What is Cable?

Cable television is a system the distributes television signals over either coaxial, fiber-optic cabling, or satellite signal. Originating in the United States in the late 1940’s cable tv was designed to improve the reception of commercial broadcasts in hilly and remote areas. Cable tv was then introduced to large metropolitan areas where local television reception was degraded due to the reflection from large buildings. In 1984 the 1984 Cable Act was passed allowing a more favorable regulatory framework allowing investment in the cable plant and programming. This also allowed for deregulation allowing rapid growth. During this time satellite delivery as well as the new regulatory framework from the 1984 Cable Act allowed for the delivery of high-quality video entertainment and informational content to customers. In 1992 the industry faced legislation that opened “exclusive” cable programming to other competitive distribution such as “wireless cable” and emerged direct satellite broadcast (DBS) business. Even with this more satellites networks continued growing allowing content for particular niche audiences. 1996 brought the Act of 1996 which allowed for competition and provider choice for customers. Between 1996-2000 providers began to develop and implement hybrid delivery systems of fiber optic and coaxial cable. This allowed for multi-channel video, two-way voice, and high-speed internet. With the start of a new millennium brought testing and development to new cable services such as video-on-demand and interactive tv. In 2003 providers began to offer enriched high-definition television (HDTV), Video-On-Demand (VOD), and digital cable.


How does it work?

To know how cable operates we must know where cable tv signal comes from. Cable tv providers receive their signal from satellite providers. Through utilizing large satellite dishes the channel is received by the provider. The provider then packages the channel offering and then resells the signal to the provider. Through compression cable providers eliminate the data that isn’t needed while keeping the same video quality and bundles the channels for delivery through a single wire. Through coaxial or fiber optic lines the signal is re-amplified into the area where the signal is to be received (in customer’s neighborhoods). Through splitters the signal travels to the customer’s premise. Signal is then distributed inside the customer’s premise and decoded by some type of set top box to produce a signal that the customer is able to view.


What is IPTV?

IPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television. Compared to television content being delivered through coaxial or fiber optic lines the cable service is delivered through the internet. This allow for a range of flexibility in the content provided. Some examples of this are: more options to interact, a personalized cable experience, and Video On Demand (VOD).

To view the content an active cable subscription is required however, in most cases no extra equipment may be needed. IPTV allows providers to offer a web-based app for users to view the content. This can be accessed on devices such as: Firestick, Roku, smartphones, tablets, etc. This is similar to popular streaming apps.
IPTV comes in three different formats. First, is Video On Demand (VOD). Video On Demand gives the user the ability to view content whenever they want. The next format is Time-Shifted Media. This allows users to watch a show or movie that is already in progress starting at the beginning. However, once a show is over the content is no longer available to be restarted. The final format is Live IPTV. Live IPTV allows for users to watch cable content through the internet allowing for mobility while away from home.