IntelliStar 2 HD

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IntelliStar 2 HD
IS2 WATT CC.jpg
The IntelliStar 2's Current Conditions Screen as of February 11, 2015
Manufacturer:Custom Built
Software:In-house built high-level C# / F# software
Family:WeatherStar
OS:Windows XP Embedded Standard
Render Engine:Vizrt
Release Date:July 2010
Status:Retired - Decommissioned by The Weather Channel during Q1 2016
Format:1080i High Definition
Succeeded By:IntelliStar 2 XD & IntelliStar 2 Jr.

The IntelliStar 2 HD ("IS2HD" or colloquially just referred to as the "IS2")was the high-definition successor to the IntelliStar. Like previous iterations of the WeatherStar system, the unit is installed at each cable provider's headend. The system was the first one to output in 1080i high-definition.

In November 2015, it was noted that all IntelliStar 2 HD units would be replaced with the IntelliStar 2 XD during quarter one of 2016.[1] As the graphics on the IntelliStar 2 HD are the same as the IntelliStar 2 XD, it is impossible to determine a final decommission date.

Design

The custom rack mount case of the IntelliStar 2 HD

The IntelliStar 2 HD follows the design of the IntelliStar, as the system is custom designed and built rack-mount PC. Differing from the IntelliStar, which runs on FreeBSD 4.2, the IntelliStar 2 HD runs on Windows XP Embedded Standard. The unit again differs from the IntelliStar, all software including the rendering engine was custom built by The Weather Channel for the Unit. With the IntelliStar 2HD , most of the software running higher-level programs was written in C# and F# by The Weather Channel, and the rendering engine is run by Vizrt. Attempts were originally made to write all software for the unit from scratch, but were scrapped after a failed first attempt.[2]

Hardware used in the IntelliStar 2 HD[3]

  • Intel® Core™ i7-930 Processor (8M Cache, 2.80 GHz, 4.80 GT/s Intel® QPI)
  • CORSAIR DOMINATOR 3GB Triple-Channel DDR3 SDRAM
  • EVGA E758-A1 3-Way SLI (x16/x16/x8) LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 470 (Fermi) 012-P3-1470-TR 1280MB 320-Bit GDDR5 video card
  • Cooler Master 850W SilentPro Modular Power Supply
  • Dual Thunderstorm cards custom built by The Weather Channel for video over SDI/Ethernet encoding and decoding

Products

Weather All The Time products

Products featured in the "Local on the 8s" segments
  • Greeting – A small blurb that is shown at the beginning of the "Local on the 8s" segment accompanied by an analog clock showing the current time, which may include a witty joke or other random musings, prefaced by the city of the primary observation site's origin (for example, "[City], no fair weather friends here"). If a weather bulletin is in effect, the blurb is replaced with, "[City], this is your weather."
  • Weather Bulletins (displayed only when a weather statement has been issued) – This product displays watches, warnings (excluding severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings, which are instead shown on the Lower Display Line's alert crawl) or advisories that are currently in effect for the local area, as issued by the National Weather Service.
  • Current Conditions – Displays the current temperature and sky condition on the left side of the pane, the current wind speed and gusts (if applicable), apparent temperature (if applicable; heat index during the spring and summer seasons, wind chill mainly during the winter season), visibility, relative humidity, dew point and the barometric pressure on the right side of the pane. As part of the November 12, 2013 graphical overhaul, the observation data outside of the sky condition and temperature (which had previously been shown at once) was switched to a two-page format (with the wind and apparent temperature data being shown first); a gauge display illustrating the temperature also began to accompany the current sky condition and the textual display of the temperature on the pane.
  • Regional Radar – A radar loop showing any precipitation present in a 200 mi radius of the current location, and its movement over the course of three hours.
  • Local Radar – A zoomed in radar loop for a 125 mi radius of the metropolitan area, with data being displayed on the same three-hour timeframe as the Regional Radar segment.
  • 24 Hour Local Forecast – The forecast for the next 24 hours in a given area. The left pane displays the forecasted weather conditions and chance of precipitation for a particular daypart; the right pane displays a detailed description of the forecasted weather conditions, temperature and winds. Prior to November 12, 2013, this product featured only a descriptive forecast (accompanied by a visual display of the forecasted sky condition, beginning on October 23, 2007) and prior to April 23, 2013, featured 36- and 48-hour segments.
  • Hourly Forecast – A segment displaying the forecasted weather conditions and temperatures (shown in a combined text, icon and graph format) for the next 12 hours in two-hour increments. Originally seen before the 24-48 Hour Local Forecast segment, this segment has been displayed within that segment since November 12, 2013, appearing after the forecast for the current day or night.
  • 7 Day Forecast – The forecast for the next seven days (including the current day), showing the forecasted sky conditions and temperatures.
  • Summary – Shown at the end of the "Local on the 8s" segment; this product features a more condensed version of the entire forecast, highlighting the current temperature and sky condition, current radar, and a 12-hour forecast. This segment was introduced on November 12, 2013.
The IntelliStar 2's current conditions screen, seen from 2010 to 2013.
Products featured on the Lower Display Line and sidebar
  • Current Conditions (labeled "Now") – An LDL feature displaying the current temperature and sky condition, apparent temperature (if applicable), relative humidity and the current wind speed and gusts (if applicable). The dew point and barometric pressure were previously included on the LDL until November 12, 2013, when those products were moved to the sidebar. The sidebar features graphical displays of the current dew point, barometric pressure (represented in inches and millibars) and visibility.
  • 36 Hour Local Forecast – An LDL feature displaying the forecasted weather conditions and estimated precipitation (if applicable) for a particular daypart during the next 36 hours in a given area.
  • Hourly Forecast – An LDL feature displaying the forecasted weather conditions, temperatures and probability of precipitation for the next 12 hours, split into two pages. This segment appears after the current day/night's forecast within the 36 Hour Local Forecast segment.
  • The Week Ahead – An LDL feature showing the forecast for the next three days, starting the day after the next (if shown on a Sunday, the forecast will be for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday), showing the forecasted sky conditions, temperatures and probability of precipitation.
  • Airport Conditions – A sidebar graphic illustrating arrival and departure delays at airports nearest to the observation site or which serve as the observation site.
  • Almanac – Essentially a re-versioning of the former "Local on the 8s" product, which is displayed on the sidebar. Illustrates the average and record minimum and maximum temperatures for the current date (including the year that the record high and low temperatures were first recorded), the sunrise and sunset times for the current day (represented by an analog clock display, shown as white for the sunrise time and black for the sunset time), and moon phase data (similar to that featured in the almanac product seen on the 4000, XL and formerly, the IntelliStar). The products are grouped separately, with the sunrise, sunset and moon phase data appearing after and the average and record temperatures appearing before the supplementary current conditions.
  • Air Quality Forecast (select metropolitan areas only) – A sidebar graphic displaying a gauge with an arrow pointing to one of the colored sections (only the one that is pointed to is labelled; green indicates "Good," yellow indicates "Moderate," red indicates "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups," purple indicates "Unhealthy," and maroon indicates "Very Unhealthy" air quality).
  • Tides (coastal ocean areas only) – A sidebar graphic showing the day's high and low tide times for up to five locations in the area; the circular outline in the graphic shows a depiction of the respective tides.

