What’s the best option for TV in a hospital?

The entrance to the newly constructed Kaiser Permanente San Diego Medical Center hospital s shown in San Diego, California, U.S., April 17, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake - RTS12P49

Live TV is alive and well in America’s hospitals. Try to think of a time you’ve been to a hotel room that didn’t have a TV in it. Not only that, many hotels have truly embarrassing Wi-Fi if they have it at all. They also tend to have poor cell service due to the amount of wiring and shielding in hotel walls. Live TV is, for hospitals, where it’s at.

Yet, many hospitals are still clinging to older standard-definition setups. It’s not just a matter of cost. Many TV installers will very wisely avoid hospitals. There are all sorts of issues with drilling holes and opening up closed spaces in hospitals. There are state and federal regulations about dust control when you’re renovating hospitals, and for good reason: you don’t want to dislodge a long-dormant microbe.

This leaves recovering patients with standard-definition TV service. While that may not be the worst part of a hospital stay, it’s not exactly going to take your mind off your pain.

The solution: A new DIRECTV headend

Hospitals probably use headend systems already. A headend is a system that combines multiple channels of TV onto a single cable. Older headends are huge, taking up whole equipment closets and requiring their own ventilation. The new DIRECTV headends are tiny in comparison. Think about two old-school VCR’s stacked one on top of the other, or a large dresser drawer, and you’re in the right ballpark. Yet, these new marvels can provide up to 160 channels of HD and even send 4K out.

The best part of these new headend systems is that in most cases, installation is easy. Here’s the way a typical system goes in:

  1. Disconnect a single wire from the old headend.
  2. Connect that wire to the new headend.

Seriously, that’s it. In some cases, a small converter box is used at the TV to make sure the copy protection baked into the system still works. In some cases, it may be necessary to look at the cable runs and replace any connections that have become corroded over time. But honestly, installing a headend is just about as easy as it gets.

Where’s the best place to get a headend for a hospital?

Well, friends, this is The Solid Signal Blog, I have a feeling you’ll know the answer. For the most part, we don’t sell that sort of thing online since it needs to be configured to order. The customer chooses the number of channels to be provided. (The hospital pays per channel, per month.) Any channels supplied by DIRECTV can be chosen. Then, the system is configured and tested. Finally it’s crated up to be shipped to the hospital site where it can be installed.

If you’re looking for a solution for a hospital or for any commercial or industrial building, call my friends at Signal Connect, the commercial arm of Solid Signal. You’ll find helpful professionals who will work you through the entire process. The number is 888-233-7563. If it’s after business hours, fill out the form below and one of the helpful consultants will get back to you, usually within about one business day.

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.