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20 YEARS OF GENEROUS PUBLICATIONS

Inside view

Digital TV impact The first Satellite dishes available in 1970's were big satellite equipment that were fixed into backyards because their size did not allow them to be fixed onto the roofs. The modern day satellite equipment are smaller in size that can be attached to any wall and are hardly noticeable. However, with the introduction of digital television technology, the satellites and terrestrial broadcasts is soon going to be a thing of the past. Digital television or DTV can be defined in two unique ways. According to one definition, it refers to the digital transmission of television signals by television operators, whereas, according to the other definition DTV refers to the modern TV formats including the HDTV (high definition television) and the ITV (Interactive television). The second aspect of digitalization is the most widely used aspect when it comes to determining the impact of digital television on the global technology market. The digitization of television signals has expanded the capacity of the modern transmission technology. The digital transmission is spreading quickly, as a consequence. Digital formats, despite their popularity are facing serious economic and technical hurdles; therefore, it is essential to

DECEMBER

understand the difference between the two forms of digitization in order to get a better understanding of the impact of digital television on the global technology market. Even though, the digital television industry is booming in comparison to satellites and terrestrial broadcasts, the digital TV market is facing a number of challenges. In order to provide global solutions for television makers who are trying to integrate the analog and digital functions in a single design, it is important to address the challenges. The mandated move to High Definition Television HDTV in the United States has driven the demand for High Resolution Television displays. The digital cable boxes in the United States will be soon replaced by cable ready HDTV. Japan's digital terrestrial also mandates HD high density broadcasts. While MPEG2 continues to dominate the compression technology, the new coding schemes including MPEG4 and Windows Media 9 are beginning to open up the possibility of SDTV over IP-based DSL networks for telecom operators, more HD channels available over satellite that are integrated with latest modulation formats including 8PSK, DVB-S2 and inexpensive high density PVRs.

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The Highly Circulated Satellite Magazine

2013


20 YEARS OF GENEROUS PUBLICATIONS

Inside view

Digital Cable TV- the building blocks Just like in analog Cable TV system, the digital cable TV system is also made up of two main constituent parts : The headend and the distribution system. However there are considerable differences between the two systems. A digital headend have many more functional blocks compared to its analog counterpart and a digital distribution system has a much higher bandwidth of 860 MHz and even approaching 1 GHz, and is thus a hybrid fiber coaxial system with coaxial cable being restricted to subscriber drops.

DECEMBER

Satellite distributed content may already be in MPEG-2 digital format. It is also possible that some times one full multiplex received from a transponder may directly be transmitted in one Cable channel. If this is the case, then a digital receiver having the capability of outputting a de-modulated and FEC decoded MPEG-2 TS is used and its output fed directly to the transport multiplexer of the desired cable channel. In other cases, some of the channels from the received satellite multiplex are replaced by some local channels. Another important functional unit in the headend is the Conditional Access System ( CAS) CAS is the technology which enables a cable service provider to implement 'pay TV' services. From the transmitted bunch of channels some premier channels are named as 'pay channels.

Monthly Magazine

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The Highly Circulated Satellite Magazine

2013


20 YEARS OF GENEROUS PUBLICATIONS

Inside view

(Free-To-Air) Television Advertising Malaysia enjoys a healthy stream of television viewers where the people have a lot of choices when it comes to entertainment through this media. Throughout the years, Malaysians have enjoyed FTA (Free-To-Air) television entertainment through the government-owned channels like TV1 and TV2 (formerly known as RTM1 and RTM2) as well as the privately-owned ones like Media Prima's TV3, NTV7, 8TV and Channel 9. FTA channels are free to view which is available through any standard television set. They have been included as part of the offerings of satellite television companies like Astro and the TM-owned HyppTV IPTV services as well. Where this is concerned, analysts strongly believe that the future of television advertising will surely be in the area of satellite and Pay-TV because more and more people are able to afford these services. Furthermore, with more operators like ABN (Cable) coming into the market, the price of services will surely reduce as competition heats up. In Malaysia, the situation is one which is very unique. While services like Astro and HyppTV are growing in popularity, FTA channels are still very much the preferred

