West Alabama TV Cable (WATVC), a cable company serving West Alabama, is one of the most advanced independent cable networks in the country. It is one of the first companies to offer enhanced HDTV service in the area and one of the first operators in the country to deploy a hybrid IP/QAM TV service. With Inca’s advanced Intelligent Video Delivery™ Solutions, WATVC launched IPTV capabilities on its traditional CATV network—delivering superior video quality and additional services to their subscribers while lowering its operating costs.
WATVC was put in the difficult predicament of finding an alternative content transport option after their previous provider discontinued satellite delivery operations, leaving them without a financially viable third-party option.
“We had a three week window to bring the reception and transcoding in-house before our existing service went dark. Our digital platform was MPEG-4 and we couldn’t afford to go back to MPEG-2, so the Inca solution allowed us to easily transition to self-reliant MPEG-4 transcoding,” says Kyle South, General Manager at West Alabama TV Cable.
After multiple years using various third-party transport services, some that were discontinued on short notice, WATVC chose to move all their content reception and transcoding in-house. This allowed the operator to protect their business, reduce costs, improve quality of service and take full advantage of their advanced IP/QAM hybrid network.
“The transition from third-party transport to in-house operations was achieved without any material disruptions to subscribers,” says Kyle.
WATVC is using Inca’s 4430 Modular Transcoders to process and monitor satellite and off-air channels and transcode them to MPEG-4, delivering superior video quality to their subscribers.
According to Kyle, Inca’s solution is performing better than the platform that was previously implemented.
“We have been able to increase our HD capacity by 25 per cent,” says Kyle.
Inca equipment also interacts seamlessly with WATVC’s other headend and field gear. Powerful Entone set top boxes containing embedded cable modems provide both QAM video and full two-way IP services to the home. Feature rich Minerva IPTV middleware allows the operator to offer advanced program guide, navigation and interactivity features previously available only on IPTV networks.
One of the key benefits that WATVC has seen with Inca is the improved visibility of all video channels that comes from the Inca VidiOS™ tools included in every Inca platform. VidiOS provides both active stream tools and integrated status monitoring and reporting to manage the head end more efficiently.
Inca’s All Seeing Eye (ASE) leverages this VidiOS™ intelligence to create end-to-end, real-time monitoring of all the IP video streams in the headend. The All Seeing Eye provides the ability to visually and interactively oversee their network using any web browser, and to quickly troubleshoot any issues.
“With the All Seeing Eye, the entire team has the visibility to oversee the network, analyze the inputs, identify problems, and restructure streams,” says Kyle.
The Inca team lead the design and deployment for WATVC.
“Inca’s platform and outstanding customer support allowed this process to happen smoothly, more economically, and with better performance than what we were operating before,” says Kyle.
He adds, “In fact, Inca helped us to convert our SD licenses to HD in a couple of days, giving us more capacity immediately. Inca’s customer service has really been amazing.”