Profile: Dennis Klas

Oct 29, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Title: President, Heartland Video Systems, based in Plymouth, Wis.
Background: Mr. Klas, an engineer by trade, co-founded Heartland in 1990 after working as a broadcast maintenance engineer for five years at WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee.
History: HVS, which operates as a representative/systems integrator for manufacturers serving the broadcast industry, got its start by selling test-measurement equipment for broadcasters, relying on a staff of two. The company isn’t much bigger today-it now counts eight employees-but has since expanded into more mainstream broadcast products and represents and sells routing switchers, fiber-optic communication systems, microwave equipment and other products. Over the past few years, Heartland has begun to work as a systems integrator by packaging equipment it represents and selling it as a solution.
High-definition help: As the digital TV deadline of 2002 for commercial TV stations looms, Heartland has ramped up its efforts to offer its integrated digital TV package, called HDI for high-definition integration system, Mr. Klas said. “A great number of customers don’t have the time to research all the equipment they need to get a DTV signal on air. We really focus on broadcasters, and we have to be reactionary and go where they go. And now their focus is on DTV, so that’s what ours is as well. We’re very focused on making it cost-effective and easy to implement.”
Heartland provides a digital TV turnkey system ranging from $100,000 to $300,000. It can be preconfigured for a TV station, greatly reducing the installation time, he said. The system comprises a Tandberg encoder, Miranda routing and up conversion and Evertz terminal equipment. Integrating different components into a system can avert systemwide failures, Mr. Klas said. “If a single component in the system fails, it doesn’t take the whole system down. You just lose some functionality.”
Issues with digital TV: “Broadcasters are being forced in a somewhat down economy to create a new service. It’s a big drain on their budgets. The issue really has come down to spending the money, and there is some time involved with getting a tower crew on site to service the tower and strengthen it to support antennas. There’s a six-month wait [for that].”#