DVB-T2 pilot project launched in Berlin

Monday, October 6th, 2014

MEDIA BROADCAST tests digital terrestrial television of the future

  • State-of-the-art compression standard HEVC/H.265 underlines innovation leadership role in Germany
  • Test bed provides the technical framework conditions for future development of consumer devices
  • Ulf Heggenberger: “All market players want DVB-T2 and are working together to advance the transition.”

COLOGNE / BERLIN — MEDIA BROADCAST GmbH, a leading operator of digital terrestrial TV and radio networks in Germany, launched a pilot project in Berlin today to test the new DVB-T2 standard. All leading TV broadcasters, relevant industry associations and many companies in the CE industry are involved as project partners. This trial is an important step on the way to implementing a DVB-T2 platform for the digital terrestrial television of the future.

MEDIA BROADCAST will use the pilot project which has a planned duration of 18 months to test TV broadcasting operations using DVB-T2, the technology which will replace today’s DVB-T, in combination with the HEVC/H.265 compression standard. This technology will make it possible to use existing frequencies more efficiently and to offer broader choice through more TV channels, while at the same time enabling high definition (HD) quality. For the receiver industry, the pilot project is a test bed for the practical development of future end user devices required to receive the new platform. This will ensure suitable receivers will become available in time in order to provide consumers with future-proof devices.

The DVB-T2 pilot project covers the entire broadcasting system chain, from the transmitter to the consumer device including the corresponding service platform. MEDIA BROADCAST is using it to test and analyse all system parameters in order to ensure smooth operation of the DVB-T2 platform being planned for 2016 and to allow for rapid availability of suitable end user devices. Testing and specification of the transition scenario from DVB-T to DVB-T2 is also part of the test environment. Another DVB-T2 trial is being performed by IRT/BR in Munich, with close coordination between the two projects.

The Berlin trial is supported by a group of renowned project partners including both TV broadcasters and CE manufacturers as well as industry associations. The project is supported by ARD, ZDF, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, ProSiebenSat.1, ARTE, Samsung, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Sony, Philips, Loewe, Humax, TechniSat, Rohde & Schwarz, Sagemcom, Funke and Broadcom. The involvement of Deutsche TV Plattform, VPRT, the DVB consortium and ZVEI ensures the indirect participation of many companies active in the industry and the required level of transparency.

Ulf Heggenberger, Director of Sales & Marketing at MEDIA BROADCAST, says: “The pilot project lets us show what DVB-T2 in combination with HEVC is capable of. We are thrilled that so many well-known market participants are taking part in this trial. Not only does this allow us to test the transmission of HD content with state of the art transmission technology including modern TV equipment and set-top-boxes under realistic conditions but the broad support also illustrates that the broadcasting industry really wants DVB-T2 and is jointly working on the transition to the new standard.”

The pilot project is directed at stationary and portable indoor reception. It is open to all companies and institutions involved in the digital supply chain. Ulf Heggenberger adds: “The Berlin pilot project is one of the largest trials of the DVB-T2 standard with HEVC/H.265. It underlines the fact that Germany as an innovation leader is playing an important role in the further development of digital broadcasting. We invite all interested parties to take part.”

The test signals are broadcast on channel 42 from the Alexanderplatz and Schäferberg transmitter sites (each at 50 kW ERP). Data rates between 18 and 28 Mbps are being achieved within the multiplex enabling up to seven HDTV channels to be broadcast. Channels both with and without signal protection as well as transmission of the MEDIA BROADCAST hybrid TV service multithek are being planned.

About DVB-T

The coverage of DVB-T in Germany remains at a consistently high level. The latest 2014 digitalisation report shows that by now a significant part of digital terrestrial reception takes place via PCs or laptops, portable consumer devices, TV receivers in cars and mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones.

According to the report, around 7.4 million households in Germany are now using DVB-T via a range of receivers. This corresponds with 18.5 percent of all TV households. With around 4 million households (10 percent), DVB-T reception using a TV set is largely remaining stable.

Core DVB-T regions in which both public and commercial TV channels can be received terrestrially record a much higher reach. In these areas, around 18 percent of households use DVB-T for reception on their TV set. The share of DVB-T in these regions rises to 27 percent if computers as well as portable and mobile reception devices are included. The leader is the Hannover-Braunschweig region with a reach of 27 percent (TV sets) and 33 percent (all reception devices).