Weatherscan

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Weatherscan
Weatherscan logo March 2016.png
Wxscanis4.jpg
Current design on-air.
Manufacturer (IntelliStar): Wind River (a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation)
Family: WeatherStar
Hardware: Intel x86
OS: FreeBSD
Graphics: Vector/Raster
Release date (IntelliStar): Beta: February 2003
Final: September 2003
Status: In Use

Weatherscan (originally called Weatherscan Local) is an American cable television network offered by The Weather Channel. Carried on select cable systems in the United States, Weatherscan features uninterrupted local weather information in graphical format on a continuous loop. All content is produced by an IntelliStar unit at the cable company's headend and, unlike The Weather Channel, Weatherscan does not feature on-air talent of any kind.

The IntelliStar unit used by Weatherscan is configured differently than that used by The Weather Channel, featuring different graphics, additional weather products, and runs continuously. A pre-recorded narration introduces several segments, including "Your current conditions," "The local doppler radar," and "Your local forecast." The narration is not the same as the narration on The Weather Channel's local forecasts and uses a female announcer.

Weatherscan is available in many top markets around the United States, though its availability is less than that of The Weather Channel. Many cable companies offer Weatherscan on their digital cable lineup, although a few companies provide the channel on their basic cable lineup, on which The Weather Channel is also offered.

Overview

The channel launched on March 31, 1999, as Weatherscan Local, under the Weather Star XL platform. Throughout 2003, these units were replaced with the current IntelliStar units. The IntelliStar unit used by Weatherscan is configured differently from that used by The Weather Channel, featuring different graphics and additional forecast products, with information running on a continuous basis. Vocal Local, a pre-recorded narration function installed in the IntelliStar system – which utilizes a different narration track than that used on The Weather Channel's Local on the 8s forecast segments, featuring a female announcer – introduces several of the segments.

Weatherscan is available in many major markets around the United States, though its availability is not as widespread as that of parent network The Weather Channel. Many cable providers offer Weatherscan on their digital tiers, although a few providers carry Weatherscan on their basic tier (where The Weather Channel is also offered). In 2011, Dish Network became the first satellite provider to add Weatherscan.

Verizon FiOS has dropped Weatherscan (on channel 49), along with parent network The Weather Channel from its lineup from midnight Monday, March 9/Tuesday March 10, 2015 Eastern Time after the two parties were unable to come to terms on a new carriage agreement. The service has been replaced by the local WeatherBug "widget" in some markets. No public announcement was made regarding this issue until over 12 hours after the discontinuation. Verizon said that its reason for dropping such services was because many customers turn to the internet and mobile apps for weather any time of day. This makes Weatherscan widely absent in one of the top 5 markets, especially where cable clusters don't carry this network.

While the domestic IntelliStars were decommissioned and replaced by the IntelliStar 2 HD/jr./XD units on November 16, 2015, the modified IntelliStar units are currently still active for Weatherscan.

Weatherscan appears to be getting phased out as little has been done to update it over the years, and from October-December 10, 2017, Comcast/Xfinity dropped the channel from its cable systems.

Weatherscan's packages

Weatherscan has a variety of segments that show different information regarding the weather. Below are a list of known packages on Weatherscan and some brief information about them. Note that some Weatherscans do not carry some of these packages.

During the XL era, five different packages could be chosen.[1]

Currently available packages on Weatherscan include:

