Monday, October 12, 2009

Video Furnace/HaiVision

When I was first hired at Lower Merion School District, one of my duties was to install a Video Distribution system.  At that time, multiple VCR's with cable multiplexers etc were to be the solution.  Each building would need it's own system/cable plant.  At that point, we were starting a Capital Improvement project of renovating all our schools.  Part of the renovation was to install coax cable to all rooms.  Our 2 high schools were networked but no coax was installed to the existing facilities.  So I was then tasked with trying to find a video system that could use CAT5 cable/Coax.  We started with IP Telephony at that same time.  I was not happy with any solutions we saw, mostly because they were not cross-platform compatible.  One vendor used Windows ME for their Set-Top-Box platform....are you serious???

Finally, I got the name "Video Furnace" through a sales rep. from another company we do business with.  The Video Furnace CEO and CTO came on-site and did a demo.  They had a switch, a smaller form factor encoder and a portable DVD player.  They showed us how the system was ENTIRELY IP and performed equally for both viewing and management on both OSX and Windows (as well as Linux).  ZERO footprint client (delivered from the web portal upon connection) with identical form and function.  I then connected my own laptop to their demo network and with the click of the mouse on a web portal page, had the system running on my laptop.  SOLD!

So we have 20 live channels that we now multicast through our facility as well as 5 scheduled channels (Community Cable Station, and 4 in house stations).  We purcahsed the system, the servers were drop shipped to Video Furnace site, they were configured and shipped to us.  Plug and Play!  The system was up and running immediately upon being plugged into the network.

Next up...the digital workflow.....getting live channels connected, and how we add our own content...