This chapter focuses on digital cable TV networks as a convergent network with telecommunications networks and the Internet that provides broadcasting TV and radio, telecommunications services, and IP-based publishing and e-commerce. The chapter first traces the technological evolution of cable TV, highlighting recent developments in digitalization and convergence. The transformation of cable TV networks from channel operators to unified platforms is discussed. In doing so, the key terms and concepts in cable TV technology are introduced. The technological, political, regulatory, and economic forces behind the convergence are also identified. Furthermore, this chapter examines the value chain and collaborative opportunities among the participants in the digital cable TV revolution. User-centered business models of managing digital cable TV networks are proposed.
The Evolution Of Cable Tv Networks
This section traces the origin of cable TV networks, including the concept of CATV, cable network infrastructure, basic cable technologies, and the major transformations of cable TV networks. Recent developments in upgrading cable TV networks are highlighted; they include the deployment of fiber optics and digitization. The on-going technological upgrades empowered cable TV networks to enhance interactivity and paved the way for them to provide a huge number of channels and add-on services.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Compression: Reduction of the quantity of digital data used to represent video images.
DVR (Digital Video Recorder): A video recording technology that captures digital programming and playback on digital cable TV networks.
HDTV (High-definition Television): A new and higher TV broadcast standard with higher quality video, audio, and a wider image aspect ratio than standard TV broadcast signals.
Digital Format: Information presented as a series of zeroes and ones.
PPV (Pay Per View): An interactive service on digital cable TV networks, which allows subscribers to purchase premium shows to be seen on TV or PC.
Near Video On Demand (NVOD): A technology that enables viewers to view a PPV offering at staggered times.
STB (Set-Top Box): A digital device that controls cable access through scrambling and encryption; it also handles signal conversion from analog to digital and performs other key functions of interactive TV.
Convergence: Digital audio, video, text, and data are integrated into unified media platforms.
Cable TV Networks: A system of transmitting and distributing broadcast signals to TV households using a network of fixed cables.
EPG (Electronic Program Guide): A navigational device that provides program schedules, which allows subscribers to search programming by category, showing time or theme.
VOD (Video-On-Demand): An interactive broadcast technology that enables subscribers to select videos from a central server for viewing on TV or PC.
Digital Cable TV Networks: A cable TV distribution network using digitally compressed video over fiber optic cables.