Houston Television – The City’s PEG Channel: Empowering Community Connection and Positive Impact


A picture containing logoDescription automatically generatedBy Ted Irving

Houston Television (HTV) is a remarkable platform that has been serving the Houston community since 1986. It is a vital link between the local community with a diverse range of content and programming. This channel, dedicated to Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) broadcasting, has made a significant impact by fostering engagement through its live coverage of government and community-based meetings, which help in delivering valuable information to residents.

Recent strategies surrounding technology and infrastructure at HTV has bolstered our public awareness, making the channel and its digital footprint (including social media and podcasting) an indispensable asset for the community.

Houston Television empowers the community by providing the mayor, council and at-large representatives, and city departments, a voice to constituents, organizations, and businesses. The Federal Communications Act mandate for HTV is to provide transparent government through broadcasting and streaming technology. To achieve this, the station has built a state of the art broadcast facility to meet that mandate.  HTV has also worked with local content delivery house

CReed Global Media to install five Teradek Prism Encoders to serve the social media community. What does this mean? Each digital box will feed our channel signal to our cable partners for one of the government channel signals to the HTV local cable partners while also allowing us to have our very own channel app for Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV (Amazon), Chromecast (Google), and the majority of Smart TV manufacturers. The Creed App also provides distribution of the two educational (HCCTV and HISD TV) as well as the public media channel, Houston Media Source, from HTV’s broadcast operations facility.

A picture containing text, indoorDescription automatically generatedHTV, Houston Television, is also a Ross Video house. Designed by senior engineer, Al Byers, the house has seven control rooms including two broadcast (Master) control rooms, three studios, and our emergency center mini studio with PTZ camera. All areas link back to the new Ross Video Ultrix FR12 Router, the heart of the entire broadcast plant. This new addition gives HTV two new Ultrix Carbonite production switchers, 90 channels of ULTRASYNC frame store and eleven ULTRISCAPE multi-viewers.  As part of the recent upgrade, the facility now has the capability for 4K production required for special projects. Additional Ross upgrades, done in conjunction with partner Digital Resources Inc, include two new Ross Video XPression 4RU 12G character generators, and two new Ross Video TRIA+UHD-202 video playout servers.

Control of the technology is accomplished with a facility wide
Rose Electronics Orion X  KVM Switch allowing operators to access video servers, graphics engines, router, video processing and streaming servers from any of workstations located throughout the plant.

A picture containing ceiling, indoor, night, darkDescription automatically generatedHTV, using locally based Formative Structures, has invested in new set designs for its large studio. Sets are a mix of traditional and digital. Every monitor is fed content via SDI direct from the Technology Operations Center’s new Ross Ultrix Video Router routing any source in the facility, including multiple Graphics Engines. One of the sets includes nine monitors driven by a Graphics Engine built by HTV Engineering.  Another – the News Set – includes a four-monitor rear video wall. To show the facility is fully enlightened, a host of lighting grid updates were made during the first quarter of 2023. This includes DMG Lumiere by Rosco, several FilmTools one ton grip packages, grip accessories for studio use, and a package of Rosco Braq Cubes.
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For our small studio with green screen capabilities, a Planar UltraRes X 100” ShareScreen monitor was installed allowing users to pull video or graphics directly from their mobile devices to the screen to decrease recording times. This model also allows for up to eight simultaneous mobile phone connections with touch-screen access.

In addition to two television studios, HTV boasts a Podcast studio using GoPro cameras on every microphone with a tie-in to a LiveStream HD550 portable production unit as well as the central router for use in any A picture containing text, indoorDescription automatically generatedControl Room. Audio is processed using an Arrakis Systems broadcast console that saves sessions to the station 100TB EditShare LAN. Editors using Davinci Resolve can pull any podcast show, video, or editing project, direct from EditShare, our facility’s shared network storage and media management. As an added bonus for each editing suite, monitors have been replaced with new ASUS ROG Strix HDR curved screens.

 A picture containing electronics, projectorDescription automatically generatedAll studios this calendar year were outfitted with Evoko Liso room managers. City employees and HTV staff can now book studio rooms via touch screen or off-location using the Microsoft Outlook Calendar. In addition, new studio cyber keys were installed in June providing more data collection on foot traffic and employee use of rooms.

Houston Television field gear has continued its expansive dive into 4K. All 1080i JVC ENG cameras have been replaced with 4K big brother the
JVCGY-HC500U. Each is a solid complement using J-Log in conjunction with the shop Sony A7siii 4K DSLR cameras operated at S-log.

Live television streaming is conducted using several LiveU units with HDMI & SDI inputs, along with 10 licenses for Live-U LU-Smart App use on all employee iPhones. For multi-cam live streams, or recordings, the station investment included three ACME Go 4K, three LiveStream boxes, several Teradek Bolt 6 transmitter receiver kits, and one ATOMOS Sumo 19. Each is used with a bevy of sliders, such as the Edelkrone SliderPlus , mobile phone gimbals, GoPro gimbals, robust grip kits and more. 

The Houston Television government channel has positioned itself to provide the highest quality possible to the public, city employees, and city administration.

Going the extra mile to have a positive and informative impact on Houstonians is why we cherish the craft of storytelling, live streaming, and providing transparency, as we continue to be a beacon for community connection.

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Watch Your Government LIVE!

Ted Irving

Director, HTV-Houston Television

832-393-1277 Office