Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is Community Access Television?
- Where do you get your programs?
- I have an event in town that I’d like you to tape. How do I get NCTV to do that or help?
- Does NCTV loan out equipment? What equipment can I borrow?
- I don’t know how to use any of that stuff! What do I do?
- What can I learn to do at NCTV?
- I don’t want to learn how to run a camera or be in front of a camera. Can I still help?
- How much does it cost to do a show?
- How hard is it to do a show?
- Do I have to be a member to do a show at NCTV?
- This sounds great! How do I get involved?
- Can I advertise my business on NCTV?
- How do I get an event put on the “Scroller” Community Calendar?
- Can I watch NCTV on the Internet?
- Why is there no picture or no sound?
- I have a problem with my cable provider. Can you help?
- Can I watch this content on my TV?
Community Access Television is a service mandated by the State of Connecticut statutes and the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) for the provision of local Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) programs that includes a physical facility, funding, and space on the channel lineup to meet these requirements.
We get our programs from you, our Newington neighbors. We have local programs which are recurring that include “Connecticut Conversations”, “Kiwanis Hour”, “Talk to the Mayor”, etc., and non-locally produced programs that have requested by residents (e.g. “Service Above Self”, “Simply Fresh Food”, etc.). There are also many dedicated volunteers who tape town meetings, sporting events, school programs and events of interest around town.
While we would love to tape everything that goes on in town, it’s impossible for us to satisfy every request. You can ask us to get involved by emailing email@example.com or calling us, or by coming to a meeting, but the easiest way to air something of interest is for you tape it, and we will show it!
When you tape a show, the program needs to be in a suitable digital format, of broadcast quality, on DVD without any titles. The format requirements – including presets for popular editing programs and encoders – are available from NCTV. (See #19 below for acceptable formats.) You’ll need to fill out a program request form, which is available on this web site. If you want to do a series (as opposed to just showing a one-time event), it is best to come to one of our monthly meetings to begin the process.
We have high definition camcorders, tripods, microphones, portable lights, and mixers that trained users can borrow. We have a production truck, so you can produce programs at sporting events and schools. For more complex productions, Cox Cable in Manchester can provide a fully-outfitted mobile studio.
That’s okay, we will teach you how to use our equipment. Additional classes and on-site training may be required in order to use our studio and editing systems.
If you’re interested in the TV business, either as an on-air personality or behind the camera, then NCTV may be a great way to get started. NCTV has had volunteers go on to work for Disney, ESPN, and Hartford-area TV stations. If you’re interested in learning about TV we’d be happy to teach you! You can learn about using cameras, graphic systems, editors, audio mixers, how to do effective lighting, green screen (Chromakey), and more.
Yes. We have many other positions that do not require you to be in front of the camera or know how to do TV production.
NCTV facilities are free to town residents. However, you are responsible for the costs of your own production. Expenses that the producer would be responsible for are typically small, and include items such as batteries and blank DVDs. NCTV is supported by through fund raising activities, Cox Communications, the Town of Newington, government and private grants, and donations from individuals and local civic organizations.
A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to plan shows, coordinate guests and volunteers, and learn the systems to be able to put a show on air. It’s not very hard – and it is rewarding!
No. Anyone can use the facilities as a volunteer. Members provide advice and guidance on station operation, help us with fundraising, and have showed interest in helping others do programs.
The best way is to come to one of our monthly meetings and see the facilities and talk to the volunteers. You can see what we have and learn what opportunities exist. If you want to host or produce a show, then you’ll want to read our program application and talk with us about how to get started. Again, the meeting is a great place to start. If the meeting time doesn’t work for you, send us an email or give us a call and someone will contact you to set up a date.
No. The rules of Community Access television do not permit advertisements for for-profit businesses. However, programs are permitted to acknowledge financial or in-kind support from businesses. Please contact us for more details.
The Scroller is the list of community events that airs when no other program is running. Scroller items must be for non-profit organizations and events. Download our Request for Community Calendar Listing form and submit it via one of the methods listed on the form, such as the website, email, fax, or US mail.
In order for viewers to easily read the announcements, we use a large font on the Scroller. Which means that the amount of text is limited to what we can fit on the screen. We recognize that some organizations, especially ones that work with many different media outlets, may not be able to use our form, but we still ask that you keep our space limitations in mind. As a rule of thumb, we can fit about as much text as will comfortably fit on an index card. If you send a flyer or press release, we may edit it to fit in the space available.
Another option is to electronically submit a whole slide(s) for the Scroller. This can be a great way to assure that your announcement looks the way you want it to, including colors, fonts, logos, etc. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details, including preferred file formats.
