Category

Multisite church

The Greatest Audio Product to Come Out of This Year’s NAB

By | Multisite church, Satellite technology

Think of it as an early Christmas gift.

Finding baby Jesus in the King cake.

The equivalent to hitting the jackpot.

If your network operates on one of the lower data rates – like 128 to the 192 kbps range – there is now a new receiver on the market, customized with your network’s specific needs in mind.

It’s the XDS Pro 1R Digital Media Receiver with low bit rate decoding. Debuted at NAB 2016, the Pro 1R will be available in the marketplace in June.

Make no mistake, Pro 1R is BIG NEWS for many of our customers still operating on the Comstream ABR platform. Before now, these broadcasters could not justify the increase in monthly space segment costs to update their current out-dated receivers to more efficient units with DVB and AAC.

Like the Pro 1Q, the Pro 1R has all the features and benefits that radio networks operating on higher bandwidths have enjoyed, like:

  • Low bitrate down to 100 Ksps
  • Can fit in a 200 KHz carrier
  • DVB S/S2 – QPSK/8PSK
  • MPEG2, AAC-LC, HEv1, and HV2
  • Locally input LIDs, liners, spots
  • Import/export content locally
  • And (drum-roll, please) Store and forward

Before we go further, here’s the back story. Earlier this year management at Pico Digital – the guys who manufacture the XDS platform – asked us for feedback. Specifically, what would compel the smaller religious networks to make the move and update their satellite platforms?

We explained the remaining marketplace is in the 128-192 kbps range, and – for stewardship reasons – have no intention of purchasing more space segment to adapt to the Pro 1Q. These smaller networks need the same features and benefits that the larger networks enjoy, we reasoned, but with the ability to lock on to a small carrier with a receiver.

In other words, we asked. Nicely.

Pro 1R@NABLet’s talk price tag. There is a slight premium on these receivers since they specifically function in the 128-192 kbps range. However, by not having to graduate to a higher bandwidth, the small networks make up the financial difference by being able to stay with the lower space segment.

The switch to this new platform only requires a few new pieces of equipment at the uplink – replace the current encoder with an XDS encoder and upgrade the DMD modem. No change in bandwidth necessary, since the expanded range of the new Pro 1R takes care of that. After these updates at the uplink, the installation of the new receivers can begin.

Here’s the cool part: you can start off linear, then adapt to the network management system (Store and forward) when your network is ready. But even in linear mode, you are enjoying features not even dreamed of with the ABR, including the ability to pre-record and play out station ID’s from the Pro 1R. For unattended stations, this is your way of “dipping your toes” into the localization waters.

Amazing. Right?

Like more info about the Pro 1R? Ask us anything – we’d like to help. Besides the benefit of finally putting your obsolete ABR platform to rest, this product can deliver a whole new range of possibilities for your network.

Give us a call. We’re here to facilitate your network transition.

4 Essential Troubleshooting Strategies for Your Network

By | Multisite church, Satellite broadcasting, Satellite technology

Houston, We Have a ProblemTroubleshooting. Tech types know this verb well. It refers to the logical, systematic search that must be conducted to make a product or system operational again.

How do you proceed in a logical, systematic way when exploring problems at your audio or video uplink? For either, the troubleshooting is basically the same. Here are our best suggestions for getting to the root of the problem.

CHECK FOR POWER

At the equipment rack. Start at the encoder and make sure the power is on. Don’t laugh – some folks have been known to skip this step! Take a look at the front panel and make a note of what lights are on.

Now check your modulator or modem. Is it on? What lights are illuminated on the front panel?

Before your network is in hot water, do this: Make a complete record today of all of the correct settings in your encoder and modulator/modem. When you have a problem you can then easily compare the original parameters to the settings during any troubleshooting episode.

At the uplink antenna. Double-checking the operational health of an amplifier or BUC is a little different, as there are multiple ways to detect whether or not the equipment has power. Some amplifiers have small LED lights that indicate power while others have fans, so if either of these are off you can infer that there is no power. Of course, some amplifiers have nothing that readily indicates power, so you may be required to use a volt meter to make sure there is not a blown circuit at the BUC or amplifier at the dish.

