channel’s on-site Cablecast server to conserve bandwidth, while still allowing the community to view all the network’s programming.

Founded in 2006, CreaTV produces four non-commercial PEG channels—two for community access and two for education—that are carried locally by Comcast. Residents, businesses, schools and organizations in San Jose and parts of nearby Campbell, Calif., are invited to become CreaTV members and produce their own shows.

“While our programming is broadcast in SD, our goal is to push the content to the Web in HD,” said Justin Cowgill, chief technology officer for CreaTV. “But as a budget-challenged community access provider, content delivery networks (CDNs) and cloud storage can be expensive—especially if the services charge by the megabyte when we’re dealing in gigabytes of data. Cablecast Reflect is a game-changer because it makes HD online content distribution affordable. Since Tightrope really understands the needs of PEG channel providers, they’ve designed an automated, affordable solution that’s perfect for us.”

As integrated with the main Cablecast VOD server, Cablecast Reflect stores a copy of videos in the cloud as needed. Once the file has been uploaded to the cloud, subsequent viewers will retrieve the file from the cloud without using any of CreaTV’s bandwidth. Content can be pulled from any of the four CreaTV channels.

CreaTV San Jose is additionally in the process of transitioning its Tightrope Media Cablecast SX SD video servers—including one Cablecast Pro VOD server and three live streaming servers—to Cablecast SX HD video servers as part of its comprehensive HD upgrade. The channel will also add an HD router, reference monitors and other HDTV gear by the end of 2015.

“We can have tens of thousands of files that viewers want to see online, but if they aren’t watching them, the high CDN usage and cloud storage fees we pay are a waste,” said Cowgill. “Reflect lets us store only what’s needed in the cloud, for as long as it’s needed.”