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Premonitoring critical to HD uplinks

January 17, 2007

The world feed of Super Bowl XLI from Miami next month will originate from the dual-band satellite truck of Satellite Technology Systems (STS), which will provide both the HD and SD feeds of the game for international broadcasters. STS will uplink the game using its uplink truck, which has a 4.6m C-band antenna, 1.8m Ku-band antenna and a split power system for redundancy.

Besides requiring significantly more bandwidth and more power to transmit HD, there are other differences between transmitting HD and SD. According to STS founder and president Charles Spoto, transmitting an HD signal requires a lot of premonitoring of the signal in the truck before transmission begins.

Because of the high bit rates involved with HD and because the encoders basically make up a super computer, STS has to make sure the integrity is there in the signal. Using a bit stream analyzer from Pixelmetrix, STS begins monitoring the HD signal hours before the transmission looking for potential errors, Spotto said.

If there's a problem, STS determines where the breakdown is in the signal and then takes corrective measures.

To learn more about the unique challenges of the project and STS' plans, see "Super Bowl uplink sheds light on SD, HD differences."

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