Comporium picks Evolution Digital’s DTAs

Wed, 12/17/2008 - 7:50am
Mike Robuck

Evolution Digital said that Rock Hills, S.C.-based Comporium will be deploying its digital-to-analog converters (DTAs).

The DTAs will give Comporium customers with analog TVs the ability to view its basic tier of channels that have been converted to digital transmission.

While Comporium provides its Basic Plus customers with one legacy digital set-top box at no additional charge, customers must pay a monthly fee for each additional converter.

The DTAs are a cheaper alternative to digital set-top boxes, but while they convert the digital signals back to analog at the TVs, they don’t provide other digital cable features, such as video-on-demand (VOD).

Cable operators are looking at going all-digital to reclaim bandwidth in order to offer more high-definition (HD) channels or wideband deployments, but the DTAs also help them provide signals to analog sets after the broadcast digital transition goes into effect on Feb. 17.

"Because of the increasing popularity of HDTV programming and growth of HDTV sales, we have a lot of demand for more HD channels," said Comporium Executive Vice President of Cable TV Operations Bill Beaty. "Evolution Digital's DTA solution was the answer to our desire to reclaim analog bandwidth that allows us to quickly expand our HD and digital offerings.

"The additional benefit is that we can provide the DTA for $3.45 per month less than our legacy, full-featured converter to our customers who will need converters for their additional TV sets."

Cable operators can reclaim between 250 MHz and 300 MHz in each system that goes all digital. If a typical cable system has 79 analog channels and the operator decides to move 59 of those channels to digital, while perhaps leaving 20 or so as a life-line analog service for some select markets, it would reclaim 354 MHz.

Given 354 MHz of reclaimed spectrum in the example above – and the fact that on average, 10 standard-definition (SD) MPEG-2 digital programs can be inserted into one 6MHz slot – this yields enough bandwidth for nearly 590 channels.

Since its introduction eight months ago, Evolution Digital said it now has more than 100,000 DTAs deployed throughout North America, not including DTAs currently deployed in field trials and DTAs on purchase order for future deployment.

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