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WeatherStar XL

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The WeatherStar XL (also simply "XL") is the 5th system designed for TWC's local forecast. It has more advanced graphics than previous WeatherStar's, including moving icons & transitions in between each frame. It's also the 1st WeatherStar to feature a cloud wallpaper background (previous systems used a computer drawn background). The WeatherStar XL 1st appeared on select cable systems in the fall of 1998.

FeaturesEdit

The Weather Star XL is a rack-mounted rendering computer, manufactured by Silicon Graphics Inc, containing a modified SGI O2 entry-level Unix workstation introduced in 1996 by Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI) to replace their earlier Indy series. The WeatherStar XL utilizes the SGI IRIX Operating System with custom written software for TWC. Because of the proprietary SGI hardware & software, the WeatherStar XL remains the most expensive STAR system, having a manufacturing cost of $6,500 US. The WeatherStar XL is still in use today, however very few remain as many cable companies have replaced it with the newer, cheaper & superior IntelliStar.

ProductsEdit

  • Current Conditions
  • Weather Bulletins
  • Latest Observations
  • Regional Conditions
  • Doppler Radar
  • Almanac
  • Tides (in coastal areas)
  • Marine Forecast (select coastal areas)
  • Air Quality Forecast (southern California only)
  • Daypart Forecast
  • Regional Forecast/Metro Forecast
  • 24-36 Hour Detailed Local Forecast
  • 3-Day Extended Forecast
  • The Week Ahead 7-Day Extended Forecast

TimelineEdit

Late 1998

  • The WeatherStar XL first appears on select cable company headends.

March 2000

  • Allen Jackson is heard on the XL. Current conditions & extended forecast information is read to the viewer for the 1st time. Not all XL systems have had this feature.

May 2000

  • The shadow effect is added to the precipitation on the Radar segments.

July 2001

  • The radar is updated to show more frames. It now shows approximately 30 frames instead of the previous 8-10 frames it used to show.

September 2001

  • The WeatherStar XL gets new graphics, including new title bars repositioning the date/time & a new cloud wallpaper. Weather.com is added underneath TWC's logo. Some headends, however, did not receive this upgrade until as late as March 2002.

March 2002

  • A daypart forecast & 7 day extended forecast known as the "Week Ahead" is introduced. The 3-day extended forecast still displays during the 90 second forecast segment.
  • On the 1 minute flavor, the regional conditions map is replaced by the hour-by-hour forecast.
  • The radar has been repositioned from the end of the forecast to the middle right after the current conditions. This applys to all "flavors" except the 60 second forecast segment.
  • The margins on the 3-day extended forecast page are widened slightly. As a result, phrases such as "Partly Cloudy" & "Mostly Cloudy" are now fit into 1 line as opposed to 2 like it was before this update.
  • If no gusts are reported, "none" would display for gusts on the lower display line during local forecasts & national broadcasts. This no longer happens. Instead, the gusts are not shown on the LDL if no gusts are reported.
  • The watch expiration phrase for severe weather watches has been changed. (ex. "SAT 0900 PM EDT" becomes "9:00 PM EDT Saturday.")

April 2002

  • The forecasts on the system now come directly from TWC, instead of the NWS.
  • Some icons, such as "variably cloudy" & "PM clouds" are discontinued.
  • A "weather bulletins" page is created that shows weather watches, statements & warnings for the area. Before this was introduced, the weather watches & statements were displayed on the detailed forecast screen.

July 2002

  • The regional conditions map, that shows the current weather conditions for the surrounding region, is discontinued.
  • In the top 30 DMA's, the regional forecast map, which shows the forecast for select cities throughout a region, is discontinued & is replaced by a metro forecast map. This shows forecast for select cities in a city's metropolitan area within a 75-100 mile radius.

Early 2003

  • The text that is used on the Station ID becomes bolder & slightly larger. Some of the old 1999 text is still in use on the station ID until later on in the year.

April 2003

  • The "AM", "PM" & "FEW" variations to the weather icons are introduced to the forecast maps. Live national broadcasts also received this upgrade.
  • The "AM" & "PM" variations to the weather icons on the lower display line have been modified. They are now in lower-case white text. Previously, they were in uppercase in a white-to-light blue gradient. The national broadcasts, as well as Weather.com, however, received this upgrade a month or two earlier.
  • The 36 hour forecast segment has been modified so it's easier to understand. Previously, if the forecast for a time period were to split into 2 pages (due to it's length) it would split in a middle of a sentence. Now, whenever possible, it would split to 2 pages in between each sentence.

June 2003

  • On the 1 minute forecast segment, the daypart forecast & regional/metro forecast screens are replaced by a 2 page text-based forecast.

September 27, 2003

  • The lower display line (LDL) graphic that is shown on live national forecasts is redesigned. It's now black & opaque (previously translucent) & the logo appears on the graphic for the 1st time in WeatherStar history.

September 29, 2003

  • The LDL is now shown for all national segments (except if there is a weather watch, warning, or statement in effect). Previously the LDL was only shown if there was no information on the bottom of the forecast maps that the LDL may block (with either red or orange).