CHECK THE ALARMS

Only with a computer or terminal do you have the ability to check your amplifier or BUC for alarms. Checking for alarms is easier with encoders and modulators. Lacking a computer or terminal, you can go through the front panel to find answers. Are any alarms lit? If so, go through them one by one. With any luck, an indicator will steer you towards the issue, which could be resolved in the next step:

CHECK YOUR CABLE CONNECTIONS, CONNECTORS, ATTENUATORS, AND COMBINERS

Yep. We’ve seen entire networks go down due to a single loose connector. Start with your cable connectors and work your way through each, making sure each connection is tight.

Troubleshooting DarylCHECK THE ANTENNA ALIGNMENT

You know there’s trouble if that sucker has moved. If you have a Sat Buddy or an SM120, you should be able to plug it in and tell if the dish is out of alignment. If you find there is no lock on the orbital satellite that you are assigned to, then congratulations – you’ve found your issue.

CHECK IN WITH KA YOU

We can help. If equipment has failed and you do not have backup, check with us. We can expedite the delivery of any replacement gear that you may need.

If your uplink has moved, we’ll contact satellite operations and assist you in successfully completing cross pole.

When your network is down, no one – least of all, your audience, is happy. If you’ve gone through all the steps above and have yet to locate the problem, we need to know this, as well. Let us add our troubleshooting skills to yours and locate the issue.

Make Your HD Video UNSTOPPABLE With this Awesome Technology Solution

By | Multisite church

UnstoppableWe are not big fans of the Internet.

Oh, it has it’s place. Keeping up with friends on Facebook…checking the weather forecast…Googling videos of cute puppies and precocious kitties. You know, the really important stuff.

But for a high-def video transmission, we would never suggest that you entrust your message to the Internet. Live video feeds via the Internet may work at times but when it doesn’t, it’s a disaster. Vulnerable to bandwidth congestion, it that can dramatically slow down or even (horrors!) drop a live-streaming broadcast. Drop. And the broadcast is – was – live. Adios. Goodbye. Gone.

So you can understand why we don’t promote the use of Internet for your multi site transmission. Yet, here’s the rub: for one reason or another, there are groups who want – or need – to use the Internet for their live video transmission. So here’s our suggestion…

What if there was an Internet solution out there that gives you the price point and convenience that you’ve come to expect from the Cloud, yet has bandwidth technology that automatically adjusts and compensates for bandwidth congestion?

What if you can use this technology of encoders and decoders for the Internet AND, when you’re ready to upgrade, for satellite transmissions, as well?

Plus, the price tag for this solution is comparable to what you’d pay for a traditional terrestrial solution.

Awesome,right? And at Ka You, we’ve got it.

We call this affordable yet flexible system FIRST STEP. We’ve been searching for this exact technology of encoders and receivers for several years. Think of this as a “first step” for multi sites that – because they have less than a handful of downlink campuses – may not be ready for satellite, yet seek a dependable transmission solution.

Ateme CM5000

How does it work? The ATEME technology (that’s FIRST STEP) uses a bandwidth-aware adaptive bit rate, packet retransmission and forward error correction to improve transmissions.

Because the system monitors, manages and adjusts the stream automatically, you don’t lose the picture. Subtle compensation adjustments are made around the edge, so subtle that – unless pointed out – the viewer would likely not even notice.

When you’re ready to “go” satellite, your encoders and decoders go with you, easily adapting to the new method of transmission.

For the multi site church, we are confident that satellite is the best video broadcast solution available. Ask any of our current video ministries – let them share with you how cost-effective and reliable satellite can be.

But if the Internet is your preferred transmission method at this time, let us take some of the guesswork out of whether or not your live Internet feed will arrive intact, or at all. Why not make that FIRST STEP?

2015 Roundup – Our BEST Blog Posts of the Year!

By | Multisite church, Satellite broadcasting, Satellite technology

Santa & CoffeeThe month of December always sneaks up on me.

I’m not sure how, since it always follows November, but I never seem to pull it all together…complete everything on my “to do” list and simply enjoy this wonderful time of year.

Maybe it’s because December is a month of contrasts; a month of excess and merriment in what seems to be direct opposition with contemplation and reflection. Speaking of reflection – indulge me as I contemplate the effectiveness of this blog. I post each and every entry with all the angst of a new parent: Is this blog topic relevant? Do the graphics enhance the content? Does anyone even READ the content?

