Published on March 3, 2014
Digital TV in Thailand - Think inside the box By Allan T. Rasmussen As the 24 winners of Digital TV license in Thailand are getting ready to broadcast, local and foreign set-top-box, television, mobile devices and in-car entertainment manufactures, are also ramping up their activities for the digital broadcasts in early February. Consumers buying pattern from markets123 who already have introduced DVB-T2 Set-Top Boxes or Televisions, shows a special buying pattern from consumers. At the launch of the Digital TV channels, a group of firstmovers consisting of gadget lovers, home entertainment enthusiasts and people from or related industries (Television, IT, Media, and Advertising) will purchase a subscription or the Set-Top Boxes/Televisions. However, the majority will wait to purchase to the last months before the analog signal is shutdown, which leaves a huge gap on the timeline between launch and shutdown that needs to be explored to keep sales. To address the huge gap, it is necessary to think inside the box, and focus on solutions that brings value added service in order to cater to more segments. The Thai ICT consultancy firm, Yozzo Company limited, in collaborating with the Danish company Open Channel, shares some of their knowhow from trials and milestones. Open Channel is at the front of development and implementation regarding the latest features of Digital TV and Radio, and a focal point for testing future digital radio & television transmission and development of digital receiver devices. Mobile TV with T2 Lite In May 2010, as one of the first in Europe, Open Channel started DVB-T2 trials and again in March 2012 led the way as the first in the world 4 to air the next generation of mobile TV, based on the new standard T2 Lite. Originally, DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcasting - Handheld)5, was seen as the technology to superset the successful DVB-T and bring broadcast services to mobile handsets. In Thailand, a DVB-H demo transmission 6 was held at MCOT on November 25, 2010 during a signing ceremony between IEC and MCOT. DVB-H had various issues working against it from the start, e.g. the lack of handsets supporting the technology, however, the major problem was the lack of a business model for mobile-TV, as only few was willing to pay for the services, even with free trials the daily use was often just a few minutes. DVB-H was a commercial failure and the service is no longer on-air. Finland was the last country to switch-off DVB-H in March 2012. 1 Delays to Australian digital TV switch likely | Source: Cnet Australia | Published online: 28 September 2005. Australia abandons 2008 switchover target | Source: DTG Digital TV Group | Published online: 28 September 2005. 3 Digital set top boxes gather dust in shops as Kenyans slow in uptake | Media: Business Daily |Published: January 31, 2013. 4 Danish world premiere of next generation DVB-T2 Lite |Source: TVEurope |Published online: 13 March 2012. 5 DVB-H |Wikipedia 6 DVB-H mobile TV service set for Thailand |Source: Rapidtvnews Rose Major | Published: 29 November, 2010 2
Now, with the increasing popularity of smartphones with larger screens, iPads and other tablets, the demand for linear TV viewing on smaller screens has arrived. When people watch TV on a tablet today, it primarily happens through home Wi-Fi or outdoors via a Wi-Fi hotspot or 3G networks. Fig 3 T2 Lite New DVB-T2 Profile Fig 4: T2 Lite Stand-alone The challenge with the new tablets is that they have a screen size of 720p or 2048x1536 (iPad), so they easily need a bandwidth of 2 Mbit/s. With the growing numbers of tablets in use, the bandwidth necessary for unicast mobile TV can be a challenge for mobile operators - especially during major sporting events. Here, DVBT2 Lite provides an efficient new platform for broadcasting mobile TV.
HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) is a new standard, which is said to double the data compression ratio compared to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, at the same level of video quality. Thus, if an HD channel today encoded with MPEG4 AVC video standard has a bandwidth of 8 Mbit/s, then the HD channel, at the same resolution but encoded with HEVC would potentially use only 4 Mbit/s. In principle, everybody can upgrade his or her tablets and smartphones as HEVC is a software codec, however the ability to decompress the signal will depend on the processing power on the device and of course, a signal being broadcasted in HEVC. The combination of DVB-T2, T2 Lite and HEVC is ideal when a broadcaster wants to transmit HD to portable and mobile devices as well as to TV sets via rooftop antennas. Due to the limited capacity in mobile devices, DVB-T2-lite with an upper bandwidth limit of 4 Mbit/s per. PLP (Physical Layer Pipe), in combination with HEVC potential, to reduce the bandwidth in half, it is possible to provide the same high resolution HD channel, on both TV and mobile devices, without the need to broadcast one channel for TV and another channel for mobile devices. Fig 1: H.265 HEVC compared to MPEG-2 and H.264/AVC
Digital radio with T2 Lite In 2011, Open Channel acquired a license for a digital radio (& Mobil TV) trial of DVB-T2 | T2 Lite on a so-called T-DAB frequency VHF channel 9D with a channel bandwidth of 1.7 MHz (MUXCPH-3). The service has been on air since June 2012. The trial showed 7 that DVB-T2 is not only suitable for mobile TV. It is also highly suitable for digital radio in place of DAB & DAB+. DVB-T2 provides a 2.5 to 4 times increase in capacity compared to the DAB/DAB+ standard under the same broadcasting conditions. It is also better for indoor reception and less sensitive to impulse noise, as well as being better suited for in-car reception. DAB has a capacity of only 1.152 kbit/s. DAB+ also has 1.152 kbit/s minus 1/12, which is used for the extra error correction available in DAB+, this leaves DAB+ with a bit rate of 1.152 * 11/12 = 1.056 kbit/s. An equivalent DVB-T2 transmitter with the same broadcasting strength and robustness would be able to transmit 3.612 Kbit/s, alternatively, if you decided to transmit only 1.056 kbit/s DVB-T2 could reduce the needed capacity 3 to 5 times with an equivalent reduction of the transmission costs. DAB is as mentioned tied to MPEG-1 Audio Layer 2 (MP2), but DAB+ and DVB-T2 can transmit HE-AAC sound that uses less space and sounds a lot better. With HE-AAC, audio format a fair sound is available at 64 kbit/s. With DAB+, you have room for 16 HE-AAC music programs at 64 kbit/s, and with DVB-T2, you have room for 56 HE-AAC music programs at 64 kbit/s. As example, the transmission costs of a DAB+ Radio channel in Denmark is THB 1,132,000 per year however, using DVB-T2 instead, the costs per radio channel would be reduced to only THB 323,375 per year. Fig 2: Memorandum concerning DVB-T2 versus DAB+ on a T-DAB frequency. By Kenneth Wenzel, Open Channel, Copenhagen April 7.th 2011 DAB Net capacity kbit/s DAB+ DVB-T2 1.152 1.056 3.612 192 64 64 6 16 56 W/ 270.000 Euro/year 45.000 16.875 4.794 W/ 400.000 Euro/year 66.667 25.000 7.191 One program kbit/s Number of programs Transmission costs 7 On the Radio with DVB-T2 Lite | Source: DVB.org | Published online: 24 August, 2011
References 1. Delays to Australian digital TV switch likely | Source: Cnet Australia | Writer: Randolph Ramsay | Published online: 28 September, 2005 | http://www.cnet.com.au/delays-to-australian-digital-tv-switch-likely-240057261.htm 2. Australia abandons 2008 switchover target | Source: DTG Digital TV Group | Writer: Lovelace Consulting | Published online: 28 September, 2005 | http://www.dtg.org.uk/news/news.php?id=1191 3. Digital set top boxes gather dust in shops as Kenyans slow in uptake | Media: Business Daily | Source: Xinhua | Published: January 31, 2013 | http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/Corporate-News/-/539550/1680598/-/ylua3v//index.html 4. Danish world premiere of next generation DVB-T2 Lite | Source: TVEurope | Published online: 13 March 2012 | http://www.tvbeurope.com/theworkflownews-content/full/danish-world-premiere-of-next-generation-dvb-t2lite/dm41#.Us7VgtLMXCE 5. DVB-H | Source: Wikipedia | http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVB-H 6. DVB-H mobile TV service set for Thailand | Source: Rapidtvnews Rose Major| Published: 29 November 2010 | http://www.rapidtvnews.com/index.php/201011299067/dvb-h-mobile-tv-service-set-for-thailand.html 7. On the Radio with DVB-T2 Lite | Source: DVB.org | Published online: 24 August, 2011 | http://www.dvb.org/news/onthe-radio-with-dvb-t2-lite 8. HbbTV | Hbbtv Organization | http://www.hbbtv.org/
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