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VISTA Project Will Embrace New Technologies

VISTA Project Will Embrace New Technologies

  • Posted on: 7 October 2005
  • By: cathy

The ways in which we choose and view media is changing dramatically for both the big industries and our community television center here in Cambridge. In the shadow of telecom policy changes in Congress and new media technologies emerging from every direction, a new initiative by CCTV will embrace and integrate new forms of media distribution into our current operations.

For most access centers, the conventional way of transmitting media produced by community members requires producers to submit hard copy tapes to each station in order to be played. Some access centers cablecast media directly from tape or DVD, others encode programs onto in-house digital video servers for playback, and in places like CCTV, we are working on a Frankenstein-like hybrid with a little bit of everything.

It is clear that local cable television infrastructure will no longer be the premium venue for distributing video to viewers and that the internet will offer greater possibilities for access centers like us. The cable television giants are already offering limited web-based programming, many commercial sporting and entertainment events are already streamed across the internet, and now is the time for community media organizations to carve out a piece of the internet for public interest before we are left behind. Indeed, it may soon be that cable television becomes obsolete, or proposed changes in regulation might prevail, and we may find ourselves without our three cable channels.

Cambridge Community Television recently concluded a short research effort headed by Americorps VISTA volunteer Catherine Hersh, pictured here, who investigated the new media distribution landscape. Looking at current models of media self-publishing, peercasting, streaming, blog/vlogging, and a wide range of more obscure methods, Cathy's work helps us chart a course for the future or our organization. This work has set the ground for increasing our capacity to distribute local media that reflects the reality of our lives here in Cambridge.

Cathy’s findings and research journal are published at: