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Massillon Has Eyes for HD-DTAs

1:20 PM -- Massillon Cable TV Inc. , an MSO that serves about 45,000 subscribers in Ohio, is the latest cabler to show interest in deploying an inexpensive, inherently one-way Digital Terminal Adapter (DTA) that can display high-definition television signals. Massillon, which went completely digital in mid-July using almost 100,000 standard-def, Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB)-based DTAs from Evolution Broadband LLC , is pursuing the deployment of a low-cost, one-way HD converter box, according to a "final" report submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on July 31 that details the operator's all-digital transition. It so happens that Evolution is developing such a device and has recently filed with the FCC to obtain a three-year waiver for an HD-DTA that embeds the Conax AS conditional access system and costs less than $100 per unit. Such waivers are required following a set-top security integration ban that went into effect July 1, 2007. (See Countdown to 'Seven-Oh-Seven'.) The FCC hasn't acted on that request, but it has already awarded a waiver to Evolution for two of its SD-DTAs. If Evolution is successful again, the thinking is that other operators will be able to take advantage of that waiver without filing separately for their own. The FCC, however, has already awarded Cable One Inc. a waiver (albeit with lots of milestones and stipulations) to deploy HD-DTA devices (most likely the Evolution box) in one small system in Tennessee. (See Nagra, Evolution Seek DTA Waivers, Evolution Guns for HD Box Waiver , FCC Believes in Evolution-ary DTAs, and Cable ONE Snares HD Set-Top Waiver .) As for Massillon, it wants to have access to a low-cost device that can take advantage of its newly expanded hi-def lineup. It also wants to use them so it can more cost effectively deliver HD programming to area hotels and schools. After shutting down all analog TV operations for good, the operator was able to reclaim 77 analog channels and 500 MHz of spectrum. Massillon has since used that recovered bandwidth to launch 55 new linear hi-def networks by the end of July, extending its total HD lineup to 82 channels. Once some contractual issues with other programmers are resolved, the MSO will end up with nearly 100 HD nets. It's also using newly freed up channels for Docsis 3.0, claiming it's already installed and tested its first wideband modems, achieving downstream speeds of "almost" 150 Mbit/s. (See Moto CMTS Powers Massillon's Docsis 3.0 Rollout.) — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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