Numbers indicate that some of y’all actually DO read my posts, which is such a relief! Thank you! After a quick analysis of these entries’ click rates, let me share – again – three of Ka You Communications most enjoyed blog posts of 2015.

Our third most read blog entry of 2015 is A Short List of What to See at NAB 2015. Published in the weeks preceding the annual Las Vegas show, the post featured our Technology Must-Sees for our broadcast customers and our video content clients. The research for this blog entry was great groundwork for my own list of must-sees on the show floor.

Number Two: We’ll NEVER Recommend Pre-recording Messages at your Multi Site Church. And Here’s Why. This post focuses on one of the most awesome aspects of using satellite to link multi site campuses: a live broadcast. Pastors aren’t relegated to pre-recorded services to ensure that their remote sites receive a quality transmission.

Our most-read blog entry? Three Smart Points to Consider When Choosing C-Band, Over the summer we tackled the age-old question: which might best meet your network broadcast needs, C-band satellite or Ku? We tried to put to rest common misconceptions, and gave specific reasons why someone would choose to operate their network in the C-band frequency range.

One more thing – as the holiday season marches forward – the tree goes up, the lights are strung and I stand in yet another queue at UPS – let me take a moment to reflect on YOU, our customer.

Thank YouThank you for allowing us the privilege of serving you. We are excited to be entering our 16th year as a company, and humbly acknowledge that we would not BE in business without those who trust us to design, build and maintain their secure audio and video satellite transmissions. We understand that we have been entrusted with the distribution of your message, and don’t take this honor for granted.

So, again, THANK YOU. And yes…your chocolate should soon be arriving in the mail. <smile>

The Brilliance of Redundancy and the Backup Quarterback

By | Multisite church, Satellite broadcasting, Satellite technology

The BackupFunny…the things that remind you of the importance of network equipment redundancy.

A few weekends ago I was watching the football team of my alma mater on TV – that would be the Florida State Seminoles, sports fans – take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. While Wake Forest was playing well, the Noles’ performance was…meh.

The Seminoles took the win, 24-16, but it wasn’t pretty. The new QB that our Head Coach JUST HAD TO RECRUIT after being dropped by from Notre Dame continues to perform less-than-stellar on the field, while the team in general seems to be plagued with injuries.

Meanwhile, Wake Forest looked good…REALLY good, in spite of an injury to one of their key players. Their starting quarterback had been injured in the previous week’s game, so Wake Forest’s second needed to step up. And he did – big time. Backup QB Kendall Hinton had 27 completions for 215 yards, threw for a touchdown, and had a 110 efficiency rating, as well – amazing for a freshman.

What does playmaker Quarterback Kendall Hinton have to do with network redundancy, you ask? Everything. Think of the Demon Deacons as a broadcast network. Follow this analogy and Hinton was the off-the-shelf redundancy that seamlessly replaced the failed piece of equipment, allowing the team – I mean network – to stay in the game (which they did – just ask us Noles).

Never doubt the importance of redundancy.

Saddleback Video ControlIn one of this year’s previous posts (Three Things to Know to Keep Your ABR Network Alive) we acknowledged not every current ABR network is financially ready to make the investment in a DVB platform, but an outlay in MULTIPLE spare DAC 7000 encoders and ABR 202 or 202A receivers MUST be made until you convert. Think two encoders and enough spare receivers to supply half of your downlink sites.

Remember: ABR equipment is no longer being manufactured and will only be repaired as long as parts are available. A missing ABR 202 with no backup will cost you a single downlink locale, yet a DAC with no backup means your entire network is indefinitely off the air!

redundancy 2Networks that have invested in the newer DVB audio or video platforms by manufacturers such as XDS, IDC, 2WComm and Ateme should not ignore the need for redundancy, either. Yes, your gear is shiny and new, but things happen. Our suggestion? One receiver for every TEN in the field. And consider budgeting for an additional encoder, modem, and amplifier, as well. Lacking these essential pieces may mean your entire network may be down for days, if not weeks.

Most FSU fans assumed the #9 ranked Seminoles would easily dominate the unranked Demon Deacons, but that was not the case. The 24-16 score does not adequately reflect how competitively the Deacons played. Wake Forest played up – hungry for a win against the Noles’ and confident in the ability of their backup – I’ll say it, redundant – quarterback.

