American satellite broadcaster DIRECTV and technology provider Thomson have upgraded their digital distribution system for multi-home developments. The system receives a satellite feeds through a private head-end and distributes signals using internet protocols to multiple homes in apartment blocks or gated communities. The platform enables bundles of video, voice, data and interactive services to be delivered over a single connection.

The system is known as MFH3 or multi-family housing version 3. To accelerate deployment of the technology, DIRECTV has established new strategic partnerships with systems integrators, including fibre network company AFL Telecommunications.

The latest version more than doubles the number of receivers that can be supported and enables the insertion of local feeds such as security cameras and other on-site video services.

“Customers in multi-family housing, whether they live in large vertical or garden-style buildings, not only have a superior alternative to cable, they now have access to virtually all of our services and technology, from HD to international programming,” said Tony Goncalves, who is responsible for telco and multi-dwelling units for DIRECTV. “MFH3 is also ideal for new fibre infrastructure systems integrators and telcos that are building out new fibre plants.”

“This new version represents a sophisticated evolution of our pioneering MFH3 platform,” said Georges Laplanche of Thomson. “MFH3 maintains its status as the industry benchmark for the delivery of triple-play services over a satellite infrastructure in the multi-dwelling and master planned community markets.”

The companies say the system is “not to be confused with IPTV” but the hybrid satellite and internet protocol delivery system certainly compete directly with comparable cable and telco television services, without the need for each home to have its own dish.