There's lots about the programmes that YSTV has made on the YSTV Productions page, but if you sat down and watched YSTV, what would you actually have seen? Wall to wall live student TV? Probably not...
(Based on 1980-83) In the early 1980s YSTV was broadcasting on Channel E of the University's AV Dept's closed cable network. There were monitors in most JCRs and Dining Halls, and one of the tasks of YSTV "staff" was to ensure that all sets were flicked over to Channel E before the lunchtime and evening broadcast times - all B&W of course! The studio in those days (hazy memory of 27 years ago!) was a little room on the left as one entered the Physics building overhanging the lake, above the stepping stones, from the Goodricke end. The kit consisted of a couple of ex-BBC (I think) wheeled-tripod mounted cameras, a portable Betamax VCR (newly acquired), a 1" ?? reel to reel VCR, vision mixer, sound mixer and a number of wired mikes. Some lighting on stands/gantries. There was nothing "automatic" about it in these days - it was mostly live, but some pre-recorded stuff went out provided that someone was around to switch it on! There had been some "policital" problems with YSTV when we arrived in 1980 and, whilst we were not greatly expereienced, we enjoyed keeping it rolling, such as it was. I recall filming Rag Weeks, a Labour Demonstration in Liverpool (two of us had a daytrip and I acted as cameraman whilst they presented!), annual Gilbert and Sullivan Society performances in Central Hall. Betamax tapes were very expensive - we pruchased them from Savilles at about £10 each!
1990s - YSTV acquires satellite subscription. The Sky satellite subscription was originally justified on the basis that one subscription to Sky for YSTV saved the SU from buying it for each JCR.
- 1994 - YSTV introduces automated scheduling allowing channels to be changed over according to student requests. YSTV broadcasts original programmes usually when they are live only, showing programmes from digital satellite and terrestrial stations at other times. Occasional (but rare) repeats of original material are played out "live" from the tape. The Grapevine advertising service was shown for a significant part of each day because of a historic restriction from the University on putting out programmes with sound during lecture hours. Live programmes generally went out in the early evening.
- August 2001 - YSTV upgrades to digital satellite, as Sky were discontinuing the analogue service. By this stage the Sky subscription was becoming hard to justify as most JCRCs had splashed out on their own Sky subscriptions.
- October 2003 - YSTV begins broadcasting from a video server, which allows regular repeats of our own programming under automatic control. This is interspersed with digital satellite programming.
- May 2004 - digital satellite simulcasts cease, analogue simulcasts continue for a short while, partly due to the Sky box decaying, partly due to increasing amounts of original programming being available to screen.
- October 2004 - YSTV begins streaming on university SNS (Student Network Service) computer system, enabling viewing in every student bedroom on campus. Simulcasts of all outside material cease, except for occasional campus-only opt outs for big events such as the General Election and the Eurovision Song Contest. At the same time the website opens a "Watch Again" section where previous programmes can be viewed on demand. Unlike the web stream these can viewed anywhere in the world.
- January 2006 - the web stream is accessible to anyone in the world, with the launch marked by a live four hour special Webstream Launch show. This means all content has to be copyright-safe, and so all simulcasts become impossible unless manually sent to campus only.