Comcast HITS Packs More Video Punch

HITS, a unit of Comcast  Wholesale that provides satellite video distribution to independent cable operators,  has deployed more efficient encoding technology that will enable its MPEG-2-based Q2 platform to add ten new high-definition channels and three new standard-definition channels later this year.

The ten new HD channels poised to join the broader HITS Quantum HD lineup in the third quarter of 2013 include Bio HD, Bravo HD, CNBC HD+, DIY Network HD, E! HD, Hub HD, Investigation Discovery HD, MSNBC HD, Nat Geo Wild HD and OWN HD.  HITS is also adding the following three SD services: Fuel TV, Nick2 and MSG National.

Through the expansion, HITS Quantum’s HD lineup will expand to 34 channels, marking a 42% increase, using the same bandwidth, Comcast Wholesale said. HITS introduced the upgrade in April, implementing 256 QAM DVB-S2 technology on 75% of the HITS multiplexes. The new encoding technology frees up as much as 25% of local bandwidth using legacy MPEG-2 architecture, including existing digital cable boxes, the company said.

HITS unveiled Q2 in February, announcing that the next-gen platform is covered by its new deal with the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), a programming and hardware buying consortium representing nearly 1,000 small- and mid-sized operators.

“The advanced video compression technology used on the upgraded HITS Quantum platform allows cable operators to offer more HD channels using significantly less bandwidth, without compromising the viewing experience,” said Leslie Russell, VP and GM for HITS, in  a statement. “In addition to creating an opportunity for expanding HD channel lineups, these savings in bandwidth can free up valuable spectrum on the local cable plant so operators can allocate more capacity to new business applications.”

Comcast Wholesale made the announcement in tandem with The Independent Show, which gets underway Sunday in San Diego.