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Commissioners meetings now available on demand

Antietam Cable digital subscribers can watch proceedings at their convenience

August 25, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS

Meetings of the Washington County Commissioners will now be available for Antietam Cable digital subscribers to watch "on demand," county officials announced this week.

Video of the commissioners' Aug. 10 meeting was made available Tuesday afternoon as a test, Antietam Cable President Brian Lynch said. By Monday, it will be replaced with video of the commissioners' Aug. 24 meeting, he said.

In the future, commissioners' meetings will typically be added to the Video On Demand menu within 24 to 36 hours after the meeting, and they will remain available to watch at any time for at least a week, Lynch said.

To view the meetings, subscribers must have Antietam's digital cable, an add-on service that starts at $5.98 per month, Lynch said. He estimated that a little more than half of Antietam Cable subscribers have digital service.

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Those subscribers will find the meetings in the Local Interest section of their Video on Demand menus, he said.

In addition to being available on Antietam Cable, video of the commissioners' meetings will continue to be available on the county's website at http://www.washco-md.net, County Administrator Gregory B. Murray said.

Announcing the on-demand video availability Tuesday, Murray called the news a "big step" for the county and thanked Lynch for making it happen. Televising the meetings has long been discussed as a county goal, Murray said.

Antietam Cable already airs Hagerstown City Council meetings live on a public access channel and rebroadcasts them afterwards.

The length of the commissioners' meetings makes airing them live or rebroadcasting them "a little more problematic" and made the on-demand format a better fit, Lynch said.

The open portion of commissioners' meetings typically lasts three or four hours, not including a lunch break, but sometimes runs more than six hours.

The commissioners meet most Tuesdays in the County Administration Building at 100 W. Washington St. in Hagerstown.

Lynch said recent improvements in the company's ability to store on-demand programming made the addition of the commissioners' meetings possible.

Antietam Cable is making the meetings available on demand at no cost to the county, though preparing the video does require work on the part of the cable company's employees, Murray said.

"We hope it brings more value to our customers ... and expands the overall awareness of what's happening in the county to everyone," Lynch said.

Antietam Cable is owned by Schurz Communications Inc., the parent company of The Herald-Mail.

Meetings on demand



How to access the meetings (Antietam Cable digital subscribers only):

Push the VOD button on the remote control for your digital cable box. On the menu that comes up, select "Local Interest" and push the enter button. Select "County Government" on the bottom right and push enter. Select the meeting you wish to view.

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