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Technology: broadcasters facing advanced transmission challenges

From June 29 to July 14, 2021, the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union is organizing a series of workshops on modern broadcast transmitters and delivery technologies with the effective participation of the African Union of Broadcasting and other sister unions.

Information and communication #technologies are developing by leaps and bounds. In this vast area, the broadcasting sector is undergoing many changes with the proven influence of computers and mobile phones. While the television designates a device containing a signal decoder that accepts one or more analog or digital broadcasting formats, mobile phones also allow the dissemination of audiovisual contents and the boundaries between the two are increasingly blurred.

As part of its 2021 Training Program on Advanced Transmission and delivery Technologies, the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union invites broadcasters from diverse backgrounds to reflect on the challenges they face on a daily basis.

The webinars bring together broadcasters including Technicians, Engineers and Managers working with Radio and TV Broadcasters at the Transmission, New Media or IT domain, and other professionals who are interested to learn advances in these areas.

From the outset, the organizers placed the predominant question of transmission and delivery technologies in public service broadcasting at the center of discussions.

During the first session, participants made a foray into the complex world of digital video broadcasting commonly known as DVB.

The DVB is a second generation satellite transmission technology used in Africa, Asia, Europe and America. It is defined as a set of international open standards for digital television maintained by the eponymous European consortium.

This project started in 1993, said Vittoria Mignone, DVB manager at RAI-Italia. This was when in North America; the Grand Alliance forum was working on the same type of technology, with emphasis on High Definition (HD) Digital Television.

In order to reduce industrial costs, Digital Video Broadcast has integrated over the years common points between the different broadcasting platforms (cables, satellite, and terrestrial hertzian) to lead to solutions accessible to public market. Following the Digital Video Broadcast, the DVB-S2 was standardized in 2003. Considered by its designers as a Success Story, it has the advantages of framing for high flexibility. “At the Base Band Frame (BBF) the header carries a variety of signaling bits, to configure the receiver flexibility according to the application scenario, while the Physical Layer Frame (PLF) carries a few highly protected signaling bits, to provide robust synchronization”, we learned.

Other specifics of Digital Video Broadcast were also discussed, notably the extensions, application scenarios, interface technical overview, transmission and beams, performance system and commercial overview.

In early 2010, broadcasters expressed a pressing demand for spectrum from satellite Internet service providers, organizers disclosed. This gave way for the creation in 2014 of the DVB-S2X with improved functionality and performance (very low noise) for the benefit of business jets, high speed trains, boats and other low-opening terminals for journalists.

In contrast to Digital Video Broadcast, Kohei Kambara of NHK, the Japanese public service broadcasting company, presented the advantages of the Japanese digital broadcasting standard also called ISDB (Integrated Service Digital Broadcasting). In Africa, this standard is used by broadcasters in Botswana and Angola. Present in four Asian countries (Japan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Maldive), ISDB is widespread in Central and South America, particularly in Ecuador, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Paraguay, Bolivia, Guatemala, Salvador and Uruguay. ISDB was defined by the Association of Radio Industries and Businesses and operates by broadcast video encoded in MPEG-2 format in Japan and H.264 in the rest of the world.

Through Hanimaru, an inquisitive character created for the purpose, the NHK representative indicated that since 2007, Japan has been carrying out research and development activities on high-capacity transmission technologies for terrestrial broadcasting. He then focused on the development of audiovisual media through cell phones, tablets, computers and more.

The program which will be terminated on July 14, 2021 will also focus on audiovisual spectrum availability and digital and terrestrial radio.


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