So take a look at your network with critical eyes. Are you fully redundant?

Or, are there some improvements you can make to ensure you have backup?

We’ll NEVER Recommend Pre-Recording Messages at your Multi Site Church. And Here’s Why:

By | Multisite church, Satellite broadcasting

It happened on a Friday.

Supreme CourtMajor national news affecting hearts and minds within the body of Christ. A ruling by the Supreme Court that will have major ramifications for church leadership and potentially, church doctrine, in the United States. And it happened on a Friday.

In the multi site church world, the WHEN of any event that affects a community of faith matters.

Even with live delivery options like satellite and terrestrial readily available, many multi site churches pre-record their services during the week – usually on Thursday night – for their community churches. Often they do not know that there is a high-quality but cost effective way to deliver their weekend message LIVE from the main campus to the outlying campuses. Other multi sites send last week’s sermon, so the remote campuses are a week behind the home campus. So, for these churches, WHEN an event happens may determine whether it will be addressed this weekend, or next.

Is WHEN an event addressed by the pastor that big of a deal? Absolutely.

Like many evangelical Christians, I sought the council and wisdom of my pastor in the weekend following the decision of the US Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage. I wanted – I needed to hear from the church’s teaching pastor, our spiritual shepherd. And I did. In a message filled with God’s grace and unconditional love, I was reminded how, as a Christian, I was called to respond.

So, yes, the WHEN matters.

Which is why so many pastors of multi site churches struggle with the strategy of pre-recording services. Not only is it next to impossible to be spontaneous in front of a live mic in an empty room, but – depending on the day of the week – events that may directly affect the life of the church may go unaddressed until the following Sunday.

This was the exact complaint of a multi site church pastor in Virginia. His staff shared with us that the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado in 2012 was the catalyst for his directive to explore live delivery options. During a midnight showing in a packed movie house, 12 people were killed and 70 people injured when a gunman, dressed in tactical clothing, set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience. It happened on a Thursday night – midnight mountain time – just hours after his pre-recorded service.

Believers and non-believers alike struggle with the “hows” and “whys” following any tragedy – whether it be an event played out on the national political stage or a serious accident in the community. In the days following any calamity, men and women turn to the church for comfort, reassurance, and the understanding that – in the midst of their uncertainty and pain – God is there.

I cringe inside when a multi-site church shares that their community campuses get a pre-recorded message on Sunday morning. I immediately think about that pastor in Virginia, and how he didn’t want to wait for “another Aurora” before he addressed the issue of pre-recorded services.

He knew the WHEN mattered.

Left Without a Chair

By | Multisite church, Satellite broadcasting, Satellite technology, Uncategorized

Musical ChairsRemember the game Musical Chairs? I played it more than once at birthday parties when I was a kid.

As the music was playing, we’d march around, circling chairs set up next to us – chairs that were deliberately short by one player. Everyone anticipating when the music would stop and we would need to race to the closest available chair.

No one wanted to be the kid left standing, because he was out of the game.

I’ve been wondering – with all the major upheaval in the world of satellite space segment and delivery, is this how some folks are feeling right now? To hear that the company that provides their network with satellite space – the essential connectivity for the sheer existence of a network – is permanently shutting its doors? (Check out this article in Radio World magazine.)

Are people worrying that the recent turbulence in the industry is, perhaps, some colossal game of Musical Chairs, and they might be left standing?

The music is playing, and everyone is scrambling for chairs.

Is your satellite vendor focused on its own program creation, advertising sales and distribution network? Do they see your vital satellite interconnection as a mere sideline that could be discarded at any time?

It’s moments like these that I am thankful that we entered the world of satellite technology and integration 15 years ago. We began Ka You with a handful of customers, a little space segment here and there, and a desire to help anyone who needed broadcast satellite services to achieve their goal.

Now, Ka You Communications supports dozens of customers and thousands of downlinks across six satellites, transmitting audio and video to all 50 states – even internationally.

ChairsWork with Ka You, and you’re working with people whose only business is to fulfill your satellite distribution needs. We know radio, television and video, and we understand the complexities of satellite integration. Our growth as a company has been both conservative and strategic.

