Everett TV to get new equipment, system upgrade
EVERETT - The city’s television channel will get new equipment next spring and devoted viewers will notice the improvements.
Everett TV viewers will see council members more clearly as the City Council’s chamber will be getting new lighting as part of the upgrade, although the audio won’t be improved.
The audio quality of the City Council meetings’ broadcast has nothing to do with the television equipment, but with the audio equipment in the council chambers, city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said.
The new system will allow Everett TV to quickly display emergency alert notices. The upgrade moves the station into this decade by changing from tape and DVD to digital files on a hard drive that can be programmed off site.
Implementing closed captioning is still being decided.
The city is spending up to $405,000 for Erik Utter and Associates of Seattle to install the new equipment. The City Council approved the contract last week.
The city is buying the new system with money it collected when it charged Everett cable subscribers a $1 a month fee. The account amassed $1.7 million as of last year but can only be spent on system upgrades, and not on staff.
The cameras will shoot in high-definition, but viewers won’t see it right away because the cable channel isn’t HD-equipped, Reardon said.
Adding closed captioning depends on if the city will hire someone to type the captions, Reardon said. The city hasn’t decided if it can afford do this yet.
Paying someone for closed captioning would come out of the department’s operations budget, which is allotted a tight $13,000 a year.
The city could use automated software for captioning, but “we don’t hear any positives on the accuracy rate” of that software, Reardon said.
“The only way to do (captioning) reliably is having a person” typing audio into text, said Michael Murray, the contractor’s director of sales.
Everett TV’s production system is due for replacement. The equipment it uses now is nine years old and older, and some parts are no longer available. In one case, employees were taking parts from other machines, Reardon said.
The new system is a complete upgrade that “brings them right up to current standard,” Murray said. The new equipment should have a lifespan of eight to 10 years, Murray said.
Everett TV films City Council meetings live and produces quarterly shows featuring the police and public works departments. Everett TV is shown on channel 21 for Comcast customers and channel 29 for Frontier customers.
Everett TV reached 30,000 cable subscribers last year.
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