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UpNorth Media Center Provides Innovative Solution for TC Comedy Fest Simulcast

The TC Comedy Fest Was a Bit Too Popular This Year
The TC Comedy Fest Was a Bit Too Popular This Year

Bill Maher was sold out, and the Traverse City Winter Comedy Arts Festival needed to create an HD video connection between the State Theatre and the City Opera House for overflow in less than three weeks. Unfortunately, fiber infrastructure could not be built in that time frame let alone the fact that the cost could exceed $8000.00. What to do?

UpNorth Media Center staff member Bob Chauvin suggested using an old coax cable infrastructure called the I-NET (not to be confused with the Internet) that Charter Communications had downtown. The I-NET was built in the late 70’s before two way cable TV existed. It’s purpose was to provide performance venues (such as the State Theatre and City Opera House) a way to transmit live audio and video back to the cable system for local TV programs. Why not reconfigure it for a reverse or direct connection between the City Opera House and the State Theatre?

Comedian Bill Maher Gets the Key to the City from Traverse City Mayor Michael Estes
Comedian Bill Maher Gets the Key to the City from Traverse City Mayor Michael Estes
Traverse City Winter Comedy Arts Festival

With that suggestion Charter line technicians went to work and did just exactly that! They created a direct passive coax cable connection between the two venues. Then with the purchase of a digital HD cable TV modulator (same equipment used to distribute cable TV throughout sports bars…) the Comedy Fest now had an HD video and audio connection between the City Opera House and the State Theatre. All this with a week to spare before the festival! Mission accomplished!

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