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The New Basic Cable

Aug 23, 2011 11:54 AM, By Doug Engstrom, Technical Director, Contemporary Research

Be your own inhouse cable company.

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Buying Channels, the New Basic Cable

The solution rests in rebroadcasting specific cable channels within your facility, not paying for the whole gamut that few ever watch. In the New Basic Cable solution, you’ll broadcast a few good open-cable channels that can be tuned by any internal or external TV tuner.

  • The average corporate site actually watches about eight news, sports, weather, and business channels, plus a few inhouse digital signage channels.
  • Schools are looking for a few good educational programs along with weather and news, as well as signage and inhouse broadcasts. Remember the cable in the classroom initiative? Gone.
  • Churches are using RF for HD digital signage and live service broadcast, plus a few local channels and religious programming. They, like schools, don’t ever want all the junk cable includes in basic programming packages.

In addition, you can mix in channels not available on cable. We’ve already talked about digital signage and inhouse broadcasts. You can also add HD local channels at no monthly cost. Colleges need to add collegiate games from DirecTV and information programming from microwave and IP resources.

In the New Basic Cable, you become your own inhouse cable company, managing your own content and budget. One site refused the cable estimate of thousands per month for channel and boxes, and cut the bill to a hundred or so a month by rebroadcasting.

The Analog Option: Your cable company can provide an alternate package that delivers 12 or 24 cable channels to your site. They install a small rack of analog modulators (see the next section); a digital cable box tuned to one program feeds each channel. Because the digital-to-analog conversion is done at your site, the quality of the video is better than old-timey analog cable.

The Digital Option: Cable companies currently don’t have a similar option for digital, but you can do this yourself. Modern HDTV modulators, which cost about $2,100 a channel, can convert the HD component output of a cable or satellite receiver and broadcast the video as a clear digital cable channel.

The Mix Option: The really nice feature of RF is that you can mix analog and digital channels in the same system. So you could start with a basic package of analog channels, and then add your own digital channels on top of those. Compared to the old basic cable that filled up the RF pipeline with unnecessary channels, you don’t need complicated filters to block out their channels to add yours. New Basic Cable gives you a clean, compact RF system, so it’s easy to add your own digital and analog channels.

Remember, you always have the option to build your own analog/digital inhouse RF system. You don’t have to rent the gear from the cable company. This gives you the option to buy the content you want at the best cost. Once you create your own system, you control both content and costs.

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