Solid Signal is your headend HQ

A headend. It’s not for everyone. It’s a system that takes a bunch of different TV receivers and combines all their signals so they can travel on a single wire. You’ve seen headends before. You’ll find them in hotels, hospitals, sometimes even corporate offices. Maybe you didn’t think about them. Maybe you were unimpressed. It’s time to take another look.

What a headend does

A headend makes it possible to send a lot of TV signals over one wire without a lot of expense. Let’s say you had a hotel or hospital. You could put a satellite TV or cable TV box in each room. This is done with DIRECTV using their DIRECTV Residential Experience product, for example. However, there’s a cost to get receivers in every room and the cost of wiring is fairly high.

Using a headend, all the equipment goes into a central closet. Wiring is a lot easier and the number of receivers equals the number of channels you want. That’s why you’ll find hotels only have 30 or 40 channels, sometimes less. Every channel you add costs money.

A headend does this little trick by using modulators. These modulators make it possible for more than one channel to travel down a wire. It’s not a hard trick, but it’s needed in order to have simple wiring.

Why you’ve scoffed at headends before

I spend a lot of time in hotels because I travel to meet our vendors and go to trade shows. And let me tell you, most hotel TV sucks. It looks bad. It sounds bad. and it is bad. Especially if you stay in a non-chain hotel. So, I wouldn’t blame you if you thought all headends were quite frankly, crap.

They don’t have to be.

A lot of headend systems in use today are still standard definition. The owners take beat up standard definition signals, put them into a headend, and then program the TVs to stretch them so they look all warped. Then they let the whole system sit for years without calling technicians in to check it. That’s the reason for the poor quality TV that you tend to find in a lot of hotels.

A headend doesn’t have to be like that. Really, a high-definition headend costs only a tiny bit more than a standard definition one and the service cost is usually about the same. You could be getting great TV in your hotel if the owner chose to upgrade.

That’s where Solid Signal comes in.

We are your headend source. We can help building owners and operators choose the right equipment so that the TV signal is as good as it can be. We can craft headend equipment that’s barely larger than an old VCR but still has up to 100 channels. We can put together a system that can be tweaked over the internet so no one needs to come onsite to fix a problem.

There are so many options out there for headend systems, and they all start with a call to Signal Connect, our corporate sales arm. Their number is 888-233-7563.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.