Antenna Hungária commences DVB-H trial in Budapest

As part of a recently launched technical trial, Hungarian pay TV provider Antenna Hungária and T-Mobile Hungary have put DVB-H-enabled mobile phones in the hands of approximately 80 T-Mobile customers in Budapest, looking to gauge the technical capabilities and performance of the DVB-H mobile TV delivery standard.

For the trial, Antenna Hungária is transmitting programming from four Hungarian public TV channels to Samsung SGH-P910 and Sagem “My Mobile TV” mobile phones using a 130W transmitter located on Budapest’s Széchényi Hill. Participants also have access to an SMS-based TV program reminder service and can use a built-in electronic programming guide (EPG) to scroll through programming options.

Antenna Hungária wants to see how the picture quality delivered by the DVB-H signal stands up across the unique geographic landscape of the Hungarian capital. Budapest has a wide range of both hilly and flat areas, as well as several islands in the Danube River, around which the city is built. This may make the area more prone to interference problems.

Because the trial is still in early testing phases, Antenna Hungária has not yet released any official findings on the signal strength. Klaus Pilz, head of the supervisory board for Antenna Hungária’s DVB-H project, said, however, that preliminary tests have already shown indoor field strength of between 60 to 75 dBµV/m in buildings within a distance of 5km from the transmitter site.

Besides the transmitter, most of the backend equipment for the trial is located on Széchényi Hill, where Antenna Hungária also has its cable and satellite transmission equipment. Irdeto’s PIsys for Mobile conditional access system has been installed at the company headquarters to control participants’ access to content. The system works by sending keys over the air that essentially unlock encrypted content on participant mobile phones. The keys work with Irdeto CA software on the phones.

Antenna Hungária expects to wrap up the trial in late July. In the fall, it will present its findings to Hungarian lawmakers in hopes of proving that mobile TV has a viable future in the country. During this time, the Hungarian Parliament will initiate plans to sell digital spectrum space to operators interested in the distribution of mobile content through the DVB-H network.

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