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several Innovative Cable channels "Temporarily Off Air"?

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Jim Dandy
(@jim_dandy)
Trusted Member

Tnemig:

It is not just the system on STX that has problems. Innovative runs the systems on STT, the BVI & St. Maarten. If you think it is bad here you should see the systems outside the USVI.

The system on STX is 450 Mhz, on STT it is 550 Mhz. After Omar they did replace some of the electronics on STX so the system will pass 750Mhz. Until such time as the entire system's electronics are replaced they will not have the bandwidth to offer HDTV channels.

The problem with Innovatives staff of 495 is that they almost all on the telephone companies payroll so they really don't care much about CATV as they consider themselves telephone company workers.

If the government would permit another company to come in and overbuild Innovative with the current fiber to the home technology the entire system could be run on one network with no more than 150 employees. Never going to happen so we will either all go to cell phones and satellite TV or learn to live with Innovative.

Jim

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Posted : February 2, 2010 10:05 pm
tnemig
(@tnemig)
Advanced Member

Jim,

You are pretty well versed on the technical goings on with the cable system there, as well as elsewhere in the Caribbean. Former cable guy, or technology guy?

What is it with the island cable systems? In Bermuda the cable system there was partly owned by the phone company. At least there, the employees were cable employees and not telephone employees. We had a little over 20K customers, and we ran the system with about 15 technicians and about a dozen customer service reps. In Louisville, I had about 200K customers at the time, and I ran that system with less than 100 technicians (Installers to Headend) and probably half to three quarters of that head count for customer support.

I'm not a real big fan of electronic only upgrades/retrofits. Replacing the electronics to pass from 450 to 750 MHz will work for each active device, but until you re-space the amplifiers, you will have a maintenance nightmare trying to maintain the levels between the amps. Everywhere an amp was cut out, there is now a mechanical splice that is a potential breakdown point. Then, once you re-space all of the actives, you have to go back and re-design the drop network, because typically the levels will be different at the taps. Now that all of the amps have moved, now you have to go back and re-design the powering network, which usually means more power supplies.

Its a shame the government won't allow another franchise for cable, etc on the island. If they did it, you are right, it would be nice to either run fiber to the curb or a very short run fiber/copper hybrid with no more than 2 to 3 amps in cascade. Get a good return network working. That way you would be poised to offer real high speed data in the 10 to 20 Mbps range (as long as there is a big enough pipe off the island), along with IP Telephony. Oh well, dreaming again... 🙂

Tim

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Posted : February 3, 2010 3:51 am
popflops
(@popflops)
Advanced Member

Here's the official update:

Brandon from Innovative just left. SUPER nice guy and knew what he was doing, too! Apparently, not only were 2 of the splitters installed backwards, but there were also loose fittings and some crimped wires within the outlets. All these things combineD to make for a weak or non-existent signal to the box. They're now all fixed and working beautifully, except for my daughter's box which will need to be replaced.

So, I'll bring my Kindle (man I love that thing!) and sit and wait first thing tomorrow morning to exchange the two boxes that don't work. Then I'll be investing in TiVo for my DVR needs.

I am very pleasantly surprised that it's fixed and I had a great experience this time! I guess that'll teach me not to be so cynical... 🙂

Thanks everyone!
Lisa

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Topic starter Posted : February 3, 2010 12:42 pm
Jim Dandy
(@jim_dandy)
Trusted Member

Tim:

Former cable guy.

Innovative is run to maximize the government subsidies it receives. As a rural telephone company they receive subsidies paid by all non rural telephone subscribers in the US. They are also guaranteed a 11% return on assets. No need to be efficient.

Also as a rural system they do not have to support number portability or allow competitive local access carriers. That is why it is doubtful that MagicJack, Skype of Vonage will ever offer numbers in the VI.

All in all life is good when you are a monopoly.

Jim

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Posted : February 3, 2010 12:44 pm
Beeski
(@beeski)
Trusted Member

Tim:

Former cable guy.

Innovative is run to maximize the government subsidies it receives. As a rural telephone company they receive subsidies paid by all non rural telephone subscribers in the US. They are also guaranteed a 11% return on assets. No need to be efficient.

Also as a rural system they do not have to support number portability or allow competitive local access carriers. That is why it is doubtful that MagicJack, Skype of Vonage will ever offer numbers in the VI.

All in all life is good when you are a monopoly.

Jim

Excellent points Jim Dandy. It is amazing how the govt subsidies did the opposite of what they were designed to do.....provide us better service.
As an FYI, www.sunfone.com offers local Virgin Islands VoIP phone numbers

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Posted : February 3, 2010 7:10 pm
tnemig
(@tnemig)
Advanced Member

@Popflops - Glad to hear it all worked out for you!! Good thing I didn't place the bet against Innovative on this one 🙂

@Jim Dandy - Sounds as if Innovative has locked into a pretty sweet deal. With a guaranteed 11% return, you are right, why even bother to be efficient. From one cable guy to another, it still concerns me when I see shoddy technical practices, or terrible customer service because I know it can be done better. BTW - what system(s) did you work in? I have experience in Times Mirror (Dimension), Storer, TCI, TKR, Intermedia, Insight and Cable Vision. Mostly in the midwest. I currently do some contract work on the side for a few regional mom and pops, installing and maintaining digital headends and high speed data services. Some IP telephony work as well. Doing this to generate some income, while development work on a device I've invented is complete - which it looks like I'll be done by the end of this month. Then I enter the sales cycle for the next 18 to 24 months....

