Don’t let your cable company own your company’s cable!

Old cable

Cable channel service isn’t what it used to be. Cable companies would love to rent you cable boxes, but that’s often not the best choice for commercial facilities.

Back a few years ago this is what cable service looked like for your site. For a monthly fee, you would receive 60 or channels of programming. You could easily add some of your own in-house programming by inserting a Low Pass Filter, which passed through the cable channels and cleaned up anything above that so you could add your channels on top. Your TVs could tune both types of channels, so you had total control of your news and information system.

Digial Cable

But then cable companies went digital, giving you the benefit of vastly improved HD programs, but taking total control over your own RF distribution system. Suddenly, on top of paying more for channels, you had to rent intelligent cable boxes. Your TVs can no longer tune the now-encrypted channels. And forget about in-house channels – cable boxes can only show channels listed in their internal Cable Guide – not yours. So the bill goes way up for channels, rentals, and support – supporting a massive list of channels and services that your site doesn’t even need. It’s a model that works for homeowners, but not commercial, civic, government, military, worship and other sites like yours.

New Basic

 The good news is that, for many, you don’t have to let the cable company take control of your in-house RF system. You can stop the invasion of full-bore digital cable right at your RF system head end. It’s called a Public Viewing Contract, where you pay for a specific list of channels, usually News and Information type programming, for weather, news, sports and other programs of interest.

How this is done depends on the content provider and the scope of the installation, usually the number of TVs used for viewing at your site. For cable companies, the best solution is something like the UCrypt technology from ATX Networks that can deliver from 8-60 HD and SD channels in Clear QAM format. This means that an HD TV or tuner at your site can receive the channels without a cable box. That’s a huge savings.

For some sites, it may simpler to use a few QMOD-HD units fed from cable boxes – that would keep your options open to choose between cable and alternate content providers.

Since you’re only using a few channels from the cable company, it’s easy to mix in your own HDTV Modulator channels that your TVs can also tune in. A few examples are:

  • Digital Signage. Our QMOD-HDSC can process the VGA output from your signage player in to an HD digital signage channel. Any TV can tune in, using the HD tuner as a free digital signage player. This works well when you have just a few channels you want to broadcast throughout the facility. The tuners in the TVs are free, so there’s no cost for players, licences or servers.
  • HD-SDI Videos. Sites such as Worship Centers, TV studios, and TV stations have HD programming others in the site would like to see. It’s expensive to create a facility-wide distribution network for HD-SDI. The QMOD-SDI converts your HD-SDI feeds into an HD in-house cable channel received by any HD TV.
  • General HD Media. Not all content arrives over cable. Sports Bars use our QMOD-HD to broadcast sports events from DirecTV Ticket channels. Some corporate signage players such as the ChyTV from Chyron and BrightSign media players can provide a video output that doesn’t need scaling. For other sites, video players, servers or DVD may feed content to the modulator.

Satellite providers such as DirecTV and Dish Network can follow a similar solution. Both have an interface for delivering Clear QAM channels, but use an MPEG4 formats that most TVs can’t use. For those, use a QMOD-HD modulator fed by satellite tuners to deliver TV-friendly subscription channels, and add your own in-house media, signage, or SDI content.

Because of new innovations in low-cost HDTV Modulator technology, you can use your existing or new  RF system for new kinds of content, not just TV. While Ethernet is handy for snagging short bursts of video clips, it’s not designed for full HD video channels running all day long. RF can do that very well, taking the load off the IP network. Digital RF is IPTV, distributed over a cost-effective network designed to carry hundreds of channels of HD programming, tuned by off-the shelf HD TVs and tuners.

This is the New Basic Cable. Pay the right price for the content you want to see, not all the other stuff on the cable company’s network. Add your own content to inform your in-house community with local-grown content specific to their needs.

Resources