DECEMBER

choices among viewers. Statistics show that TV viewing is growing in favour of Pay TV but this is moving at a slower pace than expected. Between 2006 and 2012, the market share between FTA and Pay TV has not changed as much as speculated. In 2006, 75.1% of viewers watched FTA while the rest watched Pay TV. 6 years later, FTA viewers are still more than Pay TV customers where there are 59.9% of the former and 40.1% of the latter which by any standards has not improved that much. This situation is mainly because throughout the last 6 years, there have not been too many new players in the market. It must be noted here that while Astro has been the major (and only) satellite TV service provider in Malaysia, it has not changed much apart from adding new channels in several segments. With market share diminishing and losing a lot to Pay TV, FTA channels like NTV7, TV1 and TV2 are moving faster and improving quicker than Pay TV services. This is where FTA channels are taking every effort they can to ensure that they remain relevant and the preferred choices among the viewers. Tv3 leads the market share of FTA channels with a 27.5% viewership while TV9 holds 7.7%. TV2 holds 7.4% while 8TV which is more focused and targeted holds 6.3% of the market share.

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The Highly Circulated Satellite Magazine

2013


20 YEARS OF GENEROUS PUBLICATIONS

HDTV is a new broadcasting format offering improved picture and audio quality. Most simply, a high-definition television system is able to offer a clearer and more detailed picture than any existing broadcast system, because it contains more picture information. All television signals, whether analogue or digital, are made up of many dots or picture elements (pixels) that form the image you see, so by using more of these pixels in a high-definition (HD) transmission a better image can be produced. Digital television (DTV) is a transmission method that will continue to be used to broadcast high-definition signals. In the same way that audio quality was improved moving from analogue music cassettes to Compact Discs, a similar change is happening to television. The first stage of this has been to 'digitise' the existing analogue television system, that is to take the same picture information but broadcast it digitally rather that using analogue. The amount of picture information does not change, but digital transmission is more efficient than analogue resulting in a more consistent picture quality and an improved range of available channels. In time the next stage of this process will be to use this improved digital technology to deliver improved picture and sound quality; high-definition. High definition broadcasts

DECEMBER

Inside view

also include better native support for multichannel sound and windscreen formats which can improve the experience of sport and movies. Two different picture resolutions are commonly used for highdefinition television, they are named after the number of horizontal picture lines they use, either HD720 or HD1080 containing 720 and 1080 lines respectively. High-definition television channels/programming, if not already available from your service provider (normally as an upgrade or separate product) soon will be, and will likely be delivered via the same physical means; cable, satellite, over-the-air etc. Next-generation games consoles including Microsoft's X-Box 360 and Sony's Playstation 3 support high-definition gaming, and similarly the new DVD formats, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are designed to natively carry HD content. Before making an early investment in highdefinition products and services it is worth taking the time to ensure that the HD content you actually want to watch is available and available to you. LCD and plasma displays natively supporting the 1080 line format's resolution of 1920x1080 pixels are starting to become readily available at the top end of their respective markets, but this means they are physically large and expensive.

n o i t i n i f e D h g i H n i n o i s i Telev ge A w e N

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The Highly Circulated Satellite Magazine

2013


20 YEARS OF GENEROUS PUBLICATIONS

Inside view

Is Coming To An End?

For more than 60 years, TV stations have broadcast news, sports and entertainment for free and made their money by showing commercials. That might not work much longer. The business model is unraveling at ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and the local stations that carry the networks' programming. Cable TV and the Web have fractured the audience for free TV and siphoned its ad dollars. The recession has squeezed advertising further, forcing broadcasters to accelerate their push for new revenue to pay for programming. That will play out in living rooms across the country. The changes could mean higher cable or satellite TV bills, as the networks and local stations squeeze more fees from pay-TV providers such as Comcast and DirecTV for the right to show broadcast TV channels in their lineups. The networks might even ditch free broadcast signals in the next few years. Instead, they could

