Catholic Television of San Antonio Extends its Reach and Flexibility With TVU Networks
By: Dagoberto Patlan
The Archdiocese of San Antonio’s Catholic television station, Catholic Television of San Antonio (CTSA), has broadcast locally produced video for the past 35 years. A few years ago, we faced the dilemma of wanting to carry more masses, celebrations, and offsite events live while staying within our budget and continuing to operate with a very small staff. At first, we tried a transmission solution for live events that resulted in unreliable signals and degraded video with image pixilation and dropout. Last year, we were determined to and a reliable, portable transmission solution to rent for production of our live, annual Good Friday event, “The Passion Play.” After a competitive and thorough research process, CTSA selected the TVUPack cellular 4G/LTE live video mobile uplink solution for the live Good Friday event. With our first use of the TVU Networks technology, we were shocked at the drastic improvement in transmission quality – so much so that we decided to purchase the TVUPack for regular remote transmission use.
As a small, local community station, investing in the TVUPack was a significant purchasing decision for us. But in the end, we felt that the purchase was worth it. The TVUPack expands our live video capabilities and broadens our presence in the community, and that was a major selling point. The solution’s solid signal strength and dynamic control of different modems also impressed us. Because the TVUPack offers mobility and connectivity through cellular technology, we can easily conduct transmissions anywhere, and that has provided us with a great amount of added flexibility. With our TVUPack, CTSA has carried local graduations, masses, holiday celebrations, telethons and other events live. We also used the TVUPack for our 2016 “Passion Play” live broadcast and rented an additional TVUPack for the event so that we could live stream it from multiple locations. We’ve yet to run into a locale that our TVUPack could not service with a solid video signal.
Recently, we began taking advantage of TVU Networks’ new Facebook Live Integration capabilities. In June, we started live streaming our daily Mass service to our Facebook page (facebook.com/ctsa15) using our TVUPack. Adding the Facebook Live component gives us a reach we could never have achieved through traditional means. People can now tune in either live or play the Mass back later in the day. The potential for viewership from Catholics around the world is just astounding. It also allows us to maintain a regular connection with parishioners who’ve relocated, including college students and those serving in the military. This capability brings our services into the homes of thousands of people in the San Antonio area and beyond.
Our long-term plan is to provide live streams of other events in the Archdiocese via Facebook Live, such as our new Vatican based news program, “Rome Reports”, press conferences, prayer services and on-location programs, including the World Youth Day Mass held at the UNESCO Heritage site, Mission San Jose.
For CTSA, the biggest benefit of its TVUPack is that it’s helped to significantly expand our presence. The portable IP news gathering solution affords us the flexibility to live broadcast events and serve the community in a way that was not possible previously. One of the missions of CTSA is to reach people that might not be able to get out and see local events in person, and the solution increases our ability to broadcast live content in a cost efficient way.
For a station with a limited budget that couldn’t afford a production truck or other expensive gear for shooting live in the field, the TVUPack is a perfect fit. It has blown us away with what we’re able to do with it, and the solution has proven to be a rock solid product and a great utilization of our resources.
DAGOBERTO PATLAN IS THE OPERATIONS MANAGER AT CTSA. HE CAN BE REACHED VIA EMAIL AT DAGO.PATLAN@ARCHSA.ORG.