SnapStream Blog

What’s New in SnapStream 8.3

August 31 2017 by Aaron Thompson

SnapStream 8.3 adds RTMP Capture, Faster Searching and Reindexing, Brightcove and Vimeo Export, Improved Watermarking, Video-embedded Timecodes and more. We'll be walking through the new software during a webinar on Wednesday, September 13th at 2pm CDTCheck the new additions and improvements we've made:


A few of the highlights:

  • RTMP Capture
  • Faster TV Search and Reindex
  • Export To Vimeo and Brightcove
  • Improved Watermarking
  • Timecode Burn-in

Read more

What’s New in SnapStream 8.2

May 30 2017 by Aaron Thompson

SnapStream 8.2 is here with some cool new features including a Zoomable Trackbar, watermarking social posts and new social stats. We'll be walking through the new software during a webinar on Tuesday, June 6th at 2pmCheck the new additions and improvements we've made:


A few of the highlights:

  • Automatic Channel Changing (SnapStream Encoder)
  • Zoomable Trackbar Delivers More Precise Clipping
  • Near Frame Accurate Clipping of Live TV
  • Watermark Social Posts
  • Facebook and Twitter Improvements
  • More Export Options

Read more

What’s New in SnapStream 8.1

February 03 2017 by Sara Howard

SnapStream 8.1 is here with some awesome new features and serious performance improvements. We'll be walking through the new software during a webinar on Tuesday, February 7th at 2pmCheck the new additions and improvements we've made:

8.1 whats new.png

A few of the highlights:

  • Improved YouTube integration
  • Social admin permissions
  • Performance improvements
  • Live TV is back (and better than ever)
  • SnapStream TV Set-Top Box support

Read more

Keyboard Shortcuts for Clipping and Watching TV

January 20 2017 by Eric Cohn

SnapStream makes it easy to quickly grab a segment from live or recorded TV. While you can easily click on the captions or on the SnapStream progress bar to jump to a point in the recording, we wanted to provide our power-users with an even quicker method to effortlessly review a recording and create clips. 

With SnapStream's Keyboard Shortcuts you can use your keyboard to move rapidly through your recordings, create clips, adjust your start and end-points and much more.



SnapStream Advanced: Timecoded Tags

November 17 2016 by Eric Cohn

Timecoded tags reference specific moments during a recording. Using timecoded tags, you can identify and tag visual cues, non-verbal content and other important information that might not show up in the closed captioning or program guide data of your recording. Timecoded tags can be helpful in identifying and reviewing similar moments from different recordings.

Need to find each time a character makes a silly face? A time-coded tag called "silly face" would help you catalog and search on these specific moments in your library. It's simple to create and search for timecoded tags in SnapStream. Find out how below:

 Timecoded Tags



1. To create a time-coded tag, right-click (Ctrl+Click on a Mac) in the playback bar or click the clip0060.jpg button. You will be prompted to select a name for the tag or choose a pre-existing playlist. The time-coded tag will show as a blue line on your playback bar. To create a timecoded range tag, set a clip start and end point before clicking the "Timecoded Tag" button




2. Choose an existing tag from the dropdown menu or type a new tag. Click “Add” to finalize the tagging.




3. Timecoded tags are visible in the progress bar as a tag icon and blue line. Click on any tag to take you to the moment tagged.




4. Tags are indexed by SnapStream. Timecoded tags will appear in all search results organically, but you can also tailor your search to tagged terms only by using the search filter “TAG:”

New release! SnapStream 5.4

December 08 2011 by Rachel Abbott
What's new in SnapStream 5.4
Freshly baked by our little software elves, SnapStream 5.4 is ready right in time for the holidays. As always, the upgrade is completely free of charge to current enterprise customers. How's that for a stocking stuffer? Fifth generation SnapStream is chock-full of delightful goodies meant to enhance your TV search experience. First came clustering technology, then the Web Player plug-in and now you get

