It’s hard to believe it was 20 years ago when viewers in the Cayman Islands were able to turn on their televisions and get channels through a local cable company.
There were only 10 channels available back then, but for many who had only experienced television when visiting overseas, it was a major step into a new age.
WestStar was that pioneer all those years ago, and now, in 2013, it has gone from being a little cable company to a major player on the local media and communications scene.
The company has also moved with technology trends along the way. The original service was analogue-based, but went digital a number of years ago, allowing for additional channels and packages with upgraded quality.
“Analogue created limitations on the number of channels we could broadcast,” says Vanessa Hansen of WestStar.
“We had a lot of challenges in the early days, getting the right licences to get those channels up. Moving to digital really changed things, allowing us to send more information, expand channel offerings and add different packages.”
The cable boxes have evolved, and HD channels have been introduced to the lineup, producing crisp, clear resolution the likes of which has not been seen before.
Nowadays, there is a wide range of packages to suit all viewing preferences and budgets, including speciality channels for Filipino, Indian and Spanish members of the community.
DVR capability has also been included, allowing subscribers to pause, rewind and record television shows, along with PPV channels that cover, for example, major sporting events.
Fibre optic technology is now in Cayman, and WestStar is one of several companies bringing it to homes and businesses, one conduit at a time.
At present it is being laid along the Seven Mile Beach corridor with plans to expand into the other districts based on demand and location.
Fibre optics bring a whole new world of possibilities to consumers, with no need for an antenna, and use a much smaller box. Connection to the television centre comes direct via fibre optics to your home or business.
It means no bandwidth limitations, enabling channels to be used for private purposes such as monitoring security cameras, or bringing the live feed of a school event to parents. It is an excellent alternative to streaming online.
WestStar is already in the testing phase of PrimeTime On Demand, a subscription-based service available through a web portal that will enable subscribers to access shows they missed on their favourite channels.
For 20 years, WestStar has been making life more entertaining and, with this latest technology, Cayman’s television and communication companies are beaming a little bit more of the world straight into our homes.