Starz Chief Offers Alternative to Increase Capacity for HD Cable

A the NCTA National Show this week, John Sie founder and CEO of Starz Encore Group discussed using a technology that the company claims would allow cable and satellite operators to deliver many more HD channels than current technology allows.

The technology uses Hi-Def/Hi-Res Statistical Multiplexing to deliver material more efficiently, according to Sie.

"I am asking my fellow programmers and distributors to use the Hi-Def/Hi-Res Stat Mux to transmit program by program in the most efficient mode," Sie said. "A network that runs movies and sporting events, for example, might use 480i for films and 1080i for sporting events. We believe premium programmers, such as HBO, Showtime and STARZ! Have less than 5 percent of air time which needs full Hi-Def 1080i transmission."

Sie says that by using the Stat Mux with 6 MHz common reservoir for occasional 1080i transmissions, cable operators can deliver up to 24 channels of full HD material using only 30 MHz, compared to 72 MHz without Stat Mux.

Sie adds that the new bandwidth conservation system would not require any upgrades to consumer sets or additional investment in headend equipment.

Also at NCTA, Starz Encore Group announced that its new HD services will launch by the end of 2003 and will use PanAmSat's Galaxy IX and Galaxy XIII. Starz will use two transponders on Galaxy XI to distribute the feeds of STARZ! HD and STARZ Hi Res as well as Sharper Movies HD.