Maryland District Streams Live, Captioned Content on YouTube for Parents, Students, Staff
- By Dian Schaffhauser
A Maryland school district with a full-service television and multimedia facility that produces programs for staff, parents, students and the broader community has gone public with its use of new encoding technology. Montgomery County Public Schools is using the Osprey Video's Talon G1, a video encoder for streaming live content with embedded closed captions to broadband and mobile networks.
The advantage of using this specific system, according to the company, is that the school district can connect with students through YouTube without paying for a stand-alone content delivery network (CDN).
The district was particularly drawn by the encoder's ability to handle embedded closed captions. The closed captions come in from MCPS-TV's caption provider and get embedded in an SDI signal coming from the MCPS-TV master control. From there the Talon G1 converts the video to H.264 and delivers it over IP to YouTube.
"The Talon G1 saves us a lot of money over using CDN services and equipment, which aren't even capable of doing everything we need them to do," said John Brittain, a TV production technician with MCPS-TV, in a prepared statement. "We couldn't find any other streaming appliance that can do what the Talon G1 does. And it does it in one small, self-contained device that's easy to set up through a simple web interface. Plus, it just works -- all the time -- with no special care, and it puts out a very good-looking picture to YouTube."
Among the day-long schedule for MCPS-TV is a live, interactive call-in show hosted by the school system's teachers. "Homework Hotline Live!" encourages students to phone, text or email homework questions to MCPS teachers, and then watch and listen as the teachers work through their questions. The program is broadcast three times a week on the district's website and community cable TV channel, as well as on its own YouTube channel, where the streaming is archived.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.