Tim

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Posted : February 3, 2010 7:20 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

What will your "device" do?

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Posted : February 3, 2010 7:33 pm
stiphy
(@stiphy)
Trusted Member

Tim, it would be great to meet you if/when you make your way down here! I've worked in television for many years, first as a Technical Director/Director for the local news on an ABC affiliate and for the last 10 years as a newsroom software developer. While the cable infrastructer isn't something I've worked with much directly (other than my days at cable access channels) it's an interesting subject to me.

Good luck with your invention, and when the time is right feel free to share what it does!

Sean

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Posted : February 3, 2010 7:59 pm
tnemig
(@tnemig)
Advanced Member

Sean,

It sounds like from your previous experience, you would definitely find an interest in this solution. The timing is fine to talk about it. This thing is in patent pending status (has been for the last 18 months). We demonstrated the Lite version of this device last year at NAB. This year we are going to be doing full scale demonstrations. You can check out our website www.LiveEdge.tv. Basically what I've invented eliminates the need for any news organization to use microwave or satellite trucks. I'd be very interested in your comments whether you think this device is relevant these days...

Take care,

Tim

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Posted : February 3, 2010 8:32 pm
tnemig
(@tnemig)
Advanced Member

@SkysTheLimit - The device attaches to the back of a broadcast camera through either a Sony V-Mount or Anton Bauer Gold Mount battery interface. It runs off of the same camera batteries. It takes the camera video and audio (analog or digital SD/HD) and transmits it back to a dedicated sever at the broadcast studio. The device also receives the program video from the studio, as well as IFB audio (those ear pieces you see the newscasters wearing during the broadcast). It also has a back channel full duplex party line for the camera operators. IFB and party line are received by a proprietary Bluetooth module I developed. The transmission to/from the studio is over pretty much any network (some 2G, 3G, 3.5G and 4G- WiMAX and LTE, Wi-Fi b/g/n, or regular LAN). The remote device transmits anywhere from 250 Kbps to 20 Mbps. Although at 250 Kbps, the video quality is pretty much Bagdad type news video, but once you get to about 600 Kbps and above, the quaity is pretty good. The one way latency is right about 750 ms or less. Needless to say, the development has kept me busy (and up a lot of nights 🙂 if this thing is successfu as I think it is, my payoff will be settling down with the family in STX and enjoying the island life once again. And if it isn't as successful, then I'll find another way to get to STX - that is, if my wife is up for it 🙂

@Stiphy - We're hoping to do a PMV for my wife sometime in the summer to fall timeframe. I already know this is where I want to go next, been to STT and STX several times, but I want to make sure my wife is up for it. I'll keep you posted and maybe we can get together. We'd love to get your perspective about the USVI firsthand.

Tim

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Posted : February 4, 2010 1:24 am
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

Tim,
Sounds like an awesome invention! I don't claim to understand the functionallity but the concept seems too obvious with the networks now available almost anywhere.

Best of luck with it and your possible move to STX!

Alan

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Posted : February 4, 2010 2:20 am
tnemig
(@tnemig)
Advanced Member

Alan,

Thanks, and if I make it there I'll be givng you a shout to set up our satellite dish. Are you all able to pick up the International channels in STX? More specifically I'm curious about the ability to pick up the Russian channels. Mostly for my wife, and mother in law - should she decide to relocate to STX as well.

Tim

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Posted : February 4, 2010 3:32 am
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

Tim,
You can get international channels and Russian is one of the choices. Check www.dishnetwork.com for the channel lineup in the Russian pac. It requires sat 118 in addition to Dish500 (119/110).
Depending on when you arrive will determine what dish configuration you'll require. There is a DishPro lnb that picks up 119/118 together but currently only works well on a 1.8 meter dish. With the launch of E14 that might change. The other option is 2 - 1.2 meter dishes.

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Posted : February 4, 2010 11:08 am
stiphy
(@stiphy)
Trusted Member

Tim,

I sent you a PM...what a small world, on your website it actually mentions our software product (ENPS) as something your device integrated with. ENPS is written here on STX for the Associated Press by our company.

To the OP sorry for the OT posts...glad you got your cable straightened out for now!

Sean

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Posted : February 4, 2010 12:49 pm
tnemig
(@tnemig)
Advanced Member

Sean,

I got your PM. We are moving offices today. It is taking forever to break down my lab. I'll PM you later on tonight.

Tim

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Posted : February 4, 2010 4:50 pm
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