DECEMBER

operate as cable channels - a move that could spell the end of free TV as Americans have known it since the 1940s. "Good programing is expensive," Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns Fox, told a shareholder meeting this fall. "It can no longer be supported solely by advertising revenues." Fox is pursuing its strategy in public, warning that its broadcasts - including college football bowl games - could go dark Friday for subscribers of Time Warner Cable, unless the pay-TV operator gives Fox higher fees. For its part, Time Warner Cable is asking customers whether it should "roll over" or "get tough" in negotiations. The future of free TV also could be altered as the biggest pay-TV provider, Comcast Corp., prepares to take control of NBC. Comcast has not signaled plans to end NBC's free broadcasts. But Jeff Zucker, who runs NBC and its sister cable channels such as CNBC and Bravo, told investors this month that "the cable model is just superior to the broadcast model." The traditional broadcast model works like this: CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox distribute shows through a network of local stations. The networks own a few stations in big markets, but most are "affiliates," owned by separate companies. Traditionally, the networks paid affiliates to broadcast their shows, though those fees have dwindled to near nothing as local stations have seen their audience shrink. What hasn't changed is where the money mainly comes from: advertising.

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The Highly Circulated Satellite Magazine

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Inside view

20 YEARS OF GENEROUS PUBLICATIONS

How To Upgrade Your TV To The

DIGITAL AGE With the digital switch-over looming, it's time to learn how to upgrade your television viewing to the digital age. Most of regional NSW went digital-only in 2012 and now it's Sydney's turn, with analog broadcasts set to end on December 3. This time next year, old televisions and video cassette recorders (VCRs) won't be able to tune into the handful of fuzzy analog channels that served us well for so long. More than 90 per cent of Australians have already embraced digital television, according to the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy. Many lounge rooms have upgraded to new widescreen screens with built-in digital TV tuners, offering access to the traditional channels along with a range of new digital-only channels. But if you're not ready to put your old television on the nature strip, it's easy to upgrade an old television to digital with a cheap set-top box. ''A good analog signal is no guarantee of a good digital signal,'' Ford says. ''It's worth borrowing a digital set-top box to test your digital signal strength, so you'll know in advance if you should get advice from a local antenna specialist before making your purchase.''

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''If you run into interference issues, with the picture freezing, try upgrading your aerial cable to RG6 quad-shielded cable and removing unnecessary signal splitters. Sometimes these changes alone are enough to fix the problem.'' High-definition set-top boxes are slightly more expensive than standard-definition boxes, but Ford says it's worth the extra money to gain access to the five additional HD digital channels. If you don't yet own an HD television, an HD set-top box can downscale these channels for your old television. This way you can still watch the HD channels but they won't look any sharper than the others. A cheap HD digital set-top box is the easiest way to prepare for the jump to digital TV. Look for a digital set-top box with an antenna output as well as input, Ford says, so you can loop the aerial signal through the box to your television as you perhaps did with your VCR. A digital settop box will plug into an old television's composite or component video inputs, just like a VCR or DVD player. ''Now to watch digital television you simply turn the television to the AV channel, a concept people should already grasp if they own a VCR.

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The Highly Circulated Satellite Magazine

2013


20 YEARS OF GENEROUS PUBLICATIONS

Inside view

According to iKS-Consulting, the number of pay TV subscribers in Russia at the end of June 2013 was 32.5 million, up 13% compared with the same point in 2012. The number of operators with a subscriber base of over 1 million increased during that time from 5 to 7, with the top 7 representing 78% of the market. The two new 'millionaire' operators were satellite TV provider Orion Express, with the fastest growing service (up 81% year-on-year), and Vimpelcom, whose IPTV service gained 22% more subscribers over the year. Cable TV remains the most popular technology, accounting for more than half of all subscribers. However, despite the

