Weather Star Jr
|Weather Star Jr|
|Hardware:||Wegener 2450 (TMS34010 at 40MHz)|
|Status:||Retired – Decommissioned by The Weather Channel on June 26, 2014.|
The Weather Star Jr was one of many versions of the technology developed for The Weather Channel by Wegener Communications in Duluth, Georgia. On June 26, 2014, The Weather Channel discontinued broadcasting its analog satellite feed. The WeatherStar Jr, WeatherStar 4000, and WeatherStar XL were retired as a result of the shutdown.
The Jr's concept
The Weather Star Jr. was based on Wegener's Series 2450 graphics display platform. This embedded system utilized a TMS34010 graphics processor running at 40 MHz with customized firmware written for The Weather Channel. The Weather Star Jr. was used in smaller cable headends, where a WeatherStar 4000, WeatherStar XL, or IntelliStar were all cost-prohibitive.
In 1990, Wegener Communications created design concepts for the Weather Star Jr, which was first released in 1993. The Weather Star Junior would be used in cable headends that could not afford any other unit (either the former Weather Star III, Star 4000, Star XL, or IntelliStar).
A major Federal Communications Commission deadline of 30 April 2002, based on an August 2000 ruling, required TWC to provide audio tone generators to all operators of a Weather Star Jr in order to add an aural tone to accompany the broadcast of "scrolled" or "crawled" emergency information. In some instances, this unit replaced WeatherSTAR III units when the FCC and TWC discontinued the line in December 2004 because it could not produce a tone after the first display of a weather warning. By this time, most of the few remaining III units could no longer produce a tone at all, and making tone generators or other improvements to them would have been costly.
On June 26, 2014, The Weather Channel discontinued broadcasting its analog satellite feed, thus officially retiring all Weather Star units prior to the IntelliStar, including the Jr. To address the need for a low-cost replacement, The Weather Channel developed the IntelliStar 2 Jr. platform in 2013, which is capable of operating natively on both analog and digital cable systems.
The Jr. had the same products and appearance as the III, but with the font of the WeatherSTAR 4000 and still displayed information from the National Weather Service (and from TWC since 2002) on blue, red, tan, or gray backgrounds. The Jr could produce a warning tone in the event weather warnings were issued with the help of the Weather Star Jr Audio Weather Alert Generator that produces DTMF tones. Many of the larger cable companies never used the Jr. or opted to replace it with the newer Weather Star XL or IntelliStar. At the time of the analog shutdown, very few cable companies still used the Jr; its usage was primarily limited to municipal cable systems and other small cable providers.
Segments Featured on the Weather Star Jr
- Current Conditions - The current weather, temperature, wind speed and direction, gusts, apparent temperature, visibility and ceiling, humidity, dew point, and barometric pressure for your area.
- Latest Observations - The current weather, temperature, and winds in seven nearby cities.
- Regional Observations - The current weather and temperature in seven major cities in the region.
- Regional Forecast - The forecast for seven major cities in the region.
- 36 Hour Forecast - The forecast for the next 36 hours in your area. Originally from the National Weather Service; Provided by The Weather Channel from 2002.
- Almanac - Showed the local sunrise and sunset times for your area, as well as the average high and low temperatures and average precipitation for the month.
- Outlook - A prediction from the National Weather Service of temperatures and precipitation over the next 30 days (above average, normal, or below average). Discontinued in 1995 by the NWS.
- Tides - Replaced the Almanac in coastal areas. Showed high and low tide times for two locations, as well as local sunrise and sunset times in the area.
- (Day of the week)'s Air Quality Forecast - Found only in Southern California. Displayed three locations along with the forecast air quality levels (Good, Unhealthy, Very Unhealthy, or Hazardous) on the left of the screen, with the overall Pollutant Standard Index values on the right. It is unknown if this segment was discontinued before the Junior was decommissioned, as no Jr's were ever found in Southern California. If it was discontinued before the Junior was decommissioned, it probably happened in 2002 along with the TWC-generated Marine Forecasts on the 4000 and XL.
- Extended Forecast - Shows the forecast for the three days after the next (if shown on a Monday, displays the forecast for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday)
- Travel Cities Forecast - The forecast for the top cities across the nation. The Junior was the only remaining Star unit that showed this product under normal operating conditions.
Flavor Lineups on the Weather Star Jr
(Minutes and Seconds)
|D||1993||1:00||Latest Observations, Almanac or Tides, 36 Hour Forecast, Regional Conditions||2014|
|E||1993||1:00||36 Hour Forecast, Extended Forecast, (Air Quality), Latest Observations||2014|
|H||1993||1:00||36 Hour Forecast, Regional Forecast, Almanac or Tides, Latest Observations||1995|
|J/LL||1993||3:00||Current Conditions, Latest Observations, Regional Conditions, 36 Hour Forecast, Almanac or Tides, Regional Forecast, Travel Cities Forecast, Extended Forecast, (Air Quality), [Outlook]||1997|
|K||1993||1:30||Current Conditions, Almanac or Tides, Regional Forecast, 36 Hour Forecast, Extended Forecast, (Air Quality), Latest Observations||2013|
|L||1993||2:00||Current Conditions, Latest Observations, Regional Conditions, Regional Forecast, Almanac or Tides, 36 Hour Forecast, Extended Forecast, (Air Quality)||2013|
|M||1993||2:00||Current Conditions, 36 Hour Forecast, Extended Forecast, (Air Quality), Travel Cities Forecast||2013|