Local Forecast
The local forecast is the segment that all Weatherscans have. It includes all local weather data, including current conditions, local radar, and 5-day forecast. This package is mainly used for one city, but on some Weatherscans there are multiple forecast city loops.
Local Radar
The local radar segment shows the local doppler radar looping continuously for one minute.
Traffic Report
The top DMAs have the traffic report on Weatherscan. This package includes local traffic delays and traffic flow.
Airport Conditions
The airport segment shows local airport delays and weather conditions for two airports in the headend's metropolitan area. It also has a list of delays for major airports throughout the nation. This is one of the segments that most Weatherscans carry.
Travel Forecast
This segment is ideal for individuals who plan to travel. The travel segment shows regional forecast maps and a three day forecast for select cities nationwide. As with the airport segment, travel is one of the most common segments on Weatherscan.
International Forecast
People who plan to travel around the globe can watch the international forecast for weather for select cities worldwide.
Weather and Your Health
Weather and your health displays a variety of health-related forecasts, including air quality, ultraviolet index, and sun safety information.
Ski and Snow (seasonal)
The skier's forecast shows a list of ski resorts and their conditions throughout the country for those who plan to hit the slopes. It also includes a snowfall forecast map.
Golf Forecast (seasonal)
The golfer's forecast includes the forecast for golf courses and resorts as well as a golf index and a tee time forecast.
Garden (seasonal)
Garden is a rare segment that very few headends carry. This package contains information for lawn and gardening activities. It includes a precipitation forecast map and a drought severety map.
Boat and Beach (seasonal)
Boat and beach is only available for select headends in coastal locations. It includes marine forecasts, tidal information, and surf reports.

Weatherscan timeline

Note: "Domestic IntelliStar" refers to STARs that output content for The Weather Channel.

February 2003[2]

  • The Weatherscan Local machines moved to the IntelliStar platform, a whole year before TWC rolled it out. This brought with it a major upgrade to the channel:
    • Weatherscan Local has been simplified to "Weatherscan" and has received entirely new graphics, using Frutiger as the flagship typeface . The weather icons once again become animated.
  • A "severe weather mode" was added to Weatherscan during this upgrade. The yellow, blue colors become red and gray, and it only shows the local forecast, and a severe weather message saying "Weatherscan gives you this special message because of severe weather in your area".
  • Weatherscan gets new music, now featuring tracks by unknown production music companies.
  • The narration by "Local on the 8's" announcer Allen Jackson is replaced with female narration by Amy Bargeron.
  • The narration for the 36 hour forecast is changed from "the forecast for your area" to "your local forecast."
  • The old Weather Star platforms are gradually replaced with these units over the next year.
Weatherscan from early 2003 until late 2005

Early 2004

  • The first signs of the music "skipping" are heard on Weatherscan. Eventually, the music started skipping more often.

Early-mid August 2004

  • Weatherscan's font becomes bolder.
  • A fade in-fade out effect was added in between each day on the 36-hour forecast.
  • The local radar is enhanced, now showing more major roads on the radar, and city identifiers that are closer to the domestic IntelliStar's.
  • The local radar now shows the precipitation's movement within the past three hours instead of two.
  • The music has been fixed so it does not skip.
  • Some icons, such as "AM Clouds/PM Sun" and the nighttime "Mostly Clear" are updated so they are identical to the icons on the IntelliStar.

February 17, 2005

  • The 36-hour forecast now becomes a 48-hour local forecast, now showing the forecast for today up to the next day's night.
  • The point size of the text on the local forecast becomes larger, now bigger than the "Local Forecast" title heading.
  • Some songs on Weatherscan have been replaced with new ones.
  • During severe weather mode, Weatherscan now shows only the local radar, weather bulletins (if a weather watch or statement is issued), and the special weather message.
  • The severe weather message is changed to "Weatherscan/<Insert cable Headend here> brings you this message because of severe weather in your area."

July 2005

  • A "traffic report" was added to Weatherscan's on the top viewing markets such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta, showing the traffic conditions from Traffic Pulse for a city's metropolitan area. Also, a 1-minute long local radar segment has been added to Weatherscans nationwide.

September 27, 2005

Weatherscan IntelliStar from September 2005 until December 2006
  • Weatherscan receives a bold new look in accordance with The Weather Channel's new logo and graphics. An "L-bar" was added, that shows instant information to viewers, which is much similar to NBC Weather Plus. Current conditions, extended forecast, local radar, and local observations are now shown constantly to the viewer.
  • More narration is added to Weatherscan, such as narration to the local radar, traffic segment, among other segments.
  • Note: Areas that were in Hurricane Rita's path received this Weatherscan update about a week earlier.

