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Some intriguing news is making its way around the tech media world these past few days about the unique master control system developed for The Rural Channel.  Appearing on websites like Creative COW, TV Technology, and Broadcast Engineering.

Read the original article below and learn a little about how The Rural Channel is controlled remotely from the other side of the country!


(St. Paul, Minnesota–September 3, 2013) Television automation specialist Media Control Systems has designed and integrated a fully redundant HD broadcast solution based on Tightrope Media Systems workflow technology for The Rural Channel, a new agricultural network from Ag-Com Productions serving cable and satellite systems across Canada.

The complete system employs a unique blend of professional broadcast, cable and digital signage technology to give The Rural Channel the on-air protection and quality typical of a high-budget broadcast facility. Furthermore, the solution offers plenty of operational flexibility for long-distance management and operation.

The Rural Channel approached Media Control Systems for its proven ability to build reliable systems for remote broadcast – an important need given that the file-based content is ingested and played out from an unmanned facility on the opposite side of the country. Furthermore, the customer had a limited budget which was fairly typical for new, specialty cable networks.

Media Control Systems immediately turned to Tightrope’s Cablecast automation and server technologies for ingest, scheduling and playout, building two parallel systems that also include redundant routing and signal processing. Furthermore, the cost-efficiency of the Cablecast systems enabled Media Control Systems to add a Tightrope Carousel digital signage server, providing a third layer of redundancy to ensure the network never goes off the air. In addition to automatic failover, the architecture allows network operators to manually – and remotely – switch to Carousel-produced bulletin boards as needed.

“Our studios are located in an area where ISPs were unable to give us the connection and bandwidth we needed to service our satellite distributor and BDUs,” says The Rural Channel Technical Director, Drew Wilson. “So we had to find a master control system that we could install at a location that had the speeds we required. That location happens to be more than 1,500 miles from our studios. The Tightrope system we have makes it seems as if it’s in the next room. Every aspect of the system is at our fingertips. Even if we had the system at our headquarters, there would be no difference in how we manage it. We are extremely pleased with the performance, efficiency and reliability of our master control.”

The complete solution allows western Canada based operators to manually ingest media content, including long-form programs and advertisements, and build playout schedules using Cablecast’s intuitive user interface. Operators can also remotely log in to create engaging page layouts for the Carousel system, and otherwise monitor the health and status of the entire operation.

The architecture also features Media Control Systems’ specialized Spyglass Pro technology for failure detection, offering constant video and audio analysis to monitor signal integrity. Built-in redundant output failover enables seamless switching to the secondary Cablecast system or Carousel-driven content at a very cost-effective price point compared to similar solutions.

Thomas Walsh, CEO and Marketing Director for Media Control Systems, notes that Tightrope went the extra mile on this solution by developing “special software” to align the primary and secondary system functions.

“Media files are uploaded to both systems, but the Tightrope solution allows the secondary Cablecast system to automatically copy the primary system’s schedule,” says Walsh. “This is just one example of how this solution saves The Rural Channel time and effort, while ensuring alignment across the two systems.”