Digital Cable - Friend or Foe?
Digital cable may seem at one hand to be a retail foe, but, at the end of the day, it may well be a friend that will assist the A/V retailer in selling products and satisfying customers.
At the most basic level, digital cable is the use of digital compression and a specific modulation scheme to increase the capacity, or utilization, of the bandwidth available in a CATV system.
Looking at it another way, digital cable is no different than any use of digital compression, be it DBS, over-the-air DTV, or DVD in that regard. You have a given "pipe" size that you want to fit more material through, so you compress it on one end, figure out a means to deliver it through the pipe, and then you decompress it at the other end. As with other uses of digital TV, this increased space can be put to use to either present more programs or running time, as DVD and DBS do, it can be used to transmit the bandwidth-hogging HDTV signals, as broadcast TV does, or it can be used in a combination of ways, as digital broadcast satellite and terrestrial broadcasters ultimately will.