September 2004

  • The 3-day "extended forecast" segment is discontinued.

August 15, 2005

  • The XL gets new graphics once again, now featuring a modernized TWC logo, a sunny background & new title bars. "Weather.com" is moved from underneath the TWC logo to a new position underneath the title bar of each screen's segment.
  • During the Severe Weather Alerts in the "Weather Bulletin" page, the NOAA logo is removed leaving only the National Weather Service.
  • In certain areas, the narration is a second ahead, thus leaving a one-second gap after each narration.

Late August-Early September 2005

  • On the regional & metro forecast maps, many cities are added & removed as well as the Intellistar.

February 21, 2006

  • Since the 90 second forecast is brought back, the 3-day extended forecast returns to the XL @ :18 & :48 after the hour.

June 26, 2006

  • The 3-day extended forecast is once again discontinued due to the discontinuation of 90 second forecast.

January 23, 2007

  • As with the IntelliStar, the XL begins showing wintry precipitation on the radar. However, the precipitation key on the title bar heading is not updated.

April 23, 2007

  • The 3-day extended forecast returns to the XL for the 3rd time.

May 18, 2009

  • As a result of the 1 minute flavors airing at :08/:38 and :18/:48 past the hour from 10am-2pm ET (10am-4pm ET if there's a Special Coverage) weekdays and 11am-2pm ET (11am-5pm ET if there's a Special Coverage) on weekends, the 3-Day Extended Forecast does not display at these time periods.

July 20, 2009

  • Because of 90 second flavor airing at :08/:38 during Wake Up With Al at 6am and 10am ET the 3-Day Extended Forecast airs 4 times an hour during these time periods, and the 1 minute flavors start airing at 11am ET.

Flavor Lineups on the Weather Star XL Edit

Flavor Length (Minutes and Seconds) Segments Featured
DE (Original) 1:00 Current Conditions, Regional Conditions, Regional Forecast, Extended Forecast & Radar
DE (Modified) 1:00 Current Conditions, 36 Hour Forecast, The Week Ahead & Radar
K (Original) 1:30 Current Conditions, Latest Observations, 36 Hour Forecast, Extended Forecast & Radar
K (Modified) 1:30 Current Conditions, Latest Observations, Radar, Regional Forecast, 36 Hour Forecast & Extended Forecast
LM (Original) 2:00 Current Conditions, Latest Observations, Regional Conditions, 36 Hour Forecast, Regional Forecast, Extended Forecast, Almanac & Radar
L (Modified) 2:00 Current Conditions, Latest Observations, Radar, Daypart Forecast, Regional Forecast, 36 Hour Forecast & The Week Ahead
M (Modified) 2:00 Current Conditions, Latest Observations, Radar, Almanac, Daypart Forecast, Regional Forecast, 36 Hour Forecast & The Week Ahead


Cable Head-ends utilizing the Weather STAR XLEdit

The following is a list of cable headends that are known to still carry the Weather Star XL.

  • Bedford, PA (Bedford Middle School)
  • Ozark, AL (CoBridge Communications/Troy Cable, LLC)
  • Staunton, IL (Madison Communications)
  • Waterbury, VT (Comcast)
  • Punxsutawney, PA (Comcast) (non-narrating unit)
  • Georgetown, KY (Time Warner Cable) (non-narrating unit)
  • Sharon, PA area (Time Warner Cable)
  • Hannibal, MO (US Cable)
  • Princeton, WV (which includes Hinton, WV) & Narrows, VA (which includes Rich Creek, VA & Peterstown, WV) (Suddenlink) (Both Princeton & Narrows's observation city is Bluefield, WV.)
  • Siloam Springs, AR (Cox Communications)
  • Piketon, OH (Time Warner Cable)
  • Fort Myers, FL (Comcast)
  • Sevierville, TN (Comcast)
  • Blair, NE (Cablevision)
  • Zanesville, OH (Time Warner Cable)
  • Lee, MA (Time Warner Cable)
  • Decatur, TX (Communicomm)
  • Orange, MA (Time Warner Cable)
  • Geneseo, IL (Mediacom)
  • Andrews, TX (SuddenLink)
  • Provo, UT (Comcast)
  • The Dalles, OR
  • St. Johnsbury, VT (Charter Communications)
  • Rockford, TX (Insight Communications)
  • Carroll, IA (Mediacom)
  • Bullhead City, AZ (NPG Cable)
  • Corolla, NC (Charter Communications)
  • Weston, WV (Rapid Communications)
  • Oconto Falls, WI (Oconto Falls Cable TV)
  • Yucca Valley, CA (Time Warner Cable)
  • Rupert, ID (Project Mutual Telephone)
  • Elko, NV (Baja Broadband)
  • Laughlin, NV
  • Mattoon, IL (Mediacom)
  • Barnwell,SC/Aiken,SC (Atlantic Broadband)
  • Foley,AL. (Riviera Utilities Cable TV)
  • Traverse City, MI (Charter Communications)

See also Edit

External links Edit

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