Visiting the satellites

By John Nixon 02/01/2010

Greetings from New Caledonia and a very Happy New Year to all our friends and readers.

I thought that many of you would be interested to see a pictorial visit to the Verizon (USA) ’Super Headend’ where all the hundreds of television channels are brought together and dispatched out to their nearly 1 million Fios (FTTH) subscribers across the United States.

Verizon's satellite head-end. Source: Engadget
Verizon's satellite head-end. Source: Engadget

Yes, they use RF Overlay for their broadcast channels plus IPTV for their Video on Demand.

Just before I left Auckland to spend the festive season with my family here in Noumea, I had the opportunity to be given a detailed tour of the SKY TV headquarters in Mt Wellington (an Auckland suburb).

My enthusiastic and expert guide, Mr Wayne Tibby, took me through this quite gigantic place, which resembled closely the Verizon installations.

When you arrive by car at SKY TV, the entrance is via a narrow laneway, surrounded by brick cottages. When you drive in, you have no idea of the extent of their installations. They are perched on a flat hill-top, giving their satellite antenna farm a clear shot skywards.

Wayne explained that they had just converted to HD (high definition) transmissions, and this required a massive change-over of equipment and subsequent investment. They had also recently converted their storage from tape to disk, and their total disk capacity runs into multiple petabytes.

Well done SKY!

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