Moriah testing television equipment

PORT HENRY - Moriah officials have agreed to a 30-day experiment that may improve the community's public access television channel.

The town board has given its approval to install new digital equipment and a computerized announcement board that will improve the channel and allow greater flexibility in programming.

The TV test is scheduled during the month of March.

If community members aren't impressed, the equipment will be returned after 30 days. If the improvements are appreciated, the equipment will stay and the town will pay $6,350.

The money, if spent, will come from the town's cable franchise agreement with Time Warner Cable, emphasized trustee Tom Anderson, 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.

Kim Harvish, who oversees Channel 17 for Moriah Central School, said new equipment is badly needed.

"The (existing) equipment is very old and is always breaking down," Harvish said.

The current Moriah TV equipment is not digital, which means programming such as local town board meetings, must be converted to VHS tape before it can be shown.

"It's very time consuming," Harvish said, "and it's not a very good learning tool for students, this isn't the equipment used in the real world. It would be nice if students could learn the right way to do things."

Harvish said she contacted the Middlebury, Vt., public access channel to see about its equipment. Officials there strongly recommended moving to digital technology, she said.

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