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Upgraded equipment allows Riverhead to improve broadcast of meetings

You can now go on Riverhead Town’s website and watch a two-hour documentary about the town’s 175th anniversary, filmed in 1967, complete with interviews — in color — with local residents and officials from the time, and footage of what downtown and other parts of Riverhead looked like then.

Or, you can specifically watch 77-year-old Riverhead resident Harriet Haas singing patriotic songs at the beginning of the June 6 Town Board meeting, as she does once a month.

And while Town Board meetings have not been shown live yet, the town will have the ability to live-stream video over its website, officials said.

The upgrade in equipment, which was previously limited to a single camera filming town government meetings, is the result of a franchise agreement the town signed last year with Cablevision. The town received more than $100,000 worth of new video and broadcasting equipment.

The Town Board’s meetings, along with planning and zoning board meetings, had previously aired on channel 22, Cablevision’s government channel, and usually ran on a loop. Residents had often complained about the audio quality of those videos, as well as the time it took to get new meetings to air.

Now, while the meetings will still be on channel 22, they also can be seen on the town website, and viewers can skip to a specific part of the meeting while avoiding the rest, according to Deputy Supervisor Larry Levy, who has overseen the upgrade.

There are now three wall-mounted cameras, providing different angels, that are controlled from a new booth in the back of the Town Hall meeting room, instead of the single camera that used to be operated by either a Cablevision or town employee.

The website won’t just be used for town meetings, as other types of content, such as the video of the 175th anniversary or the Business Improvement District’s plan to film short videos about various businesses in downtown Riverhead, Mr. Levy said. Additional content will be available in the future, he said.

“Everybody loves the 175th anniversary film that you have on there,” Councilman John Dunleavy said. “I get compliments about that all the time.”

Supervisor Sean Walter said the live-streaming could come in handy in the event of an emergency, where the town could immediately get information out to residents over the website.

Photo caption: A screenshot of the Riverhead Town website.

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