PORT HENRY - Moriah's public access television channel has made major improvements thanks to new equipment.
In March the town approved a 30-day trial of digital technology. After getting a positive report on the experiment, the board approved the $6,350 equipment purchase recently.
The new technology has been a great benefit to the channel, which is operated by Moriah Central School, but has come with frustrations, explained Emmett Hoops, school technology coordinator.
"The equipment itself is excellent," he said. "I have a much lower opinion of their technical support. They're not used to dealing with someone from the stone age. Our point of reference was far away from their expertise."
Kim Harvish, who oversees Channel 17 for Moriah Central School, said the new equipment is good - but is a big change.
"I've been frustrated," she said. "We've gone from VHS tapes to a totally different animal."
Hoops and Harvish agreed, though, the new equipment is a major improvement for the local channel.
The new system allows for a schedule of programming, better quality of picture and sound, immediate access from a remote location in the event of a school or town emergency and an improved and updated message board. The channel is also now in sync with the school website, Hoops said.
The major problem is converting VHS tape to a digital format, Harvish said. The school is investigating the purchase of a digital camera that would eliminate that problem, she said.
The money for the new equipment will come from the town's cable franchise agreement with Time Warner Cable, emphasized Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava, not from taxpayers.
The community access channel, Channel 17 in Moriah, is provided by Time Warner as an outlet for community information. The channel is operated by Moriah Central School for the town.
Town board meetings, community and school events, and public announcements are shown on the channel.