DELC Transition from Broadcast to Internet
For more information, or if you have any questions not listed, please contact David Beverley at
Why do our school districts have to make the transition from analog broadcast to IP
A new FCC (Federal Communications Commission) ruling is providing greater flexibility and a
more functional channels controlled by ETV and the DELCs. The FCC's efforts are to facilitate the
use of the DELC channels for new and innovative wireless broadband services.
What are the educational/instructional benefits offered through the ETV/IP initiative?
ETV intends to continue the strong partnership with K-12 schools by:
- offering quality educational resources that enhance learning and support curriculum standards
- provide a ONE PLACE Internet portal which will allow users to search at one time for ETV's
StreamlineSC, and Know-it-All, PBS, Annenberg, SC Department of Education’s ITV content, and
the state Library’s DISCUS Web sites.
-All video resources which are available to teachers will be on demand at the touch of the
What equipment is ETV providing to each school district to make this transition possible?
Each district will receive:
A 6 foot industry standard 19" rack with UPS
A server configured:
Dell 2950 III
SATA RAID controller
250 SATA Gig boot drive
1 Terabyte SATA drive (mirrored with 2nd equal capacity drive)
8 gigs of ram
Windows 2003 Enterprise configured with Windows media services running and IIS installed (but
port 80 is not running)
Windows 2005 Vitalization Server with Virtualized Windows 2003 Web server Edition configured
with a virtual 80 gig H/D and 2gig ram
VBRICK Portal server software, recorder and scheduling software
Installed on the VM (virtual machine) server
4 satellite receivers
2 dual encoder VBRICK appliances (four streams)
A single encoder VBRICK with presenter software and camera
Will there be additional recurring costs to the school district for ETV/IP service?
Maybe, if a district has to increase their Ethernet capacity, there will be a monthly charge.
What is the minimum amount of bandwidth/network capacity my district needs in order to
implement the ETV/IP system?
A 10 meg Ethernet connection, districts with MPLS (Multi Protocol Label Switching) will have to
work with ETV to find a solution
What is the preferable amount of bandwidth/network capacity for the ETV/IP system to
provide the most desirable viewing experience?
The more the better, but 100 meg or 1 gig metro Ethernet's are more than adequate
Do the required IP addresses need to be internal or external, and if external, is ETV going
to provide firewall or virus assurances?
If you’ve already properly configured your WAN firewall and any other IDS or network monitoring
tools, we are using FIPS and NIST standards for configuring local user accounts (these are
Federal guidelines for IT SOPs - standard operating procedures). We’re not going OUT or IN
through district firewall, so we’re not asking district to open a hole for the streaming or for user
access to the servers.
Will each classroom have a set top box to play the streaming videos?
There are at least two options: 1) You can convert the streams with a Set Top Box (STB) at your
schools cable distribution location (usually the Library), and play them over your schools cable
system; or 2) you can receive the signal on a classroom computer and show it over a TV
projection system or convert the computer signal with a PC-to-TV converter (STB) to play over a
regular television. ETV will not provide the STBs.
What equipment might my district be asked to procure?
Every district is different and you may not have to procure anything. However, some of the items
other district are procuring are routers that can play our multicasts streaming signal, conduit for
satellite and antenna cabling, and there is always a need for set top box devices to display the
video streams in the classroom.
We are aware of several switches that need to be updated or Ethernet capacity upgraded.
Will that be covered by ETV or do we need to plan to pay for those upgrades?
As for updating the network switches, we hope that there will be no cost to the district to
accommodate the lowest quality of video stream to be utilized in your network. We require a
minimum 10mbps network line, but additional school traffic may require you to obtain more
capacity to support higher quality video. We certainly won't require that upgrade.
How will a satellite receiver at each school be delivered in to IP at a school site?
The 33 districts that are transitioning will in a sense be broadcasting (actually its called
multicasting) satellite channels much like a district wide cable system from a central location. The
remaining school districts in the state will receive a new satellite receiver for each school, and the
signal will be distributed as it is today (most likely analog).
If the district does not procure additional encoders then will a V-Brick or similar unit be
needed at each school to deliver this?
No, Set Top Boxes will be installed to decode the stream and deliver a video signal through their
existing Broadcast Distribution Systems.
How will each school be able to deliver live broadcasts (and other feeds such as DVD
player) in their own school?
Theoretically, any school or classroom connected to the network will have the ability to originate a
live remote. Once the live stream begins the TV guide should recognize and display the stream
as a choice on the system. We have a remote hook-up that we’re providing for the district to do
just that. The district could procure an encoder for each school and just as the remote scenario
the stream would be recognized on the TV guide when implemented.
How will Cable TV be distributed at school site?
A couple of possibilities are that they could continue to deliver it as they do today over their
existing BCS system; or they could use the district wide IP distribution, but in this case the district
would need an encoder for each channel they want to utilize in the system AND (VERY
IMPORTANT) the written copyright permission to do so.
How do you record a live off air broadcast delivered over the new IP Streaming system?
Presently, the DELC operators or the lead Media Specialist for the district can record live
streaming programs and store on the archived Video-On-Demand server. They would be stored
and searchable like StreamlineSC videos.
Are local school districts responsible for securing rights to stream program from
independent program producers or local cable providers?
YES absolutely. Programs supplied by ETV and SC Department of Education will have secured
those rights for defined terms, but it will be the districts responsibility to ensure those terms are
met, either through the DELC or lead Media Specialist.
Dose the districts design and architectural specifications need to be updated for any
possible present or future school construction?
YES, we’re also looking to update the state codes.
