Extending Touchtown: Creating Custom HD Channels Residents Love!

HD Movies, Videos, Chapel Cameras, Music, Touchtown Signage & More…
– Accessible Via Your Cable TV Network

An Interview with Norm Campbell:

Norm Campbell, Director of Information Technology at New England Deaconess Abundant Life Communities talks about how the MX-400CC gives Newbury Court community residents two new channels and access to engaging HD content.

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Tell us about Deaconess Abundant Life Communities and your role here?

Deaconess Abundant Life Communities is a growing network of residential communities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. We offer a variety of living accommodations, services, features and amenities that are designed to fit the changing needs of older adults. My job is Maintaining IT and AV infrastructure used by our residents and staff within the Newbury Court facility.


How
did you hear about West Pond & what were your objectives in selecting a Digital Headend system?

I did a web search looking for a HD complement to our existing touchtown digital signage system. Our existing in-house TV insertion, provided by Comcast, was standard definition, and we were looking to increase our picture and sound quality, as well as stream and play pre-recorded movies, videos and music. Also, the system must be easily used and administered by our non-technical staff.

 

Why did you choose the MX-400CC Smart Headend?

While researching & checking references for West Pond, I was overwhelmed by the enthusiasm their users had for the technology. The other features like content scheduling and IP camera feeds weren’t on my shopping list, but those features sealed the deal.

 

How did the MX-400CC fit into your operational workflow?

We installed the MX-400CC with an extra HDMI capture module connected to our house internet network and it is accessible to our staff, locally and remotely via FlexDM.

For our Channel content, We rely on a wide variety of in-house video & media sources and use the scheduler to plan out the weeks of TV content ahead of time. We used the MX-400 to create 2 new HD channels that are accessible by our residents through the Comcast cable TV network.

The first channel integrates with our existing Touchtown Signage system to display slides of our upcoming activities and events.

The second channel is primarily for playing pre-recorded video and live video streaming of our chapel services, exercise classes and more. When we’re not playing video, the MX-400 channel also allows us to rotate in weather, time, date and upcoming channel video events.  i.e movies, exercises, chapel services, etc. using a simple HTML signage interface.

 

How does the MX-400CC interconnect with other equipment at your facility
& what functionality does it provide?

The MX-400CC RF output is connected to our house Comcast cable TV network. It allows us to utilize a number of local AV sources including:

  • Automated DVD/Blu-Ray movies (HDMI)
  • Touchtown signage (HDMI)
  • Music, to accompany the Channel slides, is provided via the
    audio companion input
  • Live streaming videos direct from the IP cameras
  • Recorded video (DVR and pre-recorded video) via the MX-400CC video library

The ability to schedule, record, and replay live chapel events is important to our residents.  We have also received quite a bit of positive feedback on the DVD/Blu-Ray movies we’ve been showing. The simple signage presentation template does a great job at keeping the screen busy in between scheduled video events.

The ability to remotely manage the unit using FlexDM has been invaluable, particularly as we continue to work remotely much of the time.  On several occasions we’ve needed to double-check that content was scheduled, etc. and have easily been able to log in remotely (even from my iPad!).

 

What are your thoughts on the West Pond product attributes?

Device interoperability?
We ran into a camera networking issue shortly after installing the unit.  It was a difficult problem and West Pond worked closely with us to resolve it.  We also had some issues the Touchtown DVD player control software but West Pond moved the player to the MX-400 without issue.

Ease of installation?
MX-400 was up and running within a few hours of its arrival.

Cost-effectiveness/value?
The MX-400CC is a nice package.  Lots of functionality in a small 1U footprint.

Form factor?
The West Pond headend equipment takes up way less space than our old hardware did.

Front Video Display panel?
The live video panel is a confidence builder and very nice to have!

User interface?
The entire software package is presented as a web page on the device.
The calendar feature is very intuitive and easy to use.

West Pond customer support?
We contacted West Pond numerous times and they were very helpful.
They assisted with the installation, helped to resolve issues post install, and even made some enhancements to the presentation template at our request.

Newbury Court residents enjoy an active, independent lifestyle that’s culturally rich, socially connected and full of enriching ways to grow, share, explore and have more fun.

MX-400CC Integrations:
– Touchtown TV+
– Avipas AV-1081 digital IP camera for Chapel services & events
– Denon DN-500BD DVD/Blu-ray player
– Grace Digital Internet Radio Receiver for background music

Video Format:
720P30 HD

Inputs:
– Stereo Analog Audio
– HDMI
– RTSP (camera)

Outputs:
RF US Cable TV QAM using a Comcast channel insertion


“The ability to remotely manage the unit using FlexDM has been invaluable, particularly as we continue to work remotely much of the time.”

“The ability to schedule, record, and replay live chapel events is important to our residents”.

 

“We were looking to increase our picture and sound quality, as well as stream and play pre-recorded HD movies, videos and music.

The simple signage presentation template does a great job at keeping the screen busy in between scheduled video events.