Policy

DVB-H Gains Momentum at NAB

4/24/2005 8:00 PM Eastern

A group of wireless-related companies banded together last week to issue their support for DVB-H (digital video broadcast — handheld) to help boost the portable streaming-video market.

With the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas as a backdrop, a wide swath of network operators, cell-phone manufacturers, chipset designers and software providers voiced support for DVB-H, which is in trials across the globe.

The list of backers included handset manufacturer Nokia Corp.; network operator Crown Castle Mobile Media (CCMM); and semiconductor manufacturers Microtune, Texas Instruments Inc., DiBcom, Freescale, Intel Corp., S-Communications and TTPCom.

KU DEAL SIGNED

Crown Castle signed a deal to lease Ku-band transponder space from SES Americom Inc. for AMC-9.

“We anticipate SES Americom will help enable us to deliver on the exciting prospect of live TV on handheld mobile devices,” said vice president of business development Michael Ramke in a statement.

DVB-H is an open standard that its backers believe will help the development of more powerful wireless networks and handheld devices capable of receiving live broadcast television.

Through the use of broadcast spectrum, DVB-H backers believe, the standard will provide a better user experience than the current cellular networks delivering nascent TV services to cell phones.

CCM plans to use 5-MHz of spectrum it acquired from the FCC in 2003 for its broadcast-to-mobile devices service. It plans to bounce TV signals off the AMC bird to its cell tower network.

It’s already trialed the service in Pittsburgh, using Nokia phones.

DiBcom introduced a mobile DTV chipset based on DVB-H earlier this year, and announced at NAB that the chipset had been ported onto the Windows CE operating system. TI, Intel and Microtune also are building chipsets for the mobile-video market.

Freescale has built a mobile technology platform that would allow TV broadcasts to be seen on 2.5G and 3G (third-generation) wireless phone networks.

Nokia hopes to bring a mobile-TV enabled device based on DVB-H to market by next year, the company said. It has pilot projects underway in Germany, the United Kingdom, Finland and the U.S.

NAB CABLE-TECH NEWS

There was plenty of other cable-related technology news cable coming from NAB.

Harmonic Inc. announced it has upgraded its NMX digital-services manager to allow for digital program insertion, a key element for operators moving to digital simulcast. Harmonic said the DPI server module simplifies the process of dynamically customizing content with advertisements and short-form programs. The module can detect ad locations in analog signals and trigger encoders to place digital ads in those spots.

Modulus Video Inc. demonstrated full frame rate 1080i HD video delivered at 5.5 Mb through its ME 6000 AVC HD video encoder. Modulus said the encoder can deliver HDTV at half the bit rate of existing MPEG-2 (Moving Picture Experts Group) systems.

Advanced Digital Broadcast said it’s successfully completed integration tests of the Windows Media Video 9 (VC-1) advanced codec for its set-top box product line. ADB conducted the tests with its IPTV 3100W set-top box, which sports TI’s TMS320 digital-signal processor.

Alpha Networks unveiled its new AST-1100 IPTV set-top box, which includes the Equator BSP system-on-a-chip media processor and AMD Alchemy Au 1550 network processor. The set-top can handle HD and SD channels, and supports MPEG-2, MPEG 4, VC-1 and H. 264. The box can handle media playback, VoIP voice and video conferencing and Internet browsing.

Espial showcased the integration of its clientTV middleware and associated applications with Scientific-Atlanta set-tops.

Kasenna Inc. debuted LivingRoom v1.2, an IPTV application that enables broadcast TV, pay-per-view, video on demand, digital video recorders and other interactive applications.

And Sony Pictures Entertainment said it was working with Ascent Media Group to digitize its entire film and TV library, which will make it easier to process content for quick turnaround platforms like wireless and VOD.

September