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Understanding DVB-T2

Understanding DVB-T2

The DVB-T standard is the most successful digital terrestrial television standards in the world. First published in 1995, it has been adopted by more than half of all countries in the world. Since the publication of the DVB-T standard, however,research in transmission technology has continued, and new options for modulating and error-protecting broadcast steams have been developed. Simultaneously, the demand for broadcasting frequency spectrum has increased as has the pressure to release broadcast spectrum for non-broadcast applications, making it is ever more necessary to maximise spectrum efficiency.

In response, the DVB Project has developed the second-generation digital terrestrial television (DVB-T2) standard. The specification, first published by the DVB Project in June 2008, has been standardised by European Telecommunication Standardisations Institute (ETSI) since September 2009. Implementation and product development using this new standard has already begun.

The possibility to increase the capacity in a digital terrestrial television (DTT) multiplex is one of the key benefits of the DVB-T2 standard. In comparison with the current digital terrestrial television standard, DVB-T, the second-generation standard, DVB-T2, provides a minimum increase in capacity of at least 30% in equivalent reception conditions using existing receiving antennas. Some preliminary testing, however, suggests that the increase in capacity obtained in practice may be closer to 50%. This can make possible the launch of new broadcast services that make intensive use of frequency capacity.

However, the implementation of a new digital terrestrial television (DTT) standard will have a profound impact upon the broadcast industry. The cost of developing, distributing, and implementing new equipment will need to be borne by manufacturers, network operators, and viewers. Business issues related to financing the launch of services the DVB-T2 standard need to be explored. The demand for services using DVB-T2 will likely vary depending on the demands of the market as will the approach for launching such services. Broadcasters will also need to consider possible business cases and how current revenue streams can be maintained and/or augmented.

Two excellent documents, the DVB-T2 specification (ETSI EN302755) and the Implementation Guidelines (DVB Bluebook A133), are available with the details of the technology. However, this handbook seeks to provide a wider understanding of the DVB-T2 standard to encompass issues beyond the technology. It addresses the key technical, business, and regulatory issues that must be taken into consideration by the broadcast industry when contemplating a launch of services using the DVB-T2 standard.

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