AFN moves to HD, introduces decoder with DVR
The American Forces Network (AFN) is improving services later this summer by transitioning its broadcast signal from analog, standard definition, to digital, high definition (HD). This change provides viewers with a much more dynamic viewing experience including sharper, crisper detail, and advanced interactive capabilities.
“We are excited to bring these changes to our audience members, to continue to bring that touch of home and to make sure that we are responsive in continuing to improve for our audience members,” says Col. David W. Honchul, Director of the American Forces Radio and Television Service.
AFN will broadcast all channels in HD. However, HD may not be available in all areas because some base infrastructures are not able to distribute the HD signal under their current configuration. AFN is in the process of contacting installation contracting offices with cable franchise agreements, the Exchanges and units operating cable systems to inform them of what steps are required to deliver in HD or avoid a service disruption. Additionally, for the AFN Direct-to-Sailor (DTS) audience, ships will not receive true HD but the video quality will be vastly improved and there should be no interruption in services during the transition.
“For most of our Direct-to-Home, or DTH, viewing audience, they already have what they need to receive all AFN channels in HD where it is available. However, some viewers with older model decoders will have to upgrade their decoder box to continue to receive AFN,” says Honchul. AFN viewers with analog decoders will have to purchase or lease a digital decoder. The Cisco 9865 decoder is the only existing decoder model that will continue to work after the transition to HD.
Viewers who receive AFN’s DTH service through a satellite dish and decoder will now have the ability to upgrade to a new decoder with many more features and functionality. “With the improvement of technology worldwide, we are able to develop this new decoder which is less expensive but more capable. It includes DVR capability so viewers can record AFN programs and watch at their convenience,” explains Honchul. The new decoder, AFN7500HD, will be available at Exchanges and through GSA Advantage.
AFN technologists are available 24/7 to help with technical issues and answer questions about decoders. For more information about the AFN signal transition, new decoder, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), and to subscribe for updates, go to myafn.net/AFNHD