Upgrade to 5.4
  Advanced ShowSqueeze Rules New!
Advanced ShowSqueeze Rules
  • Set up custom rules for post-processing tasks at the job level
  • Use the easy drag-and-drop rule builder
  • Replace your global ShowSqueeze settings
  • Specify destination folders for specific types of completed tasks
  • Reduce file sizes to triple available storage
  • Optimize video formats for e-mail, iPads, iPhones, and more!
  Explore ShowSqueeze
Exclude Time From 24/7 Blocks New!
  • Exclude chunks of time from 24/7 recording blocks
  • Prevent recording of unwanted content
  • Save storage space by reducing clutter
  • For example, you may want to exclude infomercials that typically air from midnight to 5 a.m.
Exclude time from 24/7 recordings
Explore TV Recording
  Faster Guide Updates New!
Faster guide updates
  • Program guide updates occur up to 80% faster thanks to heavy optimization
  • Daily updates occur more frequently and consistently
  • New custom lineup wizard helps produce your own program guide
  • Smart updater removes duplicate shows from multiple TV sources
Folder Security and Permissions  
  • Now restored in the Web interface
  • Grant specific user groups permissions to view/access particular video folders in the library
  • Restrict activities like watching recordings, watching live TV, scheduling recordings and changing settings
  • New user permission category for Create Clips
folder security
SnapStream Version 5 Overview
  • Clustering capabilities allow you to scale up
  • New Web player plug-in delivers TV search in any Web browser
  • Service architecture designed from the ground up to be more robust
  • Nimble Web interface runs on Microsoft IIS Express
  • Enhanced fault tolerance and intelligent error handling
  4.9.3 and below Upgrade to 5.4
on existing hardware
New SnapStream
appliance with 5.4
OS Windows XP Windows XP Windows Server 2008
Web Server SnapStream-built IIS Express IIS
Date Store XML and INI files SQL Server Express SQL Server Express
  Good Better Best!
Why upgrade to 5?
Sounds great! How do we get started?
There are a few criteria to meet before we can begin your upgrade. Contact SnapStream's Support Team to discuss your eligibility and options. E-mail or call 1-877-696-3674 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.

Keep on searching,

The SnapStream Team


Get Your Hands On SnapStream 5.2

May 10 2011 by Rachel Abbott
We are thrilled to announce the availability of SnapStream's fifth generation TV search software for enterprise users! For the first time, eligible SnapStream users can upgrade their 4.x SnapStream appliances. Get the full lowdown here.
What's new in SnapStream 5.2

1. Build a SnapStream Cluster

+ Record and search more TV by adding SD/HD tuners
+ Expand your archive with SnapStream Storage Nodes
+ Save disk space by mass-ShowSqueezing recordings to Windows Media or H.264

⇒ Learn more about expanding your SnapStream solution


2. Benefit from reliability improvements

+ Improved database backend: SQL Server Express instead of INI and XML files
+ Record TV and execute tasks with greater fault tolerance
- Recordings and post-processing tasks are dispatched across nodes with more intelligent error handling
+ Service architecture designed from the ground up to be more robust
- For example, you will receive a notification e-mail if any individual tuner goes offline
and each tuner will automatically be reallocated to match your recording priorities

3. Stronger foundation for the future

+ New web interface runs on Microsoft IIS Express and is simpler, more nimble, and more intuitive
+ Improved logging enables you to easily search your logs to isolate user activity and resolve problems
+ "Round-robin" file distribution makes more efficient use of disk space

⇒ Read the complete SnapStream 5.2 Release Notes

Am I eligible for this upgrade?

It depends on several factors:
• You must be within a current and fully-paid service contract.
• Your SnapStream Server must meet the hardware qualifications—SnapStream Servers on a first generation platform, with varied drive configurations, or less than 4GB RAM will not qualify up front, but hardware upgrades can be made on a case-by-case basis.
• Contact us by phone at 1-877-696-3674 or at to confirm if you're eligible.

Why should I upgrade?

Best reasons for you to upgrade now:
• You want to simplify the task of managing multiple SnapStream Servers by combining them into a single SnapStream Cluster.
• There's a bug fix in 5.2 that solves a problem you've been encountering. Reference the full
5.2 release notes.
• You seek to expand the number of TV channels you record, the amount of storage available or the amount of ShowSqueezing you do. Learn more about clustering.

How do I upgrade?

If you're running 4.x, the upgrade to 5.2 will be a hands-on process with our support team. After prep, the entire upgrade procedure can involve up to a day of downtime. Additional SnapStream equipment may be recommended or even required.
If you're already on 5.x, the upgrade process is relatively easy. Contact our support team for upgrade instructions.

OK, I'm interested in upgrading!