Russia's top telecom providers, Beeline, MTS and Rostelecom, are all active in the sector. Another telco, Megafon, has announced plans for developing television services, too. It appointed Ivan Tavrin as CEO last April. He has a background in developing regional television and advertising networks. With pay TV penetration estimated at 55% of the Russian market, there is still plenty of room to grow. Cable TV remains the first choice for most Russians paying for television services, with 56% of the market (down 4% on 2011); satellite has a 35% market share and IPTV 9%. Growth areas are TV on demand services,

ongoing construction of networks, the share of cable TV is gradually reducing, as satellite TV and IPTV out-grow the market. iKS-Consulting estimates that in 2018 the share of satellite TV will reach 39% and the share of IPTV will be 12%, with cable TV making up the remaining 49%. Russian pay TV services added more than 4 million subscribers last year, growing 19% to 30.5 million customers in an industry now worth an annual $1.6 billion. The total number of subscribers in 2012 was 30.5 million compared with 26 million the year before. The figures from the research by Moscow's iKS Consulting show worldwide pay TV growth averaged 6% last year. Russia's growth was fuelled by new subscriber take up for satellite and IPTV with regional expansion in Siberia and other eastern regions of Russia a major factor.

which are forecast to be worth $6 billion a year in Russia by 2017 — when the country will be the 10th biggest market worldwide for pay TV — and IPTV, which will be worth around $817 million by that year, Telecom Daily said, citing analysis by Digital TV Research.

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The Highly Circulated Satellite Magazine

2013


20 YEARS OF GENEROUS PUBLICATIONS

Inside view

Satellite Television and Development in the Middle East As the number of channels has increased, so has demand for programs. As a rule of thumb, every channel requires approximately 7,000 hours of programming per year. In the case of digital operators such as Orbit or the other Saudi-backed pay-TV company, Arab Radio and Television, 7,000 hours of programs are needed for every channel in their digital “bouquet.” Saudi Arabia's wireless cable system will eventually offer scores of channels; five of them were launched from scratch by MBC. On one hand, demand on this scale has stimulated the growth of production centers in those cities where technical expertise is concentrated, notably Cairo, Beirut, Damascus and Amman. Although based in Europe, Orbit and MBC rely increasingly on studios in the Middle East, which offer cost savings. This trend encourages the independent sector and means that, with broadcasters seeking producers rather than the other way around, producers can afford to be bolder in dictating their terms. On the other hand, the shift to indigenous program production is relatively recent, and it will take time for proper facilities to develop and expand. In the meantime, those with cash to spend on new studios are more likely to be members of the ruling establishments. One of the biggest such

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development projects is the vast Media Production City taking shape near Cairo, sometimes called “Hollywood on the Nile,” even though it is located in the desert. Its scale can be gauged from the $550 million worth of construction work yet to be completed before 2001. On a good day there may be 2,000 people employed in the studios and other non-construction jobs on site. The project's managers, wary of being saddled with obsolete technology, have included clauses in their contract with Sony ensuring that all equipment be state-of-theart. Yet when it comes to the content of films shot at Media Production City, the Egyptian Radio and Television Union's 50 percent stake in the venture gives it ultimate editorial control. Faced with the challenge of filling thousands of hours of airtime, television executives have limited options. Programming costs have traditionally been less prohibitive for state-sponsored broadcasters with a purely political raison d'etre. State revenues are drying up, however, while media competition dictates an increasingly hard-nosed commercial approach. The combination of these economic factors militates against the commissioning of challenging documentaries or innovative dramas, and means that broadcasters will instead rely on ready-made material or imports.

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The Highly Circulated Satellite Magazine

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20 YEARS OF GENEROUS PUBLICATIONS

Real affordable free satellite TV decoders are now being imported in bulk to South Africa. Strong technologies finally managed to manufacture a feature rich, low cost FTA receiver that will satisfy the South African market. Low cost, high quality, FTA satellite receivers that will satisfy the South African market was something not to be found easily. We had to find that manufacturing company with a good track record that is prepared to listen, act and deliver. Importing for a number of years from strong technologies, we have learned, trusted and grew with confidence with our African continent supplier in Dubai. The list of discontinued models on their website is evidence of their willingness for product research and development. They are leaders in supplying free to air and pay TV satellite receivers throughout Africa. A better partner could not be found to serve South Africa! We have made it our mission to supply South Africans through strong technologies with the right priced and quality receivers. Being the importer we could force the price down for everybody in South Africa to afford free satellite TV. Other FTA importers like any importer can dominate markets. Free satellite TV has been a passion for us for a number of years. We believe that this powerful medium that

