Ruth A. Mendonsa
News-12 New Jersey, a regional 24-hour all-news cable television channel owned by Rainbow Program Holding Inc. of Floral Park, N.Y., was looking for a high-quality yet economical means of transmitting the network's programming from its Long Island headquarters to 29 cable companies throughout northern New Jersey. The network was considering three main options to broadcast its programming: satellite, microwave links or fiber.
Satellite systems provide signal quality, wide distribution and transmission reliability but are an expensive option. Microwave links, commonly used for regional broadcasting, are cost-effective but not as reliable as the satellite or fiber. Other disadvantages of microwave links are the lack of channel availability, and maintenance and environmental concerns. Fiber, on the other hand, promises a high-quality, reliable solution that is easy to install and has low maintenance requirements. In addition, it costs approximately 50 percent less than the microwave solution.
Fiber's the one
With today's sophisticated hardware that facilitates the use of fiber networks, News-12 decided to go with the fiber solution. The company chose Marlborough, Mass.-based Artel Video Systems Inc.'s equipment for the job because it provides the flexibility needed to transmit programming from one input to a multiple output environment.
The maintenance-free factor also played a part in the network's choice. "For the Rainbow Network, fiber provides an excellent transmission medium. The fiber approach is the easiest way to overcome the drawbacks of microwave broadcasting. We chose Artel's equipment for its easy implementation and low maintenance requirements," said Peter Lubell, director of affiliate engineering and signal integrity at Rainbow Network Communications.
The equipment specified for this job included the top-of-the-line SL4000 multichannel and DigiLink single-channel fiber optic transmission systems. Rainbow contracted with Nynex and Bell Atlantic to route the signal through an optical fiber network from the programming source through New York City to the 29 cable companies located in New Jersey.
The SL4000 is a modular multichannel video transport system designed to provide maximum versatility, performance and bandwidth. It is widely used by major cable companies and Regional Bell Operating Companies to meet their needs for uncompressed long-distance digital fiber optic transmission. DigiLink is a single-channel modular video transmission system that offers flexibility and easy configuration. It supports unrepeated video transmission over long distances.
Northern New Jerseyites can now put up their feet and watch quality news on TV 24 hours a day, thanks to fiber optics technology.