Saturday, December 13, 2008

FYI: Why are they necessitating an update to digital cable??

To convert analog versions of channels to digital. Each analog channel takes up 38mbs of bandwidth. [Grasp This: CSPAN takes up more bandwidth than you have available to you for internet services.]
For Basic Cable subscribers that get about 40 analog channels. Those households are consuming 40 x 38.6mbs or 1.54 Gbs. I was blown away when I found out that's more bandwidth than most neighborhoods consume online, by a lot.
Thats also the equivalent of 500 standard def digital channels. If you convert that to revenue per bit for cable companies, the basic cable customers are getting the best deal! The standard def digital version of the same channel takes up less than 3mbs. The typical HD version takes up about 8mbs or less. So, every time a channel is converted from analog to digital a MINIMUM of 28mbs is freed up. The bandwidth that is freed up can be used for: more internet bandwidth, to more HD channels, more video on demand... More bandwidth means more digital everything. The cable companies have been hesitant to convert them only because of the potential FCC backlash. The FCC made this an issue because it does reduce the number of channels available to those who connect their cable to older televisions sets, or directly to their analog TVs.
[Side Note: Some people don’t realize that analog could send a better-looking picture to your television set, but with an analog signal, you adopt noise. Not the type of noise that you can hear. This noise is simply a term used to describe a disturbance that interferes with the normal operation of a device or system. So the more you crank up this analog signal, the more noise you will get.]

So which is more important, protecting analog TV connectivity, or having more bandwidth available?

Obviously I’m pro-digital! Lets free up this bandwidth, because I think broadband should be a priority in this country. It not only equates to faster internet service, but it will open up many new applications that can significantly impact our society. All of which are far more important than making sure that an old analog TV can receive a few more basic cable tv channels. Otherwise, what is next, stopping Youtube and other video sites from increasing the bit rate of videos because those with dialup will be forced to upgrade?

*If you don't know about the FCC, I suggest you take a second to read about them. (CLICK HERE)

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