Former products

  • Metro Conditions – A map-based version of the Latest Observations segment, usually with the addition of one to three extra locations; however, wind data is excluded. This product was discontinued on November 12, 2013.

Graphics

The IntelliStar 2 HD's graphical layout for the "Local on the 8s" segments features the product that is being shown at that time (see Current Products) in a main window on the left two-thirds of the screen (a 4:3 recut version of this is shown on the IntelliStar with the background area to the right of the main window removed), with The Weather Channel and "Local on the 8s" logos above it, attached to a box showing the name of the city and the current time. Below the main window and ad crawl is a small, rundown-like list of products currently being shown and expected to be shown (up to four products are listed); this list includes a progress bar that represents the length of the segment, filling the longer a product has been displayed. Next to the list is an icon related to the product being shown in the main window (for example, a thermometer for current conditions or a radarscope for radar loops).

The Lower Display Line displays the current weather conditions and the forecast for the next five days for up to four cities in the area (including the local observation site) on the LDL; the accompanying sidebar shows additional products displayed within a graphical gauge at the center right, with a similar rundown list appearing below it (the rundown appearing on the top right of the sidebar is available to all providers and is not covered by the IntelliStar 2-generated sidebar). Since The Weather Channel began displaying weather data full-time on November 12, 2013, the Lower Display Line appears throughout during all programming (having been removed during commercials and long-form programming on all STARs previously; it continues to disappear entirely during local advertising breaks on many cable systems), while the sidebar is removed during commercial breaks.

Supported providers

Cable

Cable operators have the option to purchase the IntelliStar 2 from The Weather Channel to use in their cable headend operations.

Satellite

Neither DirecTV nor Dish Network are currently able to use the IntelliStar 2 equipment. Some satellite providers have resorted to developing a "Local on the 8s app" that will cue at the same time as the STARs on most cable providers' feeds. Although this app provides local data, it does not show the full range of information as that generated by the IntelliStar.

Timeline

Date Notes
July 2010 The IntelliStar 2 HD exits beta stage and debuts its first two units in Murfreesboro and Nashville, Tennessee.
August 2010 Vocal Local is activated, featuring an audio track narrated by TWC meteorologist/storm tracker Jim Cantore.
Fall 2011 Corner "mini" radars are updated on some IntelliStar 2 HD systems to include more than one city on the map.

The Climate Data screen is added to regular usage on two minute forecasts.

November 12, 2013 The IntelliStar 2 HD receives its first major graphics revision. The changes include new flatter icons (akin to those found on certain mobile weather apps), new backgrounds, and the introduction of a time bar on the "Local on the 8s" segments to display the length of each product and up to three segments that follow the one being shown (placed below the ad crawl) as well as the introduction of a summary product showing the current observations and a daypart forecast. The Lower Display Line is also overhauled, and is now displayed constantly, even during commercial breaks; a sidebar on the right side of the screen now appears during program segments. The warning crawls, now displaying a smaller font, is now placed above the national newsfeed crawl (a new element of the LDL that is seen on both the national feed as well as on systems using the IntelliStar and IntelliStar 2 HD, although the IS2 alert tone has been removed). All changes conform to The Weather Channel's "Weather All The Time" campaign. As a result of the graphical revamp, the IntelliStar 2 HD generates a graphic layout that is uniform with the IntelliStar (which also had its graphics revised on the same date).
April 1, 2014 The time and temperature begins to rotate on the LDL.

See also

References