There’s a lot of security for us – and you – in that knowledge.

Let the music play. As a technology company and a satellite integrator, things at Ka You Communications are just fine. Ka You will always be your best satellite communications option – and with us, you will always have a chair.

AND THE WINNER IS…

By | Multisite church, Satellite broadcasting

Ka You Communications!

Our innovative technology entry with the Worship Facilities Awards – presented at the WFX 2014 Conference in Dallas October 1-2 – was a winner!

Okay…confession time. It wasn’t THAT much of a surprise. About three weeks before WFX 2014, the folks with Worship Facilities magazine shared with us that our entry – in which we described our live dual screen, satellite delivery for Central Pennsylvania’s LCBC Church – won in the area of New Technology Product. (See our previous blog post, giving details regarding the innovative design. ) But the folks at WFX asked us to sit on the news until it could be formally announced at the conference, so we did!

Ka You Communications - Wins awardFast forward to the WFX Conference…it was thrilling to hear our name announced as

one of the Worship Facilities Awards winners. It was awesome to be presented with a really cool plaque – shiny, isn’t it?

 

newproductawards2014 winner - Color Print edit

Then WFX posted an award notification in front of our booth – a small, self-adhesive mat in front of the booth – so attendees could easily identify us. (I so wanted to take the sticker home, but the clean up crew after the show snatched it up and threw it away. Not cool.)

 

Crystal Award

But then we got this really amazing crystal award in the mail; which so made up for the loss of the sticker!

A great amount of time and attention to detail was spent designing a customized satellite solution for LCBC Church for the simultaneous use of two video feeds, so – for us at Ka You – being recognized for this innovative design with the Worship Facilities’ New Technology Product Award is a big deal. However, it’s a big deal to us for reasons beyond a plaque, a crystal award, or even the wonderful write up in the October issue of Worship Facilities magazine.

We know that winning this award may be the best opportunity for church pastors and technology leaders at multi site churches to hear about Ka You – to find out who we are, and what we do.

There are a number of companies out there who can provide a terrestrial solution for multi site churches who need to connect their campuses on Sunday mornings.

But there’s no other satellite integrator quite like Ka You Communications. We are dedicated to helping Christian broadcasters and multi-site churches find a simple, cost-effective solution to deliver their message through the use of satellite. We understand the unique needs that only a church with multiple campuses dedicated to excellence can have. Plus, Ka You has a deep knowledge of the satellite industry. That unique combination is a winner!

So bring on the shiny plaques and crystal awards – we appreciate the accolades, and they look really neat in the office. But the bigger award for us is when another multi site church chooses Ka You – then shares the positive experience with others. Now that’s winning!

Is Satellite Part of the Multi Site Journey, or the Destination?

By | Multisite church
for booth

Lori Stevens, PhotoLore Photography

Typically, churches that contact us about exploring satellite as a delivery option for their multi site campuses have previously tried multiple delivery options yet – for one reason or another – have been dissatisfied with the results.

I just read a very informative blog by Pastor Jim Elgi, where he walks through the process of effectively integrating the message across his own Vineyard Church of Central Illinois’ multi site campuses. Using this experience, he succinctly lays out the pros and cons of delaying your main campus message to multi site campuses by a week, a day, or a few minutes. It’s a great read – check it out here.

Obviously, we’re big fans of live satellite delivery at Ka You. In his blog, Elgi raises two “cons” that lead me to believe that his church chose Internet as their live delivery system. His points?

The technology to do this is not cheap and requires adequate bandwidth at every point in the delivery system.

system integration dish adjust

Lori Stevens, PhotoLore Photography

Live satellite delivery is not “cheap”, either, though surprisingly affordable compared to multiple terrestrial deliveries. Satellite is comparable in cost to the high-end HD theater projectors that you may already own. The cost varies, depending on the features and benefits that your ministry requires.  You determine if your delivery system is standard or HD, single or multi screen, live or tape delayed.

Unlike Internet delivery, “adequate bandwidth” is not an issue. With satellite, the bandwidth your church is using is dedicated – committed to YOUR live delivery.

YOU control the points where there is a potential for failure. The uplink, as well as the downlink equipment is YOURS.  You control satellite costs by purchasing just the amount of space you need. Share the Gospel on Sundays – not bandwidth!

