Dozens, maybe hundreds of small regional cable operators have ditched the video business in recent years, not only because of the ever-increasing cost of licensing programming networks, but also the expensive equipment of headend equipment.
Satellite dishes. Racks of integrated receiver/decoders (IRDs). Receiving all that video, distributing it QAM, keeping it up to date for 4K … 8K? It all adds up.
For its part, Comcast Technology Solutions thinks it has just the virtual thing for cable operators who want to get on with the business of focusing on gigabit-speed connectivity, while efficiently and inexpensively delivering TV/video to the customers who are still willing to take it.
The leading cable operator’s technology services arm is in the process of rolling out its new Managed Terrestrial Solution, which handles all the headend processes for them. Margaretville, New York-based MTC Cable is the service’s first touted client.
“You’re talking about now operating a couple of servers vs. racks of equipment. What they’re saving on is not having to continually invest in the headend,” said Allison Olien, VP and GM of the Communications and Technology Provider Suite at Comcast Technology Solutions.
Managed Terrestrial Distribution is designed to provide an efficient and secure approach for content acquisition, packaging, management and delivery. The service leverages Comcast’s significant investment in advanced infrastructure to benefit other operators in diverse communities throughout the country.
“We like to say we drink our own Champagne,” Olien said, noting that many of the services CTS deploys are those that Comcast has developed for its own cable operations.
Comcast says the solution enhances video with a hybrid-IP approach that allows operators to maintain field investments and existing customer experience (UI/UX) to subscribers. It also provides an expanded channel lineup and other services to support increased customer retention and acquisition efforts.
“We spend a considerable amount of time and resources maintaining satellite equipment, and certainly recognize the potential value of migrating to a terrestrial-based approach,” said Glen Faulkner, general manager of MTC, who describes the relationship with CTS in the kind of exaggerated, euphoric terms you often see in business-to-business press release journalism.
“We are delighted to be working with Comcast Technology Solutions to leverage their new Managed Terrestrial Distribution service and explore new ways to deliver a high-quality video experience, while reducing operational costs and positioning ourselves for the future.”
CTS will continue to offer its Managed Satellite Distribution offering (which traces back to the 1990s Headend in the Sky service) that offers channel packages delivered via satellite to hundreds of operators across the country.
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. His reliable mid-range jump shot, deft ambidextrous post-up game and tough interior defense have been criminally overlooked.
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