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What Going Digital Means for Cardio Equipment

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Due to a Federal Communications Commission Ruling allowing cable companies to encrypt signals to provide more HD content, many cable companies require a set-top box and a battery-operated, hand-held remote control for each piece of cardio equipment. You may have already experienced these changes with your cable providers, and over the past two months COX cable has been rolling out its new requirements to customers.

Some of these requirements remain unclear. Let’s start with the cable boxes themselves. The cable boxes now have built-in tuners so they are doing most of the work with regard to distributing the signal to your TVs. Your TV, whether attached to your piece of cardio equipment or embedded into the console, receives the signal from the individual cable box.  A battery-operated remote control from the cable provider will be required, since controlling the actual cable box is necessary. Similar to installing a cable or satellite box at your home, you would set your TV channel on the cardio equipment to channel three or four, and then use the battery-operated remote control to change channels by pointing the remote at the cable box.

Now at home this may be easy to manage, but in a fitness club environment, the battery operated remote control poses quite a few challenges including: where and how to connect it to your cardio equipment, changing of batteries, sanitation issues and making sure members are not changing the channels of other TVs. Most of the battery-operated remote controls uses IR control and usually the IR channels are the same for all of your cable boxes. So, if your cardio equipment is close together, it’s not uncommon for a member to accidentally change the channel of another TV close by.

Since most clubs do not have individual coaxial cables for each piece of cardio equipment going into an AV closet, the easiest installation is to have them install the cable boxes next to the cardio equipment. The cable boxes are getting quite small and can fit in many of the raceway systems provided by the cardio equipment manufacturers.

The information may be quite discouraging to many, but there are solutions available to make these new requirements more manageable.

Mark Blake is the chief operating officer at Broadcastvision Entertainment. He can be reached at markb@broadcastvision.com or 888.330.4283 x 102. 

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