In the Digital Age, new is synonymous with better. Bloggers and consumers alike can’t wait for the latest game-changing phone to drop. Interest in cutting-edge electric vehicles with autonomous driving features grows with each year. Innovative smart technology is transforming kitchens, factories, and even cities. Consumers are obsessed with newness, not only for the novelty but because technological advancements improve upon the form and function of what came before.
But new isn’t always better. When it comes to distributing HD content, newer methods pale in comparison to the tried and true classic Radio Frequency (RF) coax cable.
“Today, there are two primary pathways for distributing digital media facility-wide, IPTV and RF coax,” says Christy icketts of Contemporary Research. “RF is often considered old, outmoded technology and many CIOs operate under the belief that all AV should be distributed over IP instead of coax. However, RF is the more viable and relevant choice.”
What makes RF coax the optimal choice for HD content distribution? Its simplicity. It’s just a modest center copper wire surrounded by an isolation core, yet proves superior to IPTV, which is limited by bandwidth and distance. IPTV also requires expensive new equipment and software updates. On the other hand, 4.5 GHz RF cables have an extremely broad bandwidth and allows blazing fast data transfer speeds, offering a simple solution for facility-wide media distribution without impacting an IP network.
IPTV gets its glow from popular consumer services such as Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Apple and others; the problem is that the technology does not scale well to individual commercial facilities. For a sports arena, deploying HD streams over coax can cost a tenth of delivering the same streams over Ethernet. Latency for RF channels averages a half a second versus 8 seconds for IPTV, making for a far better fan experience. Why pay more for the same content that arrives long after the live action occurs?
It’s no wonder why this fully integrated content solution is at work at many sports venues, as well as office buildings, college campuses, factories, houses of worship, sports bars, entertainment restaurants, and more.
The values of efficiency, simplicity, and low latency have convinced venues and consultants to employ digital RF for live and subscription media delivery. In just the past year, both the Oklahoma Sooners and Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, have chosen RF over IPTV.
“RF coax is incredibly reliable. There’s no need for additional servers, support, gear or additional maintenance,” says Ricketts. “Plus, our control system allows you to easily turn displays on/off or schedule. You can start small and scale up using the same cable and system. The list goes on and on. It works today, isn’t expensive to implement, and doesn’t need a new department or staff to just to keep it going.”
Despite all the advances in technology, nothing beats the classic, versatile and ubiquitous RF coax cable for media delivery and control. At Contemporary Research, we lead the market in audio/visual solutions for HDTV and display management. Even as we engineer next generation solutions with eyes focused on the future, we still rely on the trusty and affordable RF coax cable as a simple yet superior method for broadcasting content.