Contact our support team to discuss your eligibility, benefits and upgrade strategy. SnapStream technical support representatives are available Monday - Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST by phone at 1-877-696-3674 or e-mail at

Modulating your own unencrypted QAM (aka how to record/search high-definition TV)

February 22 2010 by Rakesh

Updated 11/3/2017: added new information about creating a Digital TV head-end in the cloud

Updated 10/18/2011: added information on Drake's HDMI to QAM / HD encoder products-- the DSE24 and the HDE24.

comparing high-definition television and standard definition television

At the end of last year, I wrote a blog posting about how to create your own analog TV headend. Today, I'm going to talk about how to do accomplish the same thing, but with digital, high-definition television.

Standard-definition analog TV is fine for some media monitoring and TV recording scenarios. But in other scenarios you might want to record TV shows in the highest quality possible.

Maybe you produce a TV show, like The Soup or , the Daily Show/Colbert Report and when you include a TV clip inside your show, you want it to show up at the highest quality possible.

Or maybe you're a non-profit that wants to showcase your media mentions on television at the highest possible quality to donors.

For scenarios such as these, you want to record television in high-definition and be able to search within those recordings in high-definition as well.

There are a couple of ways to make HD recordings and be able to search within them:

New - How to create your own digital (IP) TV head-end in the Cloud

Recording ATSC

ATSC is the standard by which digital TV is transmitted over-the-air in the United States. It's transmitted without encryption, so recording and searching TV broadcast over ATSC is pretty easy. Just get and install an antenna for your physical location and connect the output from that antenna to your SnapStream TV search appliance (note: it has to be one of our HD-capable appliances) and just use SnapStream as you would with any other TV source... we have full program guide data for ATSC signals in the United States and parts of Canada and using ATSC with SnapStream is really straightforward.

But what if you want to record something in high-definition that's not available over the air? What if you want to record something like ESPN HD or CNN HD or MSNBC HD?

Well, then you'll need to build your own QAM headend. What's that? Read on...

Building your own unencrypted QAM headend

To make high-definition (HD) recordings of channels that aren't available over-the-air (OTA), you'll need to build your own unencrypted QAM head-end. Unencrypted QAM, like ATSC, is something that SnapStream's HD TV search appliance can take as an input and record from.

Building your own unencrypted QAM head-end is pretty similar to building an analog TV headend. You follow the same basic steps:

1) get your TV sources
2) modulate each source to QAM
3) combine the modulated channels into one feed!

So for step 1, you'll simply get your high-definition TV source from whatever provider you choose -- this might be from a digital cable provider (like Comcast or Time Warner Cable) or from a satellite service (DirecTV or DISH). For each channel you want to modulate, you'll need a single receiver (or set-top box). And each of these receivers need to be capable of high-definition TV. You should also choose a receiver that can output HDMI or component while also outputting analog composite or s-video. The analog composite or s-video is how, in most cases, you'll be able to access the closed-captioning for searching with SnapStream.

Then for step 2 (modulating each source to QAM), we recommend using a simple one-box QAM modulation solution. There are three such solutions that we know of on the market today, and we've heard of a bunch more that are coming -- there seems to be a rising demand for one-box QAM modulation solutions. More on this below.

Then in step 3, you would simply combine all of these signals together using a combiner, much as we described in our article on how to build an analog headend.

The one-box QAM modulation devices (ie what you need for step 2) that are a) shipping today, b) that we've tested in the lab here at SnapStream, are:

Blonder Tongue's HDE-QAM: This is a pretty simple box that takes in HDMI, modulates its audio and video to unencrypted QAM, and outputs it via coax. The HDE-QAM also has an ethernet port for accessing it's web-based settings page where you can configure the channel/sub-channel to which it modulates and the quality (bit-rate) at which the encoding happens. Images of the front and the back of the Blonder Tongue HDE-QAM:

Blonder Tongue HDE QAM - Front image

Blonder Tongue HDE QAM - back image

The Blonder Tongue HDE-QAM appears to have been around the longest amount of time -- we learned about it in March of 2009. The list price for the Blonder Tongue HDE-QAM is $10,000 (we expect this to come down). More information on the HDE-QAM can be found on Blonder Tongue's website.

