New to Cablecast - What items do I need?

January 4, 2021

Want to get a Cablecast system? Great! Though, there are so many different models and things to consider, help! No problem, lets help you understand a little better.

The best way to know exactly what you need is talking to our sales team, you can do this by calling 866-866-4118, or emailing We'd be happy to hear what you're looking to achieve and help you spec out a system & do a demo catered to your use-case. However, this guide should help you get a quick understanding of how everything works together and what the items do.

This article will serve primarily to help answer frequently asked questions.

Automation Server

The heart of a Cablecast system is the "Automation" server.

Different automation server sizes

Our automation servers come in three different flavors:

The VIO Lite and VIO 2 both have 2 i/o. This means you can set those up in any way you want... 2 outputs... 1 output / 1 input... etc. These "spigots" are HD-SDI ports on the backside of the system.

The VIO 4 has expanded I/O, allowing you to do the same thing but with 4 I/O on the backside.

So if you operate 3 unique channels of content, you'd probably want a VIO 4 so you have enough I/O. You'd have one extra that could be used as a input.

What does a "input" do on a Cablecast System?

A input on a server can act as a pass-through for live events so you can record/encode them in real time. Think of this like a DVR. For example, your server can record a City Council meeting live to the server, then turnaround and broadcast it after without fumbling with thumb-drives, DVDs or any other means of transferring.

Whats the difference between the VIO Lite and VIO 2?

The VIO Lite is the "budget" system for a station that has a tight budget and wants automation. Its just as good as the VIO 2 and has the same software features, though there are some corners cut to help bring the cost down:

  • The VIO Lite has less storage (8tb) and cannot be upgraded
  • The VIO Lite has no RAID content storage.
  • The VIO Lite has 1 power supply (The VIO 2 has two PSU's for redundancy)

How can I get more storage on a VIO 2 & VIO 4?

The best solution would be purchasing a expanded content drive at your original time of purchase. There are 20TB and 40TB upgrade options. These storage upgrade options are available for the Cablecast VOD 450 as well.

Web Video

We have some options for adding web based video as well! Here are some FAQ options for helping you choose what you need:

I want to mirror my channels live to the web

If you want to mirror what you're broadcasting to your cable channels, you'll need a Cablecast Live 350 per channel you want to stream to the web. This will require a video router and a HD-SDI feed sent to the Live 350 and internet connectivity.

This will allow your viewers to basically have your cable presence online, allowing them to watch what you're broadcasting out live.

I want my videos to be available on-demand

If you want your viewers to watch what they want, when they want, you'll want a Cablecast Video On-Demand server. This comes in two flavors:

This will sit on your network and store VOD content locally on itself from your Broadcast server. You can enable specifically which programs are available on-demand.

I want cloud CDN streaming

If you want to take some of the bandwidth strain off your network when it comes to streaming, you'll want our Cablecast Reflect service. This is available for Livestreaming, Video On-demand, or both.

Usage of the Reflect service still requires you to have the appropriate hardware to do so. (Livestreaming requires Live350. VOD Streaming requires VOD hardware, etc).

I want OTT Support (Apple TV™ and Roku)

This is called Cablecast Screenweave. To stream to Apple TV™ and Roku devices, you'll need:

  • Active Reflect Service
  • Appropriate hardware (Live350, VOD, etc)

I don't have a cable channel, only a online presence

Some stations are going away from having a Cable channel and just doing online only streaming. If this is the case for you, our system supports this. If you still want to schedule content to play out and stream events when they're live (City Council, School Board, etc), you'll still want to buy a Automation server.

If you don't want to schedule content but just want a video platform for people to watch what they want, when they want, Our VOD systems support running standalone without a Automation server.

Bulletin Board

The bulletin-board is what plays between your shows.

Do I need a bulletin-board?

Not all stations use a bulletin-board, but a lot do. The benefits of a bulletin-board:

  • Great for getting announcements out
  • Show local weather
  • Show local traffic cameras
  • Display what is playing next / when to watch what just played again
  • Play short PSAs

The bulletin-board will automatically display for you during gaps of content. If you choose not to use a bulletin-board, you'll have to fill your gaps with PSA content with the gap-fill feature, or schedule all your slots back to back with shows.

Embedded bulletin board option

With the VIO servers, you're able to playout the bulletin-board from the automation server itself. This means no longer do you need a standalone unit for the playout of bulletin-board content.

When purchasing a automation server (VIO), you'll just need to purchase a bulletin-board CG license per bulletin-board channel you want to broadcast.

Separate bulletin-board

You don't need to have your bulletin-board embedded on your VIO server. If you prefer to have it as a different unit, this is entirely possible. Check out our Cablecast VIO Lite - CG Server.

Bulletin-board with third-party automation systems

Dont have a cablecast system, but love our bulletin-board software? No problem! Our Cablecast VIO Lite - CG Server works with most third-party automation systems.