Case Study: Pleasantville Public Access TV (http://www.pctv76.org)
Goal: To build a scalable website for a local TV station and provide both live video streams and a video on demand library that is easy and quick to maintain.
Palace-Designs was hired in conjunction with designer Ashley Kennedy to build a robust and scalable media delivery system for both live and on demand content. Flash mp4 (h.264) video format was the chosen medium for the content due to its market penetration and platform independence.
The media itself is hosted via Amazon S3 since cloud storage (though slightly more expensive) would provide scalability and the least restrictions in regards to capacity. Since the site can receive anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousands visits per day, we chose a provider that could handle a large number of users watching video simultaneously without any resource limitations or constraints.
The site was built primarily in PHP, utilizing a MySQL database back-end. Both a front-end and back-end were built for the site which enabled the station manager to easily modify, disable or delete content on the fly, giving the website a dynamic and fresh feeling.
Other components of the system that were developed include a C# program to easily batch-upload video content directly from any PCTV computer and simultaneously add the meta-data to the database while also generating different sized thumbnails and uploading all of the content to Amazon S3.
Above are screenshots from the both the front-end and back-end of the site.
The features of the sites’ front-end include:
- Latest Episodes
- Most Watched Episodes
- Listings of all Producers
- Listings of all Series
- Listing of Series by Category
- Ability to have series agnostic episodes (Specials)
- AJAX Dynamic Searching
- Dynamic Scrolling News Ticker
- Front Page News Items
- Inline Paypal Donations on Video Windows
- Dynamic Schedule Information
- Live Streaming Video
- Contact Forms
- Mailing List Subscriptions
From the back-end, you can manage the front-end content. Some of the features available are:
- Category Management
- Producer Management
- Series, Episodes & Specials Management
- View recently uploaded content
- Ability to easily hide or show episode & specials for general consumption
- Edit schedules
- News and Ticker Management
- Mailing List Manager including sending messages/schedules to the entire list
- Site Statistics