December 2005

  • A traffic.com advertisement graphic is added at the end of the traffic report segment.
  • The narration for the "traffic flow" screen is removed.

March 2006

  • More songs are removed and more new ones have been added to Weatherscan.

April 2006

  • HiRAD technology begins to be introduced into some Weatherscans.

August 2006

  • Due to the discontinuation of P. Allen Smith's garden segments on The Weather Channel, the P. Allen Smith advertisement at the end of the garden segment is replaced with a generic weather.com/garden advertisement.

December 12, 2006

  • Weather icons that have been in use on Weatherscan from 1999-2006 were replaced by more realistic icons.
  • The slashes for phrases such as "Partly Cloudy/Wind" on the extended and daypart forecasts are replaced by commas (e.g. "Partly Cloudy, Wind").
The look of Weatherscan prior to March 11, 2010

January 23, 2007

  • As with the TWC IntelliStar, the Weatherscan radar has been changed. "Light" and "Heavy" changed to "rain," and "mix" and "snow" were added. The color key was removed from the mini-radar in the corner of the screen.

May 22, 2007

  • The radar legend becomes interactive with the precipitation. The snow and mix color keys now only display if frozen precipitation is detected.

October 24, 2007

  • The traffic overview map on Weatherscans with this segment is updated to match the map on the domestic IntelliStar.

November 5, 2007

  • Several new songs were added to the music loop.

February 2009

  • The WeatherReady logo on the Health and Ski segments receives a slight modification.

March 11, 2010

Current Weatherscan design.
  • New icons which are featured or based on the weather.com website are debuted on Weatherscan.

July 27, 2010

  • The font on the NOW ticker is changed from Interstate Condensed to Interstate Bold.

December 2010

  • The Weather Channel's contract with Traffic Pulse expired and was not removed, resulting in traffic products being permanently pulled.

March 9, 2015

  • Verizon enters an exclusivity agreement with AccuWeather, resulting in all other weather networks, including Weatherscan, to be dropped.

November 10, 2015

  • The Vocal Local narration track by Amy Bargeron is discontinued on all products. However, the Weather Bulletin product is given a new narration track by Jim Cantore.
  • The severe weather warning messages provided by The National Weather Service were discontinued and replaced by generic severe weather warning messages, which contains a new alert tone to match the IntelliStar 2 systems, and a new narration track also by Jim Cantore. These changes were applied due to new FCC regulations requiring weather warnings to be read out loud, and the IntelliStar's lack of secondary audio program (SAP) support.

March 29, 2016

  • Following The Weather Channel's digital assets being acquired by IBM, TWC's logo is removed from Weatherscan.

May 14, 2016

  • Cox Communications drops Weatherscan in all markets.

July 2016

  • Any additional references of The Weather Channel are dropped in favor for Weather Group Television, a consortium spun off that contains The Weather Company's former television assets.
  • The Palmer Drought Severity map is replaced with a Soil Moisture map, providing a more accurate reading of areas in the region that are affected by drought conditions and the levels of their severity.
  • A frost/freeze warnings map is added to the Garden segment, airing when applicable.

March 2017

  • Wintry precipitation color key is added to the Radar/Satellite map.

September-December 2017

  • Xfinity gradually drops Weatherscan in all markets.

National feed

Weatherscan's national feed from December 2000.

When Weatherscan Local debuted in 1999, there was also a national version of the channel that was used for satellite companies and smaller cable companies that could not afford Weatherscan Local. This channel featured current temperatures and the forecast for the next several days for select cities throughout the United States, as well as national and regional radar images. This channel was named simply "Weatherscan". This feed was pulled by most headends in 2001, and was discontinued by 2003. [3] A new Weatherscan feed is expected to be launched in 2010 for Dish Network subscribers, to replace The Weather Cast service that had been founded as a replacement for The Weather Channel as a result of a carriage dispute.

See also

References

External links