Gamewood offers Internet TV in Danville

Getting TV over broadband fiber is the best way to watch high definition television, one local provider says.

And without the city’s efforts to build out broadband with the nDanville network and its connection to the Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative, Danville-based Gamewood Technology Group wouldn’t be able to offer local internet protocol TV.

Last summer, Gamewood started offering TV over ethernet to anyone connected to the nDanville network, said Ed Wilborne, chief information officer. So far, that’s mostly businesses and some local apartment or condo complexes.

Watching video online or Netflix’s movie streaming is a type of internet protocol TV, Wilborne explained.

“Danville needs something to differentiate itself so businesses will locate here and people will stay,” Wilborne said about the network. “ … If we want to improve Danville we’ve got to bring technology to the area.”

Through the Mid-Atlantic Broadband fiber, Gamewood receives TV data from Citizens Telephone Cooperative in Floyd and then delivers it to customers over the open-access nDanville network. The already built infrastructure makes it more affordable for Gamewood to provide the service, which makes it more affordable for its customers.
“Gamewood would never be able to provide that service if it couldn’t get data from the provider,” said Danville City Manager Joe King.

Eventually, as Danville explores expanding fiber to homes in the city, the opportunity for residents to get such services would grow. In the initial fiber-to-home deployment, the city aims to finish connecting more than 400 homes in the West Main Street and Averett University area by the end March, said Jason Grey, Danville Utilities broadband network manager.

As high definition TV requires a lot of bandwidth, using direct fiber connection is the optimal option as it doesn’t lag. The fiber connection also helps for real-time video teleconferencing, King added.

The fiber capacity also enables Gamewood to offer more HD channels than it could with coaxial cable, Wilborne said.

The Ferrell Historic Lofts downtown is equipped to offer residents Gamewood’s IPTV service, said Josh Lipsky, project manager of Rehab Builders Inc.

“I think it’s pretty cool … It’s kind of ahead of the curve,” Lipsky said.

Major telecommunications providers like Verizon and Comcast are competing to offer services over fiber networks across the country.

Verizon’s FiOS TV service is delivered over a fiber-optic network from company offices to homes and businesses.

The company began offering FiOS in November 2005 and is available to 1.16 million homes and business in Hampton Roads and central and northern Virginia, but not in the Danville area, spokesman Harry Mitchell said.

Verizon FiOS isn’t “IP” TV but the company’s video on demand services and widgets use IPTV.