Axcera and WTVE-TV Demonstrate First-Ever ATSC M/H Mobile DTV Single Frequency Network

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Companies Convert World’s Largest Distributed Transmission System to ATSC M/H Operation

LAWRENCE, PA, U.S.A. — Axcera, a leading manufacturer and integrator of best-of-breed technology for the television broadcast, mobile media and broadband wireless access industries, and WTVE-TV Channel 51, a RNN affiliated commercial television station serving Reading, Pennsylvania, as well as Philadelphia, Wilmington and the Delaware River Valley, today announced the nation’s first trial deployment of ATSC-M/H Mobile DTV in a multi-transmitter Distributed Transmission System (DTS), also known as a Single Frequency Network (SFN).

Since 2007, WTVE has been operating the largest ATSC Distributed Transmission System (DTS) in the world. The system employs eight synchronized transmitters to blanket the WTVE coverage area, from Reading, Pennsylvania to the greater Philadelphia area and throughout the Delaware River Valley. In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of multi-transmitter networks for Mobile DTV, Axcera and WTVE converted this system to operate as the first-ever A/153 ATSC M/H system meeting the ATSC A/110B DTS standard.

The conversion to ATSC M/H and testing was completed in cooperation with prominent industry partners, including equipment providers Expway, Harmonic, Kenwood and LG Electronics. The headend includes Harmonic’s ProStream™ 4000 live multi-screen transcoders and Expway’s FastESG system, feeding an Axcera ATSC M/H Preprocessor/MUX and DTxA2C distributed transmission adapter. Each transmit site uses an Axcera “Axciter” Intelligent Modulator with DTS slave and M/H post-processor functionality. Testing is being done using professional and consumer receivers from Kenwood and LG. The coverage analysis and DTS system design was provided by the broadcast technology consulting firm Merrill Weiss Group, LLC. The system has been operating continuously since August 2009 with no problems.

“Axcera is the first and only transmitter company to deploy commercial ATSC distributed transmission systems, and is one of just a few manufacturers offering a complete ATSC M/H solution,” according to David Neff, president of Axcera. “Since ubiquitous coverage is critical for a successful mobile DTV service, we felt that we could leverage our position as innovators of both ATSC M/H and DTS, along with the capabilities of our valued partners, to promote the use of these ATSC-compliant technologies and demonstrate the great opportunity they offer to broadcasters.”

Todd Stewart, general manager of WTVE-TV Channel 51, agrees. “Since handheld devices are typically just a few feet off of the ground and can be moving at very high speeds throughout the coverage area, Mobile DTV requires a much more dense signal than broadcasting to home receivers. ATSC M/H offers excellent performance in the mobile environment, and combining this with DTS technology will allow us to ensure the best coverage possible to our viewers.”

Continued testing of the system is planned into early 2010, after which results and lessons learned will be provided to the industry.