Wednesday, March 18, 2009
This improvement in the position of cable TV shouldn't be surprising when you look at the advancements that Comcast has made over the past decade or so. In fact, Comcast has invested massive amounts of money in providing better service than anything that the satellite TV companies can muster. That money spent has paid off in some impressive ways.
One of the things that Comcast has invested in is digital TV transmission. The transmission of digital TV signals makes a big difference when it comes to both the quality of the picture and sound, as well as the quantity of programming that can be delivered. That's because not only is digital TV very resistant to the interference that can ruin TV reception, but it's also possible to use existing bandwidth much more efficiently with a digital signal. You see, since a digital signal is the same as computer data, that signal can be compressed to take up less bandwidth. If each channel takes up less bandwidth with the help of compression then more total channels can be sent over the same cable with its limited bandwidth!
Another neat trick that Comcast has implemented in order to outdo satellite TV in terms of the number of channels that it can offer is called switched digital video. Switched digital video changes how TV channels are transmitted over cables. Specifically, instead of transmitting every channel over the cable to the subscriber's home all the time, switched digital video allows Comcast to transmit only the channels that the subscriber wants to watch. This means that instead of hundreds of channels, there only has to be enough bandwidth for one or two channels. This allows more bandwidth to be available for things like Internet and phone services. It also effectively removes any practical limitations on the total number of channels that Comcast can provide!
A similar concept is video on demand. With video on demand, Comcast can transmit a specific video to a customer when that customer demands it. This effectively removes the scheduling limitations from watching TV! While not every TV show is available through video on demand, Comcast is working to bring more video to video on demand all the time. In addition, video on demand is something that satellite TV cannot do a good job of providing simply because satellite technology doesn't allow the viewer to request specific videos be transmitted over the satellite signal at specific times.
These are just a few of the reasons why Comcast is beating the competition.
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