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A word of thanks to Nick Bradford

Latest News / A word of thanks to Nick Bradford

As we celebrate our recent acquisition by Uniguest, it is only right that we acknowledge the guiding hand that steered MediaStar Systems for so many of the last thirty years, playing a key role in its enduring success – Nick Bradford.

Nick was our managing director from 1992 until he handed over the reins to Shaun Oxenham in 2015, at which point he took on a more strategic role.

“It was time for change and Shaun’s fresh drive and approach moved the company forward. It’s why we are now part of Uniguest and I couldn’t be more delighted,” Nick said following the acquisition news.

The early days

Nick is modest about his early career as a recording engineer, but his skills were put to good use mixing albums for no less than Genesis, Elton John, Gong and Adam Ant. Then his inveterate habit of tinkering with technology led him to an increasing interest in satellite TV technology, and he claims that it was only because he was handy with a screwdriver that he became technical director at Megasat in the mid 1980’s.

As one of the first UK companies involved in satellite TVRO’s, Megasat enabled commercial customers, the military and universities to access TV and data content being transmitted via international satellites feeds across the world.  He also gained experience building and connecting cable TV head-ends, both in the UK and Europe and in 1990, took this expertise with him to Cabletime, which had just been acquired by Carlton Communications Plc.  

“In 1990 cable TV was starting to gain traction and growing in popularity. We had success with our system CableStar, an off-premise decoder, but there were a number of significant teething problems with it, both technical which we could solve, and external political and regulatory issues which we could not,” he said. In the event Carlton was dissatisfied with progress and restructured the management of the company. Accordingly, Nick was appointed managing director in 1992 to oversee a period of significant change.

Cable TV was growing, but that technology was firmly focussed on the home subscriber market. “It just wasn’t appropriate for corporate use,” Nick said. “We saw there was an opportunity for us to meet a corporate demand for TV distribution to screens and desktops in the workplace.”

It was at this point that the technical team at Cabletime developed MediaStar Pro, an analogue product designed to deliver multiple TV signals over the CAT-5 cable network infrastructure, then the network standard of most corporate clients.

This was a turning point, allowing organisations to determine who needed what TV content, where and when, delivered to multiple locations, and all with the means to manage moves and changes from the plant room. Some long-term customers are still using MediaStar Pro today.

Digital arrives

In 1999 Nick headed up the first part of a management buyout of Cabletime from the Carlton Group with the help of Christopher Smith, later Chairman of the company.  The second part of the MBO was completed in 2001.

At this point the company embarked on a complete change of direction towards digital switching, introducing the Evolution IPTV product in 2001. This has set the tone for product development ever since.

“We continued to support MediaStar Pro, but by developing an IP-based product we had to start again from the bottom up,” he said. “It wasn’t easy, there were massive technical problems to be solved as well as a certain resistance from IT network managers ‘not on my network!’ but as the networks in organisations improved, so too did our products that worked on them.”


Having secured its independence, Cabletime was able to set its sights beyond the UK and Nick worked with the sales team to set up an office in the United States. Distribution of the product range was also secured in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Over the past twenty years, the product range has expanded, the number of customers has grown exponentially, and the brand has changed from Cabletime to MediaStar Solutions, honouring the product name that has been a feature since the very early days.

Even after stepping down from his managing directorship, Nick has remained involved as the Founding Director and his mark can be seen on much of the technical and product content on our website.

His influence is threaded through the company and is part of what made it so attractive to our new owners, Uniguest. We are sure that all of our customers, partners and friends in the industry wish Nick all the very best for the future, just as we do, knowing that he will be keeping a benevolent eye on us as we start our new journey.