With Hardy Telecommunications preparing to offer television for the first time via a new fiber-to-the-home network, the company gave its Youth Advisory Board a detailed view of the technology that makes it all possible.
The students visited Hardy’s South Fork Office, which houses much of the equipment that will be used to deliver OneNet services to Hardy County residents. Hardy Video/Internet Technician Philip Miller explained how the system works over the Internet.
Hardy receives television signals via large satellite dishes located at the South Fork office. The signals for different stations are decoded and then transformed into a signal that can be distributed via Internet. The Internet signal is then transported through fiber-optic cables connected directly to residents’ homes.
“With this system, Hardy County will have one of the most technologically advanced telecommunications networks in West Virginia,” Philip said.
Derek Barr, Hardy’s marketing and human resources director, stressed that Hardy OneNet television is not like DirecTV or Dish Network satellite TV. The satellite dishes at Hardy’s South Fork Office are much larger and more powerful than those attached to customer homes with those providers, so they are not affected by typical storms passing over, for example. Because fiber-optics can carry so much more data than wireless, satellite or copper cable, the connection provides a clearer, more reliable picture, and there is no satellite dish placed on a customer’s house.
“That doesn’t even take into account the faster Internet speeds that will be available with OneNet,” Derek added.
With OneNet, Hardy will offer standard Internet connection speeds of 5 Mbps, 15 Mbps and 25 Mbps.
“Streaming and downloading video is a much better experience on fiber,” Derek said. “If you’re downloading a 2 GB movie, for example, it will take almost three hours with a 1.5 Mbps connection. At 25 Mbps, that same download is about 10 minutes.”
Derek also gave the students a demonstration of the Program Guide used by OneNet and some of the new features that will be available. In addition to the usual DVR recording capabilities familiar to TV subscribers, OneNet also will have a feature called Restart TV. With Restart TV, viewers can go backward in the Program Guide up to 48 hours and watch a previously aired program in its entirety.
“Let’s say you missed the big game unexpectedly, so you didn’t set it to record to DVR,” he said. “With Restart, all you have to do is go backward in the guide to that game and watch it as it was originally broadcast, without having to record anything.”
Derek said Hardy hopes to start offering OneNet by summer in Moorefield and some other county locations. The fiber network will be built out to other areas in Hardy County over the next couple of years. Details like channel lineups and pricing should be released very soon, he said.
Hardy formed its Youth Advisory Board in 2007 to educate students about Hardy Telecommunications and the telecommunications industry, and for the students to share their ideas and thoughts about technology important to them. The group is comprised of students from East Hardy and Moorefield high schools.
This year’s Youth Advisory Board members are Paula Smith, East Hardy junior; Krysten Ayers, Moorefield junior; Ian Im, East Hardy sophomore; MaKayla Miller, Moorefield sophomore; RaeAnn Orndorff, East Hardy freshman; and Josh Ograbisz, Moorefield freshman.