HITS, a business unit of the Comcast Media Center and a subsidiary of Comcast Cable, announced this morning that it has upgraded its Quantum Platform to help independent cable operators serve up more HD services in MPEG-2.

The newest version, which is known as Q2, supports existing MPEG-2 infrastructure, and includes converting several HITS standard definition (SD) transponders to DVB-S2 technology, thereby increasing the number of HD services offered in MPEG-2, and delivering the entire programming lineup via a single satellite.

Q2 improves the efficiency of MPEG-2 services offered by HITS, and helps operators utilize their existing technology.

“For 17-years, HITS has remained committed to improving how we meet the needs of the independent cable operator. We have continually refined the platform to provide cable operators with more cost-effective solutions for increasing their competitive edge, adopting new technologies and expanding their digital video revenue opportunities,” said Leslie Russell, vice president and general manager for HITS.  “Q2 leverages next-generation technology that allows our affiliates to add more programming and reduce bandwidth consumption without rebuilding their headends or replacing CPE.”

HITS and the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) recently renewed their agreement to offer the next generation of the HITS platform to NCTC’s members.  The majority of participating NCTC members have already opted-in to the new deal for enhanced HITS satellite services. Several programming groups have also signed on to the upgraded platform.

The upgrade will become available in the second quarter of this year. When it’s finished, over 70 percent of the HITS Quantum multiplexes will be using 256 QAM DVB-S2 technology. This technology enables cable operators to add more SD and HD signals using fewer satellite receivers with their existing customer premise equipment (CPE), and to free up to 25 percent of their bandwidth for new services.

In addition, the upgrade can help cable operators convert any remaining analog channels to digital using their existing MPEG-2 architectures. HITS said new MPEG-2 HD services are planned for the second half of 2013.