Originally Posted by videobruce
1. Cost difference between a 8VSB modulator vs a QAM?
Probably none, but we don't have to modulate 8VSB. We can receive and distribute it in that form, either "on-channel", or we can inexpensively heterodyne convert it to another broadcast-band channel if it better serves us to do so. Demodulating broadcast 8VSB and remodulating it as QAM or even as 8VSB is expensive, but more importantly, at present, is that we have no way to encode analog satellite-based SMATV programming (CNN, TBS, ESPN, etc.) into MPEG form, such that we could then modulate it into QAM or 8VSB.
2. I understand QAM is better for large CATV systems, but would 8VSB be ok for apartment buildings, hospitals etc (especially if the cost of the head end equipment is cheaper)?
Distributing broadcast digital programming in 8VSB modulation involves slightly less efficient utilization of bandwidth, because one 6 Mhz broadcast 8VSB channel fully occupied 6 Mhz in the distribution system, whereas 64QAM modulation allows two broadcast channels to fit in one system channel and 256 QAM makes room for three, but that is not a problem for MATV in the foreseeable future. The problem that apartment building's MATV systems face is that, if you distribute signals in 8VSB format, the only way that a TV tuner can process them is if they are assigned broadcast TV channels, meaning that after you have fully stuffed channels 2-13, the next usable channel, UHF 14, spans 470 to 476 Mhz, but many MATV distribution wiring systems would have trouble absorbing the normal losses incurred at UHF frequencies. If you heterodyne convert a UHF 8VSB signal to a cable TV midband, superband or hyperband frequency, almost no TVs will be able to process it.
3. These 'private' MVPDs' (if that is the correct term), other than direct C band feeds where as stated, the cost per sub is too high, just where do you get your programming from?
There is presently no "programming aggregator" selling resellable cable TV programming at a price that any but the largest (over 1,000 subs) systems can afford. We can still buy such programming in "bulk" at affordable prices, however, and that is what I am doing everywhere. In my post #2 in this thread, which videobruce's post # 15 is commenting on here, I said that my private cable customers would be better off with bulk. On August 31, 2007, I shut off the last of the subscriber private cable systems I service and replaced it with a bulk, free-to-resident, system that now includes twelve local broadcast analog channels, eighteen "local" broadcast 8VSB channels (my antenna headend receives signals from six cities), a house message channel and forty-one satellite based "cable TV" channels from DirecTV. They are presently paying about $9 per residential unit per month for the 41 channels of DirecTV programming, whereas they had been paying approximately $17 per subscriber per month to satellite programming aggregators (WSA LLC and 4COM) for sixteen fewer cable channels, and two of the additions were MASN and MASN2, which, if we wanted to add them to a subscription tier, would have entailed buying two Scientific Atlanta Powerview receivers and setting up a 10' dish targeting that satellite.
In a few weeks, they are going to change this service contract from SMATV MDU to Choice Limited, which will result in the per customer bill going up to $15.98 per unit per month ($14.99 for Choice Limited, plus $.99 for the RSNs), but at that time, each resident will be able to upgrade his own service to DirecTV's Total Choice Digital (or whatever they are calling their equivalent to "Basic Cable") using his own receiver for $19.99 per month. They also will be able to simply buy, say, HBO or Showtime at its a la carte
price while relying on the SMATV analog for their basic channels. Until then, they will continue to pay over $11 per sub per month for single channel, "beeping channel", HBO and Showtime, which they resell for $12 per month.
I don't know what the cable company would have charged them for bulk cable, but the cable company carries fewer than half as many broadcast digital channels as this complex system now offers, which is my ace in the hole in this market, so I think this customer is better served by this new system I have developed for them than they would be with any alternative, but for markets in which the franchised cable company can furnish as many broadcast digital locals as MATV can, I think that cable TV becomes the best option. I think that in a couple of years, the expectations of TV viewers everywhere will be that everyone is entitled to CNN, TNT, USA and CNN as a birthright, and that broadcast MATV-only systems will be abandoned.