DECEMBER

Inside view

SATELLITE TV DECODERS cannot be stopped entering our borders will be used to reach the masses in the future. Free satellite channels are something South Africans never heard of. This used to be for hobbyists, a selected few who had the technical skills, inquisitiveness and money who could afford this expensive equipment. Some satellite shops do not even keep this type of equipment. Those shops who do keep FTA receivers are sometimes out date and most of the time very expensive. Free to air satellite TV are very popular in Europe and only needs proper marketing in South Africa. The Panamsat 7/10 satellite @ 68.5 deg. east, our most popular bird, has the most FTA channels on small dish, called Ku-Band. It's commonly called the DSTV satellite by most South Africans. On Astra 4A @ 4.8 deg. east, a most northerly direction, also small dish, there are some free channels, mostly French. South Africans commonly call it the TopTV satellite. If you really want to pick up lots of FTA Channels you need a C-Band dish. They are called "big dish" 1.8 meter and bigger. A good satellite to start with is Thaicom 5 @ 78.5 deg. east. Big dishes are called "prime focus" dishes.

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The Highly Circulated Satellite Magazine

2013


20 YEARS OF GENEROUS PUBLICATIONS

Inside view

Television in Italy Television in Italy was introduced in 1939, when the first experimental broadcasting began. However, this lasted for a very short time: when fascist Italy entered World War II in 1940 all the transmission were interrupted, and were resumed in earnest only nine years after the end of the conflict, on January 3, 1954. There are two main national television organisations responsible for most viewing: state-owned RAI Radiotelevisione italiana (with three generalist channels, two semi-generalist channels and nine thematic channels), funded by a yearly mandatory licence fee and Mediaset (owner of generalist stations Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete 4, eight thematic channels and a pay-tv with cinema, TV series, documentaries, sport and children channels), commercial network that also holds 50.1% of the Spanish broadcasting firm Mediaset Espa帽a Comunicaci贸n and heads a consortium which owns the television production house Endemol. Currently La7 is considered as the third major network in Italy, it is owned by Cairo Communication, the media branch of the publishing and advertising company Cairo editore, which also owns 51% of MTV Italia and other TV and radio channels. While many other networks are also present, both nationally and locally, RAI and Mediaset together, with their six traditional ex analogue stations plus a

DECEMBER

number of new free to air digital channels, reach almost 70% of the TV ratings, as detailed further below. Apart from these three free to air companies, News Corporation's satellite pay TV platform Sky Italia is increasing in viewing and shares, reaching almost 10% of the TV ratings (in 2009 it was also allowed to enter the digital terrestrial market through free station Cielo). As with all the other media of Italy, the Italian television industry is widely considered both inside and outside the country to be overtly politicized. The public broadcaster RAI is, unlike the BBC which is controlled by an independent trust, under direct control of the government. According to a December 2008 poll, only 24% of Italians trust television news programmes, compared unfavourably to the British rate of 38%, making Italy one of only three examined countries where online sources are considered more reliable than television ones for information. Digital terrestrial television technology is expanding rapidly and now every major network in Italy, including RAI, Mediaset and Cairo Communication transmits in DVB-T format, while continuing analog broadcast until the end of the transition, originally set by law to December 31, 2006 but later pushed back to the end of 2012.

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The Highly Circulated Satellite Magazine

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20 YEARS OF GENEROUS PUBLICATIONS

Inside view

Satellite TV Providers in the US Industry Market The Satellite TV Providers industry has posted solid growth over the past five years, supplying a variety of programming to a broadening subscriber base willing to pay a premium for in-home entertainment. According to IBISWorld industry analyst Kevin Boyland, new networks, more channel offerings and bonus features have continued to strengthen the industry's appeal to consumers, even as disposable income dropped during the recession. For example, the introduction of high-definition (HD) TV not only vastly improved the quality of programming, but also attracted new subscribers to higher-margin programming packages. Higher spending on industry services is anticipated to result in annualized revenue growth rate of 4.5% over the five years to 2013. In 2013 alone, revenue is expected to increase 1.8% to $39.8 billion as more consumers subscribe to satellite TV. High initial fixed costs, which major

