Digital Master Antenna Television (MATV) is a technology used to service multiple use facilities with a number of television outlets from one antenna system.
MATV is the means by which many multi-storey buildings, hotels and schools distribute TV and FM signals to a number of receivers.
In order to accomplish this without a loss of signal quality, these systems must be carefully planned and engineered through the effective use of MATV equipment and techniques.
An MATV system is basically a network of cables with specially designed components that process and amplify TV and FM signals and then, distribute them from one central location .
This eliminates the need for multiple antenna, which, as well as being unsightly, would deliver an inferior quality signal as the antennas would interfere with each other.
A modern MATV system can carry analogue and digital television signals through an aerial, both free-to-view and subscription, FM radio and DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) but it cannot carry satellite signals.
Some MATV systems in use today are over 30-years old and many are unsuitable for carrying digital television signals. These will need to be surveyed and may require modification or replacement.
In a typical MATV system:
- The aerial is a conventional UHF TV aerial, receiving both analogue and digital TV signals.
- Signals received by the aerial are then processed. In systems that have not been modified to carry digital, it is usually this processing that restricts or prevents the digital signals from being handled correctly, as the processors are only designed to handle analogue TV signals.
- A distribution network then delivers all television signals to a socket outlet in each area. There can be more than one outlet per area, but only one TV set can be connected to each outlet.
- How the distribution network is configured will depend on the number of areas and floors in the building.