DigiTAG seeks to inform members and non-members about important developments in the digital terrestrial television market. Each month, DigiTAG distributes its web letter with news updates and further exploration of one topic.
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DVB-T2-Lite: a new option for mobile broadcasting
Last July, the DVB Steering Board approved a new specification profile targeted at mobile broadcast services. Known as DVB-T2-Lite, this new specification brings together a subset of the very efficient existing DVB terrestrial television standard DVB-T2 with some extensions specifically aimed at addressing receivers that are incorporated in portable or handheld devices.
Already, the specification has attracted much attention. It has been tested by the BBC and showcased successfully on the DVB stand at IBC 2011. However, questions remain regarding the commercial prospects for any mobile broadcasting standard given the limited success of similar standards in the past.
The DVB-T2 standard is a highly flexible system that allows network planners to select the appropriate modes to use based on the needs of their terrestrial broadcast network. Because many of the features of DVB-T2 allow it to be suitable for mobile and handheld usage, it was possible to develop a new specification, DVB-T2-Lite, from a selection of its features.
Features of the DVB-T2-Lite specification include:
As a result of these requirements, the silicon chip size in a DVB-T2-Lite demodulator is 50% smaller than that in a DVB-T2 demodulator and considerable power savings are possible. In addition, two new LDPC error control code rates, 1/3 and 2/5, have been added to the DVB-T2-Lite profile that were not in the normal DVB-T2 standard to offer additional robustness necessary with mobile reception.
This allowed for reception of the one of each of the two streams as appropriate onto an HDTV receiver and a small screen handheld receiver.
Commercial prospects for DVB-T2-Lite
DVB-T2-Lite allows service providers to offer broadcast television services to mobile and portable devices. Should video consumption on mobile devices continue to increase at its current rate, the use of a broadcast network can help to reduce congestion on mobile broadband networks. However, much of its success will depend on the business model adopted, consumer demand and the availability of receivers, and the regulatory regime put in place.
The DVB-T2-Lite profile is available in the annex of the draft DVB-T2 specification version 1.3.1. Following its approval by the DVB Steering Board, DVB-T2-Lite is now following the ETSI standardisation process which is expected to be completed in April 2012. Already, receivers are expected to enter the market in 2012/2013. The next generation of DVB-T2 receivers are expected to include the DVB-T2-Lite profile which means that a sizeable receiver population could exist in a short period of time. This will subsequently encourage service providers to address these receivers.
The DVB-T2 standard is currently in the process of roll-out in many countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. the gradual increase in the availability of DVB-T2-Lite services and receivers, could ensure future flexibility to incorporate mobile services in such markets at the appropriate time.
Source: Natalie Mouyal, on behalf of the DigiTAG Project Office
DigiTAG aims to encourage and facilitate the implementation and introduction of digital terrestrial television services using the Digital Video Broadcasting Project's Standard (DVB-T). It has some 50 members from broadcasting, network operators, regulatory, and manufacturing organisations throughout Europe and beyond.
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DTT NEWS ROUND-UP
For access to the full articles archive, please go to DigiTAG News
Spain - Government agrees digital migration plan
In its last cabinet meeting, the Socialist government approved the frequency plan for the period between July 2012 and 31 December 2014.
This plan puts in place the migration of those DTT services that currently make use of the frequencies from 790-862 MHz to frequencies below 790 MHz. The frequencies from 790-862 MHz have been allocated for the provision of mobile broadband services.
Slovakia - Two applicants for DTT license
The communications regulator Slovak Telecommunications Office (TU SR) announced that it has received two applicants for its tender to operate the fourth DTT multiplex.
Applications were received from Telecom Corp and the broadcast network operator Towercom.
Source: TU SR website
Italy - Over 2 million pay-DTT subscribers
The commercial broadcaster Mediaset published its financial results for the nine month period ending 30 September.
As can be expected, profits and revenue are down in comparison with the same period last year. However, its pay-DTT service, Mediaset Premium, continues to increase its revenues despite the overall market slowdown.
Source: Mediaset press release
Australia - Terrestrial viewers at all-time high
According to the industry group Free TV Australia, 14.3 million people watch terrestrial television services each day. This figure represents a 7 year high.
The increase in terrestrial viewers has been more pronounced in rural areas which increased its audience share by 13%. In urban areas, the number of terrestrial viewers increased by 5%.
Source: Rapid TV News
France - 5% tax on DTT license re-sale
The Senate has approved an amendment that would apply a tax of up to 5% to the sale of DTT frequency licenses. The tax would only apply to those DTT licenses obtained from the broadcast regulator, CSA, at no charge.
With this amendment, the Senate seeks curb speculation on DTT license holders, or at least benefit from it. Most recently, the media group Canal+ acquired 60% of Direct 8 and Direct Star, both on the DTT platform, from the media group Bolloré for €279 millions. Bolloré had acquired Direct Star for €70 million in 2010 and Direct 8 free-of-charge from the CSA.
United Kingdom - ASO completed in East Anglia
Analogue switch-off has been completed in Norfolk and north Suffolk with the switch-off of the analogue channels BBC 1, ITV, Channel 4 and Five.
The process began on 9 November with the switch-off of the analogue channel BBC 2. Following this switch-off, the coverage of DTT services was expanded to reach 96% of the population in the region of East Anglia, up from 57%.
Source: Digital UK website
Hungary - 850,000 DTT viewers
According to information published by the DTT platform operator Antenna Hungaria, 850,000 households own at least one DTT receiver.
The free-to-air DTT platform, MinDig TV, is used by 300,000 households for their primary television services while the pay-DTT platform, MinDig TV Extra, has more than 42,000 subscribers.
Source: Antenna Hungaria website
France - DVB-T2 trial in Rennes
The CSA has authorised the broadcast network operator TDF to begin a trial of the DVB-T2 standard in the northwestern city of Rennes.
The DVB-T2 trial will take place on channel 43 from two transmission sites. The trial will last for a 6 month period beginning on 20 October 2011.
Source: CSA website