South Asian operators show interest in mobile TV at BroadcastAsia; few have firm plans for deployments

Sometimes you just have to be there. Or at least talk to someone who has. That's what I was thinking when I was talking to Axcera about the company's demo and presentation at BroadcastAsia last June in Singapore.

One of those "you had to be there" insights Axcera international sales manager Calvin Carter shared with me was that some South Asian national regulators are considering Japan's ISDB-T for their DTV standard. One in particular is the Philippines.

"Although DVB-T and DVB-H were agreed upon by the ASEAN [Association of South East Asian Nations], the legislation had to be approved in each country," Carter said. "They've been waiting for signatures for quite a long time in the Philippines and the ISDB-T commission [the Japanese standards group, ARIB, Association of Radio Industries and Businesses] is lobbying them heavily. [ARIB] see it as the next frontier for them."

For DVB implementations, Axcera demonstrated an alternative to DVB-T/DVB-H: a hybrid terrestrial/mobile transmission system using a single standard, DVB-SH. "For a country that hasn't converted to digital, DVB-SH is a good solution," said Axcera President David Neff. "The name is misleading — it doesn't have to be used with satellite. It can be used for terrestrial or mobile broadcasting.

"DVB-SH has a lot of advantages built in," he said. Those include, "more advanced coding, better efficiency, a very nice long interleaver, which is a benefit for mobile. Plus, it's here already. There are transmitters and receivers already available."

In looking ahead toward a conversion to DTV, many operators are looking for transmitters that can be easily upgraded from analog to digital, and extended from terrestrial broadcast to mobile TV, Neff said. This presents a significant change in the mobile TV landscape.

To date, much of the mobile TV deployment around the world has been in the form of new, dedicated networks offering separate content, he said. Now the activity is changing to broadcaster-based mobile TV, and terrestrial operators' goals are different. They want to extend their existing content to new channels.

So as Asian operators map out their terrestrial DTV transmission systems, Neff advises them to also consider their future plans for mobile services.

In his presentation at the conference, “Integrating Mobile Multimedia Services into a Broadcast System; Options, Choices, and What You Need to Know,”Neff addressed the key transmission system design choices that will impact future mobile services: single- vs. multifrequency networks, dedicated network vs. shared broadcast channel, and the studio-to-transmitter-link (microwave, fiber or satellite).

"Even though you may not be deploying a mobile TV network up front, think about that up front," Neff said. Don't just order equipment, "tell the supplier what you intend to do with the equipment. It will help you avoid decisions that will prove to be costly down the road."

Related Stories