What is Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), and how is it different from analog cable service? Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is a method of distributing television content over IP (ie: broadband) that enables a more customized and interactive user experience. Swiftel delivers IPTV using its private Fiber to the Home (FTTH) optical network system to deliver services instead of the traditional radio frequency broadcast, satellite signal, and cable TV formats. IPTV enables interactive features, hundreds of channels with many new features and capabilities being developed. The most visible piece of the system, which is located in your home, is the set-top-box (STB); the computer based piece of equipment that decodes and decrypts TV content and displays it on the TV screen.

In a typical TV or satellite network using broadcast video technology, the content constantly flows downstream to each customer, and the customer switches the content at the STB. The customer can only select from the choices that the cable or satellite company can fit into the “pipe” flowing into the home. Swiftel’s switched IP network works differently. Content remains in the network, essentially a holding place, and only the content you select is sent into your home. That frees up bandwidth, and your choice of content is less restricted by the size of the “pipe” into your home. An IP-based platform also allows significant opportunities to make the TV viewing experience more interactive and personalized. For example, the interactive program guide allows you to search for content by title or actor’s name and gives you the ability to adjust parental controls.

What is a stream? A stream is like a connection to the network.  Each connection you have to the network allows you to select a channel for viewing or for recording with your Digital Video Recorder (DVR) service.  It is possible to view a stream (or use a connection) in multiple locations within your home.  However, you cannot watch multiple channels simultaneously on a single stream, so picture-in-picture options will not function. Each stream is accessed by setting your television to a designated channel.

If your STB is a three-stream Entone Hydra, each of your remotes will have a number on the battery cover on the back of the remote which indicates which stream that remote has been programmed to control. You will want to confirm that your television is tuned to the channel that correlates to the stream number on the remote. On a multi-stream Hydra STB, stream 1 is considered the primary stream where features like true HD and Pause Live TV are only available. 

What are some Set Top Box (STB) placement considerations? The STB should be placed in an area that is ventilated with no less than 2 inches of clearance space above the STB. Do not place anything on top of the STB’s. The STB should be plugged directly into an electrical wall outlet or into a high quality power strip designed for audio/video applications.

How is operating the remote different from what I’m used to? The remote supplied with your STB is a universal remote. It can be programmed to operate multiple devices. Your remote can also be programmed to control one television, and one other device, such as your VCR/DVD or surround sound system. The Swiftel TV technician will program each remote to operate with the appropriate stream through your STB. Across the top of the remote are the 3 buttons that you will use to indicate which device you are operating; the STB, TV, and AUX buttons will each light up to indicate which is active.

Since a stream can be viewed on multiple televisions within your home, you may find it beneficial to purchase additional remotes that are programmed to operate the same stream. For example, if you have a television in your kitchen that will be sharing stream 3 with another television located in a bedroom, you may want 2 remotes programmed to operate stream 3. Additional remotes can be purchased at the Swiftel office.

Do I need to turn off the STB when I am not viewing TV? No, the STB is made to stay on for improved performance and to be ready to respond when you wish to watch TV. When you are done watching, press the TV button or STB button (if programmed to control the TV) and then the Power button to turn the television off. When you are ready to watch again, press the Power button to turn the television back on.

Where can I go to learn how to use some of the features of my video service?

• Tune to Channel 30 where you will find directions to a channel with a tutorial video and other resources, which are available to assist you.

• When your video service is installed, the Swiftel TV technician will provide you with a Digital Video User’s Guide (also available under the Support menu) which will explain many of the features and settings available.

• Call Customer Support at 605-696-HELP (4357).