DVB-T2 on track for Market Deployment

Friday, April 17th, 2009 
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First Commercial Services On Air Late 2009

LAS VEGAS — Following on from the official launch of DVB-T2, the second generation transmission system for digital terrestrial television, at IBC 2008, broadcasters and vendors are on schedule for the early deployment of the new standard.

A recent Plug Fest at the RAI Research Centre in Turin, Italy, coordinated by the DVB Technical Module’s TM-T2 Validation and Verification group, proved highly successful. The aim of the Plug Fest was to validate the DVB-T2 specification through the interoperability of independent hardware implementations. A wide range of companies took part in the testing of 6 DVB-T2 modulators (DekTec, Rhode & Schwarz, ENENSYS Technologies, TeamCast, BBC, and SSBT) and 5 demodulators (DekTec, SIDSA, Panasonic, Sony, BBC).

The successful interoperability tests represent a significant milestone in the progress of the specification since the first DVB-T2 hardware demonstrations at IBC last September. The participating companies had to focus a considerable amount of effort in order to complete equipment in time for the tests.

RAI is currently transmitting test DVB-T2 signals from a tower 5km from the RAI Research Centre. The test signals carry 4 HD streams in a single-PLP mode (256QAM, rate 3/4 FEC) at a total bit rate of 45Mbit/s.

The first DVB-T2 services are scheduled to go on air later this year in the UK on the Freeview platform. The BBC and other UK public service broadcasters plan to launch at least 3 HD services on DTT using DVB-T2 and MPEG-4, with a full consumer launch possible in time for the 2010 World Cup.

The specification utilizes the latest modulation and coding techniques to enable the highly efficient use of valuable terrestrial spectrum for the delivery of audio, video and data services to fixed, portable and mobile devices.

Building on the foundations of the successful DVB-T system, DVB-T2 delivers a 30% to 50% increase in capacity in equivalent reception conditions. Broadcasters deploying DVB-T2 will be able to roll out new multiplexes that could offer multichannel HDTV services and create innovative new datacasting opportunities.

In line with DVB Project’s aim to provide a coherent body of standards, DVB-T2 uses OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplex) modulation to deliver a robust signal and offers a range of different modes making it highly flexible. It employs the same LDPC (Low Density Parity Check) error correcting codes used in DVB-S2 for excellent performance in the presence of high noise levels and interference. A significant number of highly innovative features such as Physical Layer Pipes, support of Multiple-Input-Single-Output (MISO) and Rotated Constellations are also included. DVB-T2 has been defined so that the standard can be enhanced in the future in a backwards compatible manner through the use of Future Extension Frames.

The DVB-T2 specification is currently available for download as DVB BlueBook A122r1 and it will be published as a formal standard by ETSI in the second quarter of 2009.