Adtec's HDMI-2-QAM: The Adtec HDMI-2-QAM is less expensive than the Blonder Tongue AND has more features. Like the Blonder Tongue HDE-QAM, the Adtec takes in HDMI, but it can handle two channels in its 1U chassis. So it takes two HDMI inputs and modulates both of those to a single QAM channel, each on its own sub-channel. It also is supposed to have support for passing closed-captioning through (which the Blonder Tongue unit does not have support for), though at the time of writing this blog posting, this was still being worked on and should be fully enabled in a soon-to-be-released firmware update. One important note: the Adtec HDMI-2-QAM will not allow you to modulate a source HDMI signal that has HDCP copy protection enabled (the Blonder Tongue does).

Images of the front and back of the Adtec HDMI to QAM (click the front and back panel for larger images):

The Adtec HDMI-2-QAM first began shipping in November and it's just now beginning to ramp up to production quantities. The list price on the Adtec HDMI-2-QAM is $7500, making it a price-attractive option at $3750 per channel.

Contemporary Research's QMOD-HD: Finally, there's the QMOD-HD from Contemporary Research. Instead of HDMI (which both the Blonder Tongue and Adtec products use), the Contemporary Research QMOD-HD takes in video via a composite high-definition signal (Y-Pb-PR cables) and audio via an optical audio input or analog audio composite (left and right) inputs. And then it modulates that audio and video to QAM. One unit of the QMOD-HD handles a single channel. The advantage to using composite inputs is that the QMOD-HD doesn't have to worry about handling HDCP encryption that might be present on the HDMI signal. The QMOD-HD does not have any support for passing closed-captioning data.

Here are images of the front and back of the Contemporary Research QMOD-HD:

Contemporary Research's QMOD-HD - front

Contemporary Research's QMOD-HD - back

This is the newest one-box QAM modulation solution that we've come across -- it started shipping in quantity last week (Feb 2010). The list price for one unit of the CR QMOD-HD is $2450, making it the least expensive per channel of the three options we've listed here.

Drake's HDE24+MEQ-1000 and Drake DSE24 products (new!): While we haven't fully tested and reviewed them yet, we recently discovered Drake's DSE24 and HDE24 products. Read preliminary information here. (Updated 7/26/2011)

Have any questions about building your own QAM headend for the purposes of recording and searching high-definition television? Drop us an e-mail at

How to create your own (analog) cable TV head-end

December 17 2009 by Rakesh

Pasted image at 2017_10_31 03_34 PM.png

Updated 11/03/2017: added new information on creating a TV headend in the Cloud.

Based out of Houston, SnapStream has been making TV distribution and recording products for over a decade.

TV Networks, TV Shows, Media/News sites , K-12 Schools, Government departments, Journalism colleges and dozens of local TV stations use SnapStream to distribute, record, search, clip and to post clips to Twitter/Facebook.

While most organizations are now looking to create their own digital TV head-end, there are still some who want to go the analog route. This article is for those customers.

New - How to create your own digital (IP) TV head-end in the Cloud

Why build my own cable head-end?

First of all, why would you want to build a cable head-end? Why not just take the regular cable signal from your cable provider and distribute that over RF around your organization? Well, for a lot of people “regular” cable (ie what you get without any kind of a receiver or set-top box) doesn’t include channels that are important to them. Regular cable might not include certain sports packages – like NFL Sunday Ticket or NBA League Pass on DirecTV – or other channels.

For example, say CSPAN is important to you. Well, here in Houston, TX, our local cable provider (Comcast) has been moving channels from the “analog” spectrum into the digital only spectrum and CSPAN has been one of the channels that’s been moved. So the only way to get CPSAN in Houston on Comcast is using a digital cable box (or a DTA – digital to analog – box). And if you want to distribute that channel around to various TVs in your office without a digital cable box at every TV, then you look at building your own regular cable head-end!

Another reason why you might want to modulate your own cable line-up is you might want to include non-TV channels on your cable line-up. For example, maybe you have a few security cameras that you want to modulate to certain channels on your cable system.

How do I build my own cable head-end?

So how do you create your own cable head-end? It’s surprisingly easy. Here’s a high-level overview of what your system will look like:

1. Your TV source is usually going to be either satellite (here in the US that means DirecTV or Dish) or digital cable. Depending on how many channels you’re modulating (‘n’ in the above diagram), you’ll need a corresponding number of receivers or set-top boxes from your provider. And if you’re using a satellite service like DirecTV, you’ll need a multi-port switch to drive all of those set-top boxes off of one satellite dish. A multi-port switch is a sort of splitter for satellite service.