We may be experiencing technical difficulties. If the problem persists for more than five minutes, please send us an email (email@example.com). Please be as detailed as possible and include information such as: which channel (14 or 16), when you first noticed the problem, what platform you use to watch NCTV (Cox, U-Verse, online, or via a mobile device).
In addition, if you are watching online or via a mobile device please also tell us what type of device it is, make and model, operating system, and the web browser that you are using, if applicable. This will help us immensely in resolving issues quickly. If you are trying to watch a live show or meeting, or if it’s within an hour before or half hour after a live show, you can also call us at the studio at 860-667-5814 to let us know the issues that you are experiencing.
We have no control over your provider’s service. We simply provide a facility for local residents to produce and show programs. If you have problems with your reception or would like more information about your service, please contact Cox directly at http://www.cox.com/ or Frontier at http://frontier.com.
Yes. If you have Cox in Newington or Frontier/AT&T U-Verse in most of Connecticut, you already get NCTV’s 2 channels, which are on the air 24×7.
- On Cox: NCTV is on channels 14 and 16. As of 2015, all channels on Cox, Including NCTV, require some type of digital cable box, digital mini box, or digital CableCARD device, which you would get from Cox.
- On Frontier/AT&T U-Verse: NCTV’s 2 channels are in the Channel 99 Community Access menu. You’ll need to scroll down to find the listing for Newington.
- Mobile Devices and Set-top Boxes: NCTV’s live streams and pre-recorded content now play on most mobile devices, as well as stand-alone set-top devices such as Roku, Chromecast, AppleTV, and Amazon Fire TV. If you are having trouble watching NCTV with your device, please contact us.
- Other options: Depending on your type of TV and computer, you may be able to connect your TV directly to your computer (perhaps the one you’re using right now) and use the TV as a monitor. For assistance with this, check your computer and/or TV’s instruction manual, a local electronics store, or perhaps a tech-savvy friend. This works for both the live streams and on-demand content above.
Why don’t you have such-and-such show online?
NCTV’s programs come from a variety of sources. Some are made by NCTV volunteers under the auspices of the organization as a whole, like our Memorial Day Parade coverage. We will try to put most of those online.
Other shows are made by third parties at other studios, and are sent to public access stations across the state, country, or even the world. To put these shows on the air–someone from Newington will need to submit them. We generally don’t put these on our website, since many producers put their own shows online themselves.
Some local producers produce shows with cooperation from NCTV (such as using our studio, equipment, or volunteers), and in some cases NCTV may co-produce a show. We will seek permission from the producer to put these shows online, as we have with “Connecticut Conversations”, and “The Kiwanis Hour”. While we plan to digitize our shows archive, this is a lengthy process, and will take time. Some programs that feature children, like the Spelling Bee, also may not be online.
What video format do you use?
We can work with several different video formats. Digital video formats can involve a lot of technical details. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to submit a digital file. Below is a summary, provided for general information purposes.
- Broadcast programs. As of 2015, we currently use either DVDs, or MPEG2 files with similar formatting to DVDs. In the near future, we plan to be use H.264 files as we upgrade to high definition.
- Original recording format. This usually matches the playback format (MPEG2 for SD, H.264 for HD), but at a higher bitrate/quality. We recommend recording and editing in a high quality format, then converting down to the broadcast format as the final step.
- Online. We generally use the H.264 codec. The file format (container) and bit rate (picture quality) may vary, depending on the type of device, which is handled automatically handled automatically, in the “cloud”.
- Pre-recorded segments, aired as part of a live program. Our production equipment requires very specific, specialized formatting, to play seamlessly as part of a live program, such as “Talk to the Mayor” or “Connecticut Conversations”. If you will be appearing on a show, and are bringing a video clip, please contact your show’s producer to load the clip into our system several days before the taping.
- I have a YouTube video. Can NCTV air it? We can not air videos directly from the YouTube website. Please send us a properly formatted, broadcast-quality digital file. In some cases, this may simply be the file that you originally uploaded to YouTube. Contact us for details about preferred digital file formats.
- I have a video in a different format. Can NCTV convert it for me? In general, we can not convert it for you, as that process can be very time consuming. However, we would be happy to show you how to convert it yourself, either at home or on NCTV’s equipment. If you use Adobe or Handbrake, we can send you presets/settings files. For other software, such as iMovie, Final Cut, or Windows Movie Maker, we can talk you through the correct configuration. Please contact us at email@example.com for more details.