Stonegate Fellowship Simulcasts High-Quality Video to Second Campus Reliably and Cost-Effectively, Using Advanced All-IP Solution Designed by DigitalGlue

 

The Challenge

Controlling both operating and capital expenses is important for any house of worship, but it can be especially challenging for larger churches that are faced with rapid growth and a need to serve a geographically disperse congregation. One house of worship that recently tackled this challenge is Stonegate Fellowship, based in Midland, Texas. In 2013, the church opened a satellite campus in the nearby town of Odessa to serve as many as 500 worshipers who had been making the 20-mile trip to Midland for services.

In expanding to another campus, it was critical that Stonegate Fellowship have the ability to reach worshippers simultaneously at both locations during Sunday services; in other words, to make the Odessa worshippers feel as much a part of the services as if they were in attendance in Midland. The key was reliable video transmission technology that would enable Stonegate Fellowship to simulcast a live, high-definition broadcast quality of the sermon and worship music for display on a large screen at the Odessa location. But traditionally, securing the bandwidth necessary for high-quality video meant establishing multiple point-to-point private T1s or fractional DS3 connections, or investing in satellite equipment and airtime. Not only were these approaches expensive, but they would often require months to get up and running and involve complex interconnections among local service providers.

 

The Solution

Instead, Stonegate Fellowship turned to a non-traditional option: the Internet. The church engaged with DigitalGlue to develop a system for simulcasting live, broadcast-quality video and audio to the Odessa campus over an IP network, with advanced encoding technologies providing seamless and error-free transmissions at a fraction of the cost of more traditional technologies. To meet Stonegate Fellowship’s requirements, DigitalGlue designed an IP-based workflow incorporating Harmonic encoding/decoding equipment and the VideoFlow Fortress Digital Video Protection (DVP) solution.

At Stonegate Fellowship’s main Midland campus, a Harmonic Ellipse® 3100 contribution encoder receives the camera feeds and encodes them into MPEG 4 AVC High Definition video for distribution over the open Internet. A VideoFlow Fortress DVP system guards the transmission against artifacts, packet loss, and jitter that often result from streaming over the Open Internet. At the Odessa location, another VideoFlow Fortress receives the stream and passes it to a Harmonic ProView 8130 integrated receiver decoder with IP input and HD decode, which decodes the video and outputs it to SDI for projection to the audience.

With this system in place, Stonegate is discussing the possibility of installing cameras at the Odessa campus. These would provide video of the audience for transmission back to Midland, giving both audiences a feeling of unity during the worship service.

“With the IP solution designed and installed by DigitalGlue, we have been able to bring our congregations at both campuses together for a unified and joyful worship experience, and at a much lower cost than traditional approaches,” said Tyler Dodds, worship pastor, Stonegate Fellowship. “The IP-based system has enabled us to meet our goals without the monthly operational costs of leased lines or the high capital costs associated with satellite transmissions.”

 

The Takeaway

The emergence of IP solutions is a game-changer for multi-campus churches like Stonegate Fellowship, enabling them to leverage lower-cost Internet-based transmission to deliver a high-quality HD video experience to remote worshippers. For more information about how DigitalGlue can help your house of worship, contact sales@digitalglue.com.

 

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About DigitalGlue

DigitalGlue provides equipment, integration, and software development for the production and distribution of digital video. The company analyzes clients’ workflows to build optimized solutions for collaborate editing, automation, media asset management, storage, and archiving. From contribution to distribution, the DigitalGlue team works with customers to efficiently deliver their programming over fiber, cable, satellite, IPTV, and OTT.
 
DigitalGlue designs, integrates, and supports systems based on today’s needs, yet draw from years of real-world experience to engineer a technology path for tomorrow.
 
More information is available at www.digitalglue.com.