An Open Letter to PEG: Tightrope’s Commitment to Open Source Software (OSS)

We have received a number of inquiries about Tightrope’s commitment to open source software, particularly as it relates to the Open Media Project, and also as it relates to our implementation of the ACM’s Community Media Distribution Network. I will answer those questions, and also to tell you about some software of our own that Tightrope has decided to make available as open source software.

As an organization, Tightrope Media Systems has always supported open source software and the tech community. Many developers on Tightrope’s staff contribute to open source projects personally, and as a company we are very active in various user groups and local community tech events. Tightrope also supports the open source efforts of our peers. This not only means that we support open standards in our products like iCal, RSS, and XML Web services, but our team also contributes to OSS projects that benefit the PEG community.

One of these open source projects, FixMpeg, is a perfect example of an OSS project that is available to the entire PEG community. FixMpeg is a simple front end to ffmpeg that will convert the audio format and sample rate in an MPEG 2 file (.mpg) to a broadcast standard file. It was intended to aid the migration of files to the Tightrope Media Systems Cablecast SX Video Servers by converting files with an incorrect audio sample rate to the standard 48kHz, or to convert the consumer based AC3 audio format to MPEG1 layer 2 audio, the broadcast standard used in Tightrope’s Cablecast SX video servers.

FixMpeg also has the ability to process files other than MPEG, such as WMV and most AVI files. It converts the audio in those files as well as fixing problems in the video by scaling to 720 x 480 and converting the frame rate to 29.97. As it converts these files to the ubiquitous MPEG2, the utilities can be used with servers that are restricted to playing out in MPEG2 only.

Tightrope is also proud to announce that DVDImport, formerly closed sourced, has also been made available as an open source tool. DVDImport copies the content, unaltered, from a video DVD to a MPEG2 program stream file. It extracts MPEG2 video from the VOB file, transcodes the audio to MPEG1 Layer 2, and muxes the audio and video back into a single MPEG2 file. This file is compatible with every major video server used in broadcast application, especially PEG.

You can check out FixMpeg, DVDImport and Tightrope’s other open source projects at Feel free to fork, contribute, download and use anything that you find there, even if you don’t have products from our company!

Tightrope is also hard at work on our application in support of the ACM’s Community Media Distribution Network, even though we are very late in this effort. This program will automate the process of uploading and downloading video files that are shared on the ACM’s media server. Our application runs on both Macs and PC’s and will check the quality of video being uploaded to the ACM server, ensuring that it meets the standards before it proceeds. What’s more, in addition to being tightly integrated with Cablecast, it will work with any video server solution or as a standalone application for any producer with an ACM account! This application will also be released as part of out our commitment to open source projects, and will be available at

Tightrope is also extending its Web Service API for Cablecast. Cablecast has always had the most accessible data of any system with RSS, iCal, CSV, HTML, SQL, and XML web service outputs. Customers are using this capability to create tighter integrations with Cablecast than ever before. In support of this effort, we are extending our XML web service beyond reading schedule and show integration so that Cablecast customers will also be able to create shows and producers. This functionality will facilitate integration with Denver Open Media’s Open Media Project allowing Open Media partners to automatically add shows into Cablecast systems and to even schedule Cablecast to record shows directly from their system!

As Tightrope has grown, and has branched out into other areas, it is important to remember that there are fifteen employees at Tightrope that have worked or volunteered consistently at PEG facilities across the country. Access is in our DNA, it remains a passion. We will always look for ways to increase that commitment and to participate in all of the exciting development that is happening in community media!

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