ION Media Says Testing Proves SFN Works In NYC

ION Media Networks announced the completion of testing of a two-transmitter single frequency network (SFN) system in New York City.
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ION Media Networks announced the completion of testing of a two-transmitter single frequency network (SFN) system in New York City.

“The initial testing of the Richland DTx single frequency network in New York City is completed, and we are happy with the results,” said Brandon Burgess, CEO of ION Media Networks. “The Richland network provides signal quality at least equal to that of traditional digital broadcast towers at substantially lower investment and operating cost. Based on these favorable results, we intend to work with Richland on its digital TV coverage solution for New York City.”

The SFN used the Richland West Orange tower site in New Jersey for the main transmitter and a second transmitter at 4 Times Square in Manhattan.

“We are thrilled with these test results,” said David Denton, chief marketing officer at Richland Towers. “We believe this system offers demonstrable advantages over other solutions, including the potential for significant cost savings, channel uniformity, utilization of broadcasters’ full 19.4 megabit digital bandwidth and significant opportunities for mobile digital television broadcasting.”

David Glenn, president of engineering at ION Media Networks, added, “We are particularly pleased to see two years of strategic R&D and investment pay off in the all-important and technically challenging New York City market. To validate the results, we had invested in a custom measurement vehicle to test the Richland system. We shared the results and vehicle with other station owners in the market, and have all been impressed with the system’s performance as a coverage solution for New York City, including in the most challenging topographical areas, such as midtown Manhattan and Staten Island.”

Design of single frequency networks involves trade-offs between improving signal strength and avoiding interference created by signals arriving outside the equalizer range of the DTV receiver. New York City is a difficult environment for an ATSC SFN because terrain shielding cannot be used to isolate signals from the two transmitters. The success of this tests showed that with the right system design currently available receivers are able to handle the echoes created by two transmitters and reflections from high-rise buildings.

Details on the testing and the results will be presented at the 57TH Annual IEEE Broadcast Symposium being held in Washington D.C. October 31 through November 2, 2007.