2. Each set-top box is set to a particular channel on that TV source. Then that set-top box connects to it’s corresponding modulator via RCA video and audio cables. Generally speaking, analog modulators come in two varieties:

  • "Channelized" modulators – this kind of modulator is hard-wired to modulate the audio/video passed into them to a particular channel # (ie to a particular frequency of the RF spectrum). You can’t change the channel number that it outputs on-the-fly.
  • "Agile" modulators – with an Agile modulator, you can configure, on the fly, what channel you want it to output on. This provides more flexibility with the channels you can output on, but with some sacrifice of quality. Agile modulators are also more expensive (roughly twice as expensive) than "Channelized" modulators.

The typical recommendation, as I’ve heard it, is that most of your modulators can be “channelized” and then maybe you add a few “agile” modulators in case you need to modulate to some random channels later down the line.

3. And then each of the modulators connects to the combiner via RF and the combiner mashes all the channels together into one RF signal. There are two types of combiners – ones with amplifiers built-in (“active combiners”) and ones without amplifiers (“passive combiners”). Depending on how you’re distributing RF (the next step), an “active” combiner might save you the need for a dedicated RF amplifier on the output of the combiner.

4. Last but not least, you need to distribute your new cable signal throughout your organization. Designing an RF distribution system is a separate topic unto itself (discussion of splitters and taps, signal loss of distance, etc.), but for simple configurations, you just need to amplify the signal at the exit to the combiner. How much you need to amplify it depends on how many ways you’re splitting it and how long the distances are in your RF network.

If you’re doing all of this so you can record TV and search over it with SnapStream, your SnapStream Server is 100% compatible with your new custom cable line-up. We have the ability to create custom line-ups so your program guide in SnapStream exactly matches how you have your channels configured.

Ballpark Pricing

You’ll need to contact a vendor or distributor of this equipment, but our quick calculations had the per channel cost of the modulators and combiners (EXCLUDING the cost of any multi-port switch, receivers, and RF distribution stuff), if you’re using “channelized” (ie “fixed”) modulators, come out to $150 / channel. And if you’re going with “agile” modulators, then the cost might go up to something like $250 / channel. Now this is just eyeball pricing.

Ok now I have my own lineup, how can I record it?

If you are like most of our customers and want to record TV for strategic purposes SnapStream can help. Our appliance lets you record any TV feed (antenna, cable, satellite, IP or inhouse analog/digital feeds) on a centralized DVR. Once recorded we index all the closed captions making it possible for users to search inside shows. And once you've found what you are looking for there are easy tools tocreate a clip and then download it or to post it to Twitter/Facebook.



That's it... Thanks to my friends at Blonder Tongue for their help in putting this together. And if you're reading this and want to be able to record LOTS of TV and then search inside those TV shows, let us know. That's what our product, SnapStream, is all about!



Win a Year of Free Maintenance!

November 12 2009 by Rebecca


Those VCRs collecting dust around your office are so 20th century — and we know you've been dying to upgrade. So we've created a cost-effective means for you to update your media-monitoring technology, and we're offering you a chance to win an extra 12 months of free service to boot.

How? Just purchase a SnapStream Server through our new "Switch and Save" program, and we’ll automatically give you a year of maintenance for free (a $1,200 to $3,000 value). Then, once you've installed your new gear, send us a picture of how you and your staff have cleverly dismantled and responsibly disposed of your obsolete systems.* We'll post the images of your handiwork alongside that of others on our Web site. Be as creative as you can, because we'll bestow an additional year of free maintenance upon whoever sends us the best shot.

What's more: Because the SnapStream Server can shorten the task of media monitoring to mere seconds, your organization will save additional time and money. Our digital technology lets you and your colleagues record thousands of hours of television to a centralized appliance, and then locate specific clips by topic, using closed captioning for search. You can copy any relevant video to your PC’s hard drive. It’s that quick and easy!

So, what are you waiting for? Click here to get more information about "Switch and Save" and the SnapStream Server.

*Please recycle. Or ship the parts to us, and we’ll recycle them for you.

What is SnapStream? There's an unlimited amount of video content out there: 24/7 news channels, breaking news events, sports, talk shows, awards galas, entertainment shows, and so much more.

SnapStream makes a real-time news and media search engine that makes it fast and easy to find the video moments that support our customers telling great stories.

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