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Our History

A Brief Description

On February 3, 1986, MCPS-TV had its first cablecast with only four hours of programming. Through the years, we have increased our technical and creative know-how. Broadcasting on two Comcast Cable Channels in Montgomery County, MCPS-TV produces or airs more than 40 hours of programming a day. First developed as an internal training facility called "TV Services," the department evolved into Cable TV in 1985 and later became MCPS Instructional TV in 1994. In July 2010, MCPS Instructional TV was shortened to MCPS-TV.  Today MCPSTV provides programs to more than 220,000 homes and all 194 schools in Montgomery County.

A Brief Timeline

1969 TV Services founded. Black and white only. Didn't switch to a full-color NTSC facility until the mid 70s.
1978 We changed from 1" reel-to-reel analog videotape format to ¾" U-Matic analog format.
1985 We added satellite downlink facilities to record programs from all over the world. Graphics changed to become all electronic. Originally graphics were produced by hand by the graphics department and shot with a camera.
1986 On Feb. 3, MCPS-TV went on the air for cable TV with the first program. Only aired four hours a day on one channel.
1988 We acquired a second channel from the Montgomery County government.
1991 Studio and field cameras changed from pickup-tube based to CCD-based (charge-coupled device/solid state).
1993 We began with a DOS-based computer and green monochrome screen at our desks.
1997 Editing made a major change from tape-based linear (machine-to-machine) to computer-based nonlinear.
1999 Playback of programs changed from old ¾" U-matic analog tape to a robotic DVCPro digital tape-based system and will soon change partially to a digital playout server later this summer in 2003. We now transmit our programs on the air to Comcast Cable via fiber optic cable on Channels 33 and 34; previously we transmitted using RF coax on Channels 52 and 60.
2001 We now had better computers and began streaming MCPS TV programs from the web.
2002 Now using third-generation CCD cameras. We have DVD record and playback capabilities. This is useful for archiving programs and providing opportunities in the immediate future for DVD authoring of programs.
2004 Media storage and archiving, previously tape-based, migrated to a digital server.
2005 Adds additional state-of-the-art Final Cut Pro Editing Suites. Creates a family friendly, Saturday children’s line-up of programs called MCPS Kids!
2006 Technological and creative improvements in our studio and control room allow us to create award winning TV programs for Montgomery County Public Schools.
2009 Launched the MCPS-TV YouTube channel, making MCPS news, updates, events and programs, as well as Montgomery County Board of Education hearings and meetings available for on-demand streaming.
2010 As part of departmental reorganization and budget concerns, Channel 33 became dedicated to airing Classic Arts Showcase 24 hours a day.  All programming was moved to Channel 34, and MCPS Instructional TV was renamed to MCPS-TV.