All About DatacastingDatacasting is when information is sent across a wide geographical area using radio waves. In the new digital television age, this information provides all of the information about a broadcast. Experts in the field limit the use of the data casting term to also include the transmission of digital signals to analog equipment, such as a standard radio. However, the term is not relevant to alternate digital streams that are included with a standard digital transmission, such as in the case with virtual channels that are a part of direct broadcast satellite services. Also, datacasting is not associated with cable or satellite modem data transmissions.
The most common application of data casting is found in the information that is released by a television station that is broadcasting a digital channel. The station uses a combination of several pieces of equipment, including digital television transmitters, to provide two distinct streams. The first is that actual programming that is being aired and the data cast is supplemental information about the programming. Another example of datacasting being used is with mobile phones. Many newer models are equipped with the ability to receive streams of information, such as with news, stock market updates, traffic problems, or weather conditions.
In the United States, there are several different companies providing a range of services in the data broadcasting industry. The most famous of these services is the TV Guide On Screen, which is a listing of all television programs that can be seen by a consumer. As part of the new digital television packages, the guides are set up differently to match the particular channels that are offered in different geographical locations and media markets. Other data broadcasting services include Ambient Information Network and DirectBand, both of which offer users a collection of subscription based information that are relevant to a local area, such as movie showtimes and traffic conditions.