DECEMBER

players have largely already paid off, are a defining aspect of this industry. Progressive technologies, such as new data compression formats, have advanced the quality and speed of direct broadcast satellite (DBS) transmissions, increasing the medium's marketability, continues Boyland. With satellites already in orbit, the industry's two main players, DirecTV and Dish Network, only incur low costs per additional subscriber. However, as internal and external competition heat up, providers may be unable to pass on increasing programming costs to customers, which may dampen profit growth. Similarly, amid heightened competition throughout the broadcast distribution sector, the cost of acquiring and maintaining subscribers has increased, pressuring profit growth. The Satellite TV Providers industry has a high level of concentration. Over the past five years, the top companies have successfully expanded their scope and revenue by

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offering an increasing array of services and continually improving their quality. These two major satellite providers feature about 200 HD channels and various on-demand services, such as digital video recorder (DVR). This industry is highly concentrated because larger corporations are better equipped financially to develop, launch and maintain satellites. Due to high start-up costs, regulation and intense competition, few small producers have managed to develop a niche market. Such companies typically vie for specific target audiences, such as religious or immigrant viewer groups, by providing channels specific to their audiences' interests or culture. These smaller players are able to survive in the industry, but do not compete directly with its major players. Consequently, IBISWorld expects industry concentration to remain high over the next five years.

The Highly Circulated Satellite Magazine

2013


20 YEARS OF GENEROUS PUBLICATIONS

e-To-Air e r F T hannels

Singapore'

VC

s

Inside view

The Media Development Authority today announced that Singapore's free-to-air (FTA) TV channels will go fully digital by the end of 2013 using the DVBT2 (Digital Video Broadcasting – Second Generation Terrestrial) broadcasting standard. With Singapore's migration to digital TV, free-to-air broadcaster MediaCorp will transmit all its seven free-to-air channels digitally by end 2013. Channels 5, 8, Suria and Vasantham will be available in High Definition by end 2013. The remaining three channels - okto, Channel U and Channel NewsAsia will first be broadcast in Standard Definition from end 2013, before being broadcast in High Definition in 2016. “The world is switching from analogue to digital TV broadcasting as digital TV not only offers better image and sound quality, but also frees up scarce spectrum for other services, such as wireless broadband,” said Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts Dr Yaacob Ibrahim at the opening ceremony of Infocomm Media Business Exchange (imbX) on 19 June 2012 at the Marina Bay Sands. The adoption of DVB-T2 standard comes after a successful trial conducted last year with MediaCorp and pay-TV operator StarHub. The trial, which involved some 500 households in Ang Mo Kio and Bedok housing estates, showed that DVB-T2 was suitable for deployment in Singapore's

DECEMBER

urbanised environment. To ensure a smooth switchover, there will be a simulcast period, where both digital and analogue free-to-air television signals will be broadcast to ensure all households have time to get accustomed to receiving their free-to-air TV signals digitally. Singapore will complete the switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting by 2020, in line with ASEAN's agreed timeframe for making the switch. Once DVB-T2 broadcasting begins, consumers can enjoy an enhanced viewing experience when watching MediaCorp's free-to-air digital television channels. This includes sharper and clearer images, cinematic surround-sound effects, and new content and services such as an electronic programme guide. Consumers will have different options to tune into digital free-to-air broadcasts. Those who are currently watching MediaCorp channels via a StarHub or SingTel pay TV service are already receiving digital channels. Thus, no action is needed on their part2. Consumers who are non-pay TV subscribers will need a DVB-T2 digital receiver and an indoor or outdoor antenna to receive digital TV signals on their current TV sets. MDA is working with manufacturers to develop the technical specifications suitable for Singapore's digital TV receivers. These digital TV receivers are expected to be available in Singapore from early next year before MediaCorp starts transmitting the free-toair channels digitally at the end of 2013.