If the technology fails, the campus pastor is going to have to step in.

Over the last few years Ka You has designed and integrated a satellite uplink delivery system for several churches in North America.  We design commercial grade satellite systems, which are robust and reliable – highly resistant to weather or atmospheric conditions.  Combine this with redundancy and your campus pastors are off the hook.

Satellite is simple – easy to operate. Satellite gives you the flexibility to locate downlinks in campuses located in schools, office buildings – even strip malls. Once your system is installed, there are no additional operating costs when adding new campuses. No matter the number of sites, the cost of satellite space on Sunday morning remains the same.

journey istock photo

Jim Elgi refers to the process of choosing a video system as a “journey”.  No doubt that, given their specific needs at the time, every video system utilized by his church was functional. But I think Pastor Elgi would agree that there comes a point in every multi site ministry’s journey where there is an urgent need for MORE – more flexibility, reliability…more bandwidth for the buck. If finding the best live video delivery option is a journey, SATELLITE is the destination.

The Dual Screen Video Challenge

By | Multisite church

LCBC satellite installationSometimes, explaining what we do as satellite integrators is just as hard – or even harder – than actually doing it! With lots of input from Mark (Ka You’s Director of Technology), nearly a week was spent writing (and rewriting!) our New Technology Product entry into the Worship Facilities Awards, taking place at the WFX Show in Dallas, October 1-2.

500 words. Our entry could only contain 500 words. How do we explain all the time and attention to detail spent researching and designing a customized satellite solution within the confining limits of a mere 500 words? Not an easy task, especially when our entry was about how we spent months customizing a live satellite delivery for LCBC Church, a Central Pennsylvania multi site church, that involved the integration of not one, but TWO video screens.

But, we managed. 500 words exactly. Below is our entry for the WFX New Technology Product award – give or take a word or two. Hope you enjoy reading about how we accomplished a dual screen feed – something we had never attempted before. Whether we win an award or not, we’re very proud of the work we did for this amazing church.

LCBC Church approached Ka You Communications with a unique challenge: to help them carry out their goal of having “one look, one voice, one message” by re-creating the dual screen presentation found at their main campus at their five remote locations. The church had previously looked at terrestrial based solutions, but soon realized that these were complex and too expensive. Could Ka You come up with a cost-effective satellite solution to the dual screen challenge?

2013-10-17 19.09.06Ka You engineering designed a system for LCBC that includes individual HD video encoders for both screen shots and 4 stereo audio feeds. A transport stream multiplexer (mux) was used to combine the outputs of both encoders. The mux provides a single transmission stream that includes both video feeds and 8 stereo audio feeds to a satellite RF modulator, which drives the satellite uplink’s amplifier to feed the transmission to a geo-synchronous satellite. The satellite receives, converts, and re-transmits the signal back to the Continental US.

At the remote campus, a small, unobtrusive satellite antenna receives the feed and delivers it to the dual high-def video decoders located within the A/V technical booth. The two decoders separate the individual video feeds from the multiplex transmission and allow the tech staff to deliver to separate projection screens.

Upon installation, LCBC’s recording devices were found to need an even tighter specification for the frame synchronization than previously LCBC satellite installationexpected. Although the decoders came with “Genlock” as a feature, the HD video recorders used by LCBC required a tighter spec. We wanted LCBC to not only have a great picture to the projectors, but also the same clarity for potential recording devices. To solve this issue, an additional out-board frame sync generator was added at remote locations.

How is it working, you ask? This sophisticated system is extremely reliable, yet simple enough for staff and volunteers to operate. The video quality at LCBC is exceptional; both screens are high definition. LCBC can choose to send video messages live for immediate play, or store them at remote campuses for delayed playback. And the flexibility of this system gives their team the convenience of planting a remote campus anywhere. A simple dish, receiver, and additional frame sync generator is all that’s needed to feed dual screens.

“One look, one voice, one message”. LCBC Church has achieved the goal of dual screen video through broadcast-grade satellite technology. Being live has enhanced the spiritual growth of their congregants; no longer are remote campuses seeing last week’s – or even last night’s – sermons. Now, even if members attend different locations, their interactions are now enhanced by the immediacy of the message. With live, dual screens via satellite, LCBC Church is truly ONE church.