Will DELC towers be necessary when building in new school construction site? Â
You no longer need to build DELC receive antennas, but existing antennas may be of some use.
So, we suggest you keep them up if possible.
Will SCETV pay for encoder(s) at each school site?
No, not at this point, we can only afford one remote encoder per district.
Will the new equipment have to be located at the DELC location?
We hope the current DELC facilities could host the dubbing, the remote streaming, and editing
equipment, but since the transmission will be IP any of this equipment could be anywhere in the
district, it’s up to you where you would like it placed. Also, the server, encoders, broadcast and
satellite demodulators for streaming distribution can be placed anywhere within your network.
What about all of the equipment at the DELC’s now?
Not immediately. But the analog transmitters and equipment currently in the DELC will me moved
We don't have a satellite at the District Office. Will you be installing that and the encoders
at the district office?
When we install the transition equipment, it will include satellite receivers for district wide
distribution. We can install them anywhere you want within you network.
Do we have to choose between the 3 vendor choices that will supply the equipment and
service or will ETV just select a vendor?
It will be the districts choice. Â We may add more vendors latter. Tentatively, they are Cynergi,
SDI or Safari, and CNIC or Video Brick.
When watching programs originating on both the satellite channel and from the streaming,
there was about 35 seconds delay in the stream behind the satellite broadcast. That would
appear to cause significant issues when conducting a live interactive conference or class
using a phone that demands immediate responses. How do you overcome the delay?
There is an inherent delay in live streaming broadcast and utilizing a separate audio bridge may
not be the best technology to interact. There is web conference software which includes audio
interaction that may be better suited with streaming or use chat software.
Streaming images tend to be very small. Even if I lowered the resolution of my display the
size was not sufficient to display through a monitor or projector. If I made it full screen the
quality was so grainy that I could not read the words. Is this the same streaming quality
that will be distributed from the new equipment?
The image quality was the same lowest common quality we use in StreamlineSC across the
state. This is all we are going to require for state districts distribution; in that some districts don’t
have a big enough private networks to support any higher quality image. However, the turnkey
systems we are offering are flexible and will be able to perform a higher quality video image. Of
course, it is all determinant on what you want and can support.
When can someone come to our district to discuss with us the needed
updates that will have to be made in order to make this work?
We are working district-by-district to address your concerns, and will be contacting you soon. If
you wish to begin sooner, please contact David Beverley, our NTS Director by e-mail or phone
800-922-4848 to arrange a meeting.
We already possess much or most of the equipment ETV is providing. Can we ask for
additional streaming equipment or substitute what we have?
Yes, as long as the replacement or substituted equipment is used for streaming ETV/ITV content
in some capacity. The amount of procurement can not exceed $50,000.
How many satellite channels will be broadcasting from ETV to the district after the
transition, and will you be able to receive ETV broadcast channels?
There will be 8 satellite channel and 3 broadcast channels made available for schools to receive.
Are there any IP system currently set up that we could see operating?
Yes, Richland 2 and Fort Mill have district systems, and others are presently being completed.
Where will the hardware and related equipment be housed?
The answer is up to your district IT personnel. We would hope the remote set-ups, dubbing and
uploading equipment will be done by the DELCs.
Will ETV be using the existing DELC channels to provide educational services to the 33
school districts they are transitioning?
DELCs may no longer broadcast under the old FCC channel assignments. ETV will have to move
off the current channels. There are several options for ETV to move forward: ETV can 1) reduce
to one analog channel, or 2) build a digital channel delivery, or 3) make available wireless mobile
broadband Internet for teachers and students. The legislature is exploring which option is best for
Â What about the other districts outside of the 33 transitioning?
All districts will be provided a new web portal site that will allow them to search for qualified media
content through ETV, S.C. Dept. of Education, and State Library System. The web site will
include a TV guide of all the programming aired on our broadcast and satellite channels.
However, funding has not yet been provided for those districts to build out district-wide streaming
What determined the 33 districts that are being upgraded?
The FCC regulations provide the process to transition off the analog channels. Areas are
delegated to transition are called Basic Trading Areas (BTA). S.C. has 12 BTA’s; and a company
in Charlotte, NC said they needed 3 BTA’s to build out there system. The 3 BTA’s include all the
33 school districts and the company is required to pay for the transition. After January 2009, the
FCC will not allow ETV to broadcast on the analog EBS channels within any of the state's BTA's.
This transition will determine how ETV will transition the remaining 9 BTA's.
What about DELC consortiums which serve multiple districts?
There are 17 DELC immediately affected by the transition; the remaining have yet to be
determined and will continue to operate as usual. The new delivery will be district-wide and not by
consortium, and will need at least one appointee per district to manage the delivery. We advise
that DELC consortium personnel be utilized to help oversee each of their relevant transitions. See
New DELC roles
Will Districts still support existing copper BDS? And how long?
Yes, until the district is entirely IP compatible. However, this is a big change of delivery and will
not happen overnight another reason DELC personnel can be helpful.
When would training for all of this begin for the 33 districts?
Our goal is to have the equipment in place by the beginning of the 2009-2009 school year. Â We
realize all the training needed will not be completed by then, but DELC personnel have already
begun some aspects of the training and will be offering some instruction in the near future. ETV
and SC Dept. of Education will also be providing training. This will be not one time training, but
What considerations are being made with CIO for Bandwidth for districts? Will CIO fund
these increases in bandwidth needs or do the districts need to budget for this on an as
CIO and the K-12 technology Committee are reworking formulas to address equality of funding
for district bandwidth. Those formulas should be finalized by June 2008.