Digital TV Labs Launches DVB-T Receiver RF Test Suite for Top 50 Trouble-Spots Across Europe

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007 
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BRISTOL, UK — Digital TV manufacturers can now guarantee front-end receiver performance in Europe’s most challenging DVB-T locations, with the launch of the first lab-based Radio Frequency (RF) test suite for benchmarking digital terrestrial receivers against the top 50 DVB-T trouble spots across Europe. Launched by Digital TV Labs, the RF Test Suite consists of benchmarked RF captures that will enable chip and receiver manufacturers to validate front-end performance for Europe’s most difficult field conditions in reproducible and repeatable lab conditions, in any worldwide location. As a result, manufacturers can for the first time address a major cause of product return rates and minimise the need for lengthy and costly field testing in locations across Europe.

Conventional lab test equipment can never replicate the complex real network reception conditions across Europe, so manufacturers need to field test receivers to validate RF performance. However, with ever-changing network conditions and switchover programs in full swing across 20 European countries, finding and visiting the RF trouble-spots to field test every receiver variant is a huge undertaking. The Digital TV Labs’ RF Test Suite allows manufacturers to “Virtual Field Test” their receivers, accurately reproducing field conditions in a lab environment and ensuring products work effectively in Europe’s biggest DVB-T trouble-spots.

Fresco Microchip, a developer of leading edge RF, mixed-signal, and digital signal processing integrated circuits (ICs), has used the Digital TV Labs RF Test Suite to hone its ultra-small FM2080, the industry’s first single-chip hybrid receiver for DVB-T markets.

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“As the evolution from analogue to digital broadcasting gathers pace, digital TV manufacturers are demanding leading edge chips that will guarantee a high level of performance across Europe,” said Mike Gittings, VP Marketing, Sales and Applications of Fresco Microchip. “Digital TV Labs’ field test services and Virtual Test Suite enabled Fresco Microchip to accurately reproduce a variety of difficult European reception conditions to optimise our FM2080 single-chip Hybrid demodulator for every DVB-T region.”

“Using DTV Labs Virtual Test Suite, Fresco’s FM2080, exceeded a number of known challenging performance benchmarks, each important to high quality digital television broadcast,” said Keith Potter, CEO of Digital TV Labs.

“As digital TV manufacturers expand into new European markets, brand perception is key to gaining an advantage in this highly competitive sector. DVB-T trouble-spots can significantly hamper the performance of front-end receivers, leading to high product return rates and customer churn, and lasting damage to a brand’s reputation. By taking advantage of our lab-based RF testing, manufacturers can ensure products work in even the most challenging DVB-T locations in Europe, while reducing costs and speeding up time-to-market in all European regions,” added Potter.

Digital TV Labs is continuously touring Europe, collecting static and mobile analogue, DVB-T and DVB-H recordings across the complete spectrum in order to identify and record the most difficult RF conditions or trouble-spots. Companies with suitable play-out equipment can purchase the RF Test suite as a library of RF captures or can submit their receivers for a Virtual Field Test at the Digital TV Labs Bristol Test Centre.