In-house cable TV systems are found in hotels, stadiums, schools, businesses, hospitals, senior living residences, homeowner associations, prisons, ships and other facilities where a large number of TVs receive the same set of TV channels. Most in-house cable TV systems are a replica or subset of standard commercial cable or satellite TV offerings; but for many facilities there is a need to add private community channels. For example, a residential building might create a channel for a weekly activities schedule, a hotel might need a resort channel to highlight amenities and restaurants within the hotel, or a prison might need a comfort channel with specially curated content. Whatever your application, if you’re looking to add a local TV channel to your in-house channel line-up this article will help guide you to a solution.

The first step in adding a channel is understanding what type of in-house cable TV system you have. To explain the basic concepts, the image below shows the basic components of a cable TV system and the principles behind it. In this example we show how you can create your own two channel cable TV network using common AV components. This happens to be an analog system, but the RF network principles apply to digital channels as well

Chapter Index

Chapter One: The Anatomy of Digital In-House Cable TV

Chapter Two: What kind of in-house Cable TV network do you have?

Obviously this is a simplified view of a TV network. Those who are very familiar with TV technology may find some of these descriptions simplistic. Our intention is to explain a level of detail necessary to understand the basic operation of a digital TV network.

Chapter 1: The Anatomy of Digital In-House Cable TV

In a digital TV system many of the analog headend building blocks still exist, but they are implemented using digital technology rather than analog. Below is an example of a private digital TV headend.

Below we have identified a few key digital TV (DTV) components and terms that will be referenced in this and future chapters of this document.

Most, if not all, of the DTV building blocks can be found in every digital cable TV system. In some cases, such as consumer cable TV, the headend is located many miles away and the distribution network is large. In other cases, such as a hotel’s private cable TV network, the headend and distribution network are both on the hotel property. Recognizing what type of infrastructure you have is the first step toward installing private cable TV channels on your cable TV network.

While there are similarities between cable TV installations, each one is a little different. In the next chapter we will discuss how to understand what technology is used in your in-house cable TV system.