Cable Bahamas has invested more than $400,000 in a new satellite antenna that enables the company to reduce costs and enhance its REVTV signal quality on all digital and HD signals.
The new Simulsat 7 Multibeam Antenna, recently erected at Cable Bahamas’ main technical facility on Robinson Road in Nassau, has the ability to simultaneously receive signals from up to 37 satellite feeds, with an enhancement in performance across the satellites. With these capabilities, the recently installed 42 foot mega dish has replaced as many as 18 parabolic antennae the company previously used to receive over 400 channels from different satellites.
Cable Bahamas Vice-President of Engineering John Gomez noted that since its installation, the Simulsat dish has exceeded the company’s expectations. According to Mr Gomez, the company was able to seamlessly transition to the satellite system and this has resulted in further enhancement of the company’s advanced digital REVTV television service.
“What we’re seeing with the Simulsat antenna is an overall stronger signal. What that means is our customers will see greater detail in their TV image when they’re watching television and enhanced HD quality for those with our REVTV HD service,” Mr Gomez said. He added that the Simulsat dish allows the company to enhance its TV signal quality throughout the country.
The vice president of engineering also noted that this new single mega satellite dish is the signal source for cable subscribers on New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Eleuthera, streamlining engineering overhead and strengthening services for 96 per cent of the company’s subscribers.
Due to the antenna’s capacity to receive multiple signals from 37 different satellites, Mr Gomez said there is great potential for expanding existing REVTV packages.
“Because of our country’s geographical position, the Simulsat dish allows us to see almost all of the North American satellites. So, this definitely opens up the possibility for us to offer more channels in the future,” Mr Gomez said.
Mr Gomez added that this move is part of the company’s ever evolving strategy to deliver an advanced TV service to its subscribers. “We already bring more than 400 digital channels – with more than 100 in HD – to our cable TV subscribers. With our existing video on demand service, on-screen interactive programme guide, premium channel package options and additional HD signals coming in 2015, we have set a high standard for TV services in the country for nearly 20 years.” Mr Gomez believes the new satellite dish upgrade will enable the company to continue to exponentially grow its TV services.
Cable Bahamas Director of Head End Engineering Gary Barrows noted that with the new antenna, the company is also better prepared to adapt in the event that a signal supplier switches satellite feeds.
“Many of our programming partners change satellites for various reasons; some for cost savings, others may be consolidating on one or more satellites,” Mr Barrows said. “When this happened in the past, we had to install a new antenna or go out and physically reposition one of the antennae on multiple islands. However, the Simulsat antenna can receive signals from any satellite within that 75-degree arc. If a vendor says they’re moving, we are more likely to be able to add that new satellite feed with almost no cost or time delay.”
The installation took almost a month to complete. Mr Barrows stated that the company took specific measures to extend the life span of the antenna by building a foundation for the system that would enable it to withstand hurricane force winds of up to 160 miles per hour.
The company said that REVTV subscribers could anticipate similar investments in the future as it continues to expand and extend its cable TV service.