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HVS Makes Adding Digital Subchannels a Breeze

HVS Makes Adding Digital Subchannels a Breeze

When all U.S. broadcast networks made the transition from analog to digital signal, the shift opened the door for the creation of subchannels. Using these digital subchannels, television stations can offer multiple independent program streams simultaneously within a single signal. These multicast channels allow broadcasters to complement the programming available on their primary channels, often with content such as children’s programs, pop culture favorites, classic TV shows, and niche content dedicated to a topic or genre.

While it has been some time since the transition to digital, many stations are just now investing in the equipment to add subchannels to their channel lineups. As cable and streaming offerings continue to grow, consumers have become increasingly interested in low-cost access to high-quality content. Television stations are meeting this demand with new subchannels, which can be an economical means of expanding broadcast offerings and boosting revenues from broadcast services.

By compressing and multiplexing individual program streams into a single signal, broadcasters can launch new channels without the significant power and bandwidth requirements that would come with running an additional television station. However, few stations have the time or resources to identify, integrate, and install all the equipment necessary to start up new subchannels. Systems integrators including Heartland Video Systems (HVS, Inc.) are filling the gap, providing the expertise to get subchannels up and running.

Bringing project management skills and experience in all aspects of multicasting, including integration of the satellite receiver, emergency alert system (EAS), encoder, and SCTE control and PSIP data management, HVS, Inc. can oversee the entire project and manage all essential components from third-party manufacturers. The station or station group therefore can keep its focus on day-to-day operations.

As part of subchannel addition projects, HVS provides assistance with ATSC encoder and PSIP reconfigurations. The company helps stations to take advantage of newer technologies and their benefits. For example, the current generation of MPEG-2 compression equipment can provide enhanced efficiency as compared to units more than a few years old. Current multipass statistical multiplexing technology can provide encoding of multiple HD and SD services with the quality that broadcasters desire. By introducing and integrating these technologies, HVS helps broadcasters realize improved efficiency that delivers bandwidth for new services and added revenues.

HVS recently completed subchannel projects for 15 Quincy Media, Inc. (QMI) stations, setting up their encoding to pass new channels including Cozi TV, MeTV, Decades, Court TV, Justice Network, Qwest TV, Ion Television, Escape, Laff, Grit TV, Heroes & Icons, Dabl, and Start TV.

“Our experience working with Heartland was fantastic,” says Brady Dreasler, Corporate Director of Television Engineering for Quincy Media. “The engineering team understood the scope of the project, was thorough in getting the job done right, and was responsive to all our requests. I wouldn’t hesitate to hire HVS for any future integration projects. The company’s support and knowledge are irreplaceable.”


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