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The Highly Circulated Satellite Magazine

2013


system

The single-cable system is designed to distribute digital Sat-IF signals (including HDTV) and terrestrial signals to up to eight receivers using one cable. There is no limitation of programme variety, i.e. the complete range of programmes of one or two satellites is transmitted. Each individual receiver is equippedwith a facility to select horizontal/vertical polarisation, low/high band, Sat position A/position B as well as transponders. Switching and transponder selection are carried out in the feed system or matrix and are controlled by the receiver using a special set of DiSEqC™ commands in conformance with EN 50494. A fixed subscriber frequency is assigned to each receiver, through which the unit receives its programmes. Twin receivers require two subscriber frequencies. Special tuner modules called SCRs (Satellite Channel Routers) are integrated into the feed system or matrix, enabling transponder selection and conversion to subscriber frequencies Kathrein's singlecable system satisfies the single-cable standard in conformance with EN 50494, i.e. all components of a single-cable system that conform to this norm can be integrated into a satellite reception system. The implementation of a single-cable

makes it easier to install new satellite reception systems or to extend existing ones, also reducing cabling complexity. The switch-off date for analogue satellite transmissions draws ever nearer. The German broadcasting networks ARD and ZDF plan to cease parallel transmission of analogue and digital signals by the end of 2013. Although the of ficial shut-down deadline is yet to be set, it is a fact that as of this date, public broadcasting programmes will only be available to those who possess digital reception equipment. Those households still using analogue need to use the remaining time to convert their analogue reception systems to digital. In many cases this will just require a new LNB (Low Noise Block converter) and a digital compatible receiver. The conversion requires no changes to the existing distribution cabling within the house. In households still using older switching matrices that are not digital-compatible, or where amplifiers are incorporated in the satellite distribution, the respective components must be exchanged. Anyone thinking of changing their analogue reception system over to digital should also consider whether they should buy a new receiver and new TV set capable of meeting the requirements for receiving HDTV. Reception of HDTV programmes, like reception of digital standard TV programmes, requires a digital satellite system. The differences are merely in the receiver and in the TV set connected to the receiver.


20 YEARS OF GENEROUS PUBLICATIONS

Inside view

converted into current, or voltage fluctuations. Those fluctuations in current are an analog of the actual voice pattern—hence the use of the term analog to describe these signals. When it comes to an analog circuit—what we also refer to as a voice-grade line—we need to also define the frequency band in which it operates. The human voice, for example, can typically generate frequencies from 100Hz to 10,000Hz, for a bandwidth of 9,900Hz. But the ear does not require a vast range of frequencies to elicit meaning from ordinary speech; the vast majority of sounds we make that

Analog and Digital Transmission

There are a number of differences between analog and digital transmission, and it is important to understand how conversions between analog and digital occur. Let's look first at the older form of transmission, analog. An analog wave form (or signal) is characterized by being continuously variable along amplitude and frequency. In the case of telephony, for instance, when you speak into a handset, there are changes in the air pressure around your mouth. Those changes in air pressure fall onto the handset, where they are amplified and then

DECEMBER

constitute intelligible speech fall between 250Hz and 3,400Hz. So, the phone company typically allotted a total bandwidth of 4,000Hz for voice transmission. Remember that the total frequency spectrum of twisted-pair is 1MHz. To provision a voice-grade analog circuit, bandwidth-limiting filters are put on that circuit to filter out all frequencies above 4,000Hz. That's why analog circuits can conduct only fairly low-speed data communications. The maximum data rate over an analog facility is 33.6Kbps when there are analog loops at either end. Analog facilities have limited bandwidth, which means they cannot support highspeed data. Another characteristic of analog is that noise is accumulated as the signal traverses the network. As the signal moves across the distance, it loses power and becomes impaired by factors such as moisture in the cable, dirt on a contact, and critters chewing on the cable somewhere in the network. By the time the signal arrives at the amplifier, it is not only attenuated, it is also impaired and noisy. One of the problems with a basic amplifier is that it is a dumb device. All it knows how to do is to add power, so it takes a weak and impaired signal, adds power to it, and brings it back up to its original power level.

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The Highly Circulated Satellite Magazine

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