What's in a SMATV System?
There are three main components to a SMATV system:
- Reception antennae
- Head End (the electronics used to create your integrated cable TV feed)
- Cable distribution network (the Cable Plant).
We use top-quality commercial antennae to receive satellite and broadcast signals. Typically we will use one or more television antennae to receive local broadcast channels. A 30" satellite dish will also be installed for reception of satellite television signals. This is where the pay-tv channels will come from - those typically thought of as "cable channels." Maximum consideration is given to aesthetic issues when mounting antennae and routing necessary cables.
The Head End
- Satellite Receivers: Often called IRD's, these are the devices used to tune in the satellite programming. The system requires a receiver for each pay-tv channel.
- Demodulators: Broadcast signals are received using RF demodulators. Each demod receives one broadcast channel.
- Processors: Some of the signals in the system will require special filtering for conversion to your cable TV system.
- Modulators: Each channel's signal is fed into an RF modulator which places it on a particular channel in your system. When we set up your system, you will be able to decide what programming goes on each channel number.
- Signal Combiners: All of the individual channels are combined into a single integrated cable feed. The resulting output will be your multi-channel cable TV signal ready for distribution.
- Amplifiers: At the output of the system, amplifiers are used to trim the signal to the appropriate level for distribution to your campus cable plant.
Head End built by Campus Cable Systems
(click to enlarge)
The Cable Plant
Distribution of the cable system is accomplished with a campus-wide cabling infrastrcture. Cabling is laid from the head end to all desired points on campus. Typically there will be a main line running into each building where the building wiring is connected to the system in a single location. The feed then continues on to the next building and so on.
If your campus already has a cabling network in place, installation of the SMATV system will be quite straightforward. If the cable company that installed your cable plant has a single service entry point to the campus, we simply disconnect their signal at that point and replace it with the feed from your head end. If there are multiple entry points, this process will be a bit more complex.
If the campus does not already have a cable plant then one will have to be built. This can be accomplished by installing the cabling through tunnels, conduits and other means to reach desired builgings. In some cases fiber optics and other existing infrastructure can be used to distribute the signal, but usually a well-planned cable network is the best approach. Often campuses will elect to install two cables together - one for the cable TV signal, and one to carry campus programming back to the head end for integration into the system. These return feeds can also be sent on fiber optics and phone lines in some cases.
We can help you implement any necessary cable plant additions or alterations to facilitate installation of a SMATV system. Whether you need a new building added on, or if you need a total campus cable installation, we can do it for you or help you get it done with your own installers or contractors.
Your head end and cable plant will require relatively little maintenance.
The head end needs to be re-balanced about once a year. (Your first year's re-balancing is free!) The equipment is very self sufficient if the host room is kept clean and cool. The room temperature needs to stay at 70 defress F or less to maximize life span and reduce maintenance. (Remember that if the building's air conditioning is turned off in the winter you will need to find an alternate winter cooling method for the head end room.) From time to time the satellite receivers need to be reset, but this is minimized in a cool environment. Expect to visit the head end once or twice a month for resetting and preventative maintenance.
Your cable plant is quite stable on its own. Most cable plant maintenance issues involve cables damaged by digging, and amplifiers occasionally need fuse replacement. Most ot the time spent on a cable plant involves adding infrastructure for new property construction or aquisition. This is more of a design and construction issue than it is maintenance, but in any case we can help you.
We're available 24/7 for phone consultation, and if you don't reach us we will return your call within a few hours. Return visits can be scheduled to handle infrastructure additions or changes, and any other needs. Emergency service is also available.
Please call or email today, we would be happy to discuss how a SMATV Satellite Cable TV System could benefit your campus.