The Difference Between RF Video and IP Video

From the Z-Band Blog:

As with everything else in the technology world, how we receive and view our video is changing. This leads to the question-which is better – RF Video or IP Video?  If you take away any inherent bias your answer is surprising— “neither.” Both have their place and here is why.

RF technology has been the industry standard not only for television but also for cordless phones, radar, GPS, Satellite, radio and countless other devices that everyone uses each day. According to Wisegeek, RF waves are electromagnetic waves which propagate at the speed of light transmitted through air. However, for the Cable TV industry these signals are mostly transferred through coax cable.

Now, with the use of Z-Band, Inc’s technology these RF waves can now be transmitted through UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) cable, the very same cable that is used for transmitting data to and from your computer.  So if I’m going to use UTP cabling why not just go to IP video? Well here are pros and cons.

IP video has the advantage, like any computer technology, of having the ability to be on demand whenever and wherever needed. IP allows each user to search for content and access additional information on their schedule. Nevertheless there are drawbacks. The very nature of video requires an enormous amount of bandwidth which competes with anything else that it trying to use the same computer network. This in turn leads to more possibility of a system “crash.” In order to negate these “crashes” the most prudent thing is to add a totally parallel IP system (additional servers and switches) which not only adds initial equipment cost but also on-going IT support staff.

Therefore, IP has its place for small viewing devices (less bandwidth) or locations that are willing to add and support a parallel network just for video. An alternative to this parallel network is using the Z-Band system. The Z-Band solution is simple. With one UTP wire, a single port can receive the FULL bandwidth of all the available channels, including video on demand, plus use the spare pair wires in the same cable not used by video, to handle your data needs including Voice over IP or streaming video from the Internet.

This ideal solution provides the ability to use UTP and “converge” all communication needs over one wire without the need of parallel server systems. However, in applications when access to huge amounts of internal stored video is required as on demand by numerous users, then the IP solution with it’s higher initial cost would still be your best alternative.

Note: Contemporary Research has partnered with Z-Band at many sites, distributing QMOD HDTV channels and Display Express TV control over their UTP RF technology. This is a great solution where the client prefers a structured UTP topology for both RF and IP distribution.