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Inside view

All About Set-Top-Box Tremendous revenue opportunities exist in driving interactivity between the 60 million digital set-top boxes, 175 million personal computers and 210 million mobile phones in the US. A typical set-top box is a type of computer that processes digital information. Set-top boxes (STB) can act as a gateway between your television or PC and your telephone, satellite, terrestrial or cable feed (incoming/outgoing signal.) The analog STB receives encoded/compressed digital signals from the signal source (satellite, TV station, cable network, telco, terrestrial, etc.) and decodes/decompresses those signals, converting them into analog signals displayable on your analog television. (Digital TV's set top boxes in various ways operate differently.) The STB also accepts commands from the user (often via use of handheld remote control, keypad, voice recognition unit or keyboard) and transmits these commands back to the network operator, through some sort of back channel (which may be a separate phone line.) STBs can make it possible to receive TV signals, connect to networks, play games via a game console (which might be built-in to your set top box,) browse networks including the Internet, interact with Electronic Program Guides (EPG), virtual channels, electronic storefronts and walled gardens, send e-mail, and videoconference.

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Many STBs are able to communicate in real time with devices such as camcorders, DVDs, CD players and music keyboards. Some have huge hard-drives and smart card slots to put your smart card into for purchases and identification. Many expect television's future to be Internet TV and the countless millions of channels and Internet TV stations it could offer. Imagine, you want to watch a particular actor/actress, or a type of programming theme, lets say car crashes, you enter that into your video search engine. (Yahoo, Google and others are involved with this,) and it comes up with shows and/or video clips concerning that subject. Probably you would have already programmed your Digital Video Recorder (DVR) or computer to have searched for and recorded on it's hard drive, that particular type of programing. Your DVR or computer could of course check regularly, automatically seeing if any new related programming is available, recording it and alerting you to that. With the convergence of broadband and a mandated digital TV infrastructure, the possibilities are extreme. Tools used to create content for Broadband TV include Flash and Shockwave. It's expected that in the future more TV shows will premier first on the Internet, and then appear on broadcast, telco, cable or satellite TV.

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Inside view

China to restrict satellite TV stations China will allow satellite television stations to buy the right to broadcast only one foreign program each year from 2014 as part of new restrictions to push "moralitybuilding" and educational shows. The official Shanghai Securities Journal, citing an order by the General Administration for Press and Publication to domestic television stations, also said foreign programmes could not be broadcast in prime-time viewing hours from 7:30 p.m. to 10 pm during the year in which the broadcasting rights were purchased. The new rules are an intensification of an earlier policy announced in February, which capped the broadcast of foreign television series to 50 episodes, and will result in fewer foreign series being broadcast in China. The campaign also could accelerate a wider trend: the migration of domestic viewers away from broadcast television toward pre-recorded shows downloaded

from the Internet to computers and mobile devices. The Chinese government is increasingly concerned about what it sees as rising vulgarity in domestic television programming. At the same time, it has been moving to limit domestic channels' reliance on imported content. The new rules also stipulate that stations must increase the amount of public-interest programming such as documentaries, education and "morality-building" programs to not less than 30 percent of the total, and restrict the number of new musical talent shows to one every three months.

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view Inside Inside view

What is Direct Broadcast via Satellite?

Direct broadcast satellite, (DBS) also known as "Direct-To-Home" can either refer to the communications satellites themselves that deliver DBS service or the actual television service. DBS systems are commonly referred to as "mini-dish" systems. DBS uses the upper portion of the Ku band, as well as portions of the Ka band. Modified DBS systems can also run on C-band satellites and have been used by some networks in the past to get around legislation by some countries against reception of Ku-band transmissions. Most of the DBS systems use the DVB-S standard for transmission. With Pay-TV services, the datastream is encrypted and requires proprietary reception equipment. While the underlying reception technology is similar, the Pay-TV technology is proprietary, often consisting of a Conditional Access Module and smart card. This measure assures satellite television providers that only authorised, paying

subscribers have access to Pay TV content but at the same time can allow free-to-air (FTA) channels to be viewed even by the people with standard equipment (DBS receivers without the Conditional Access Modules) available in the market. The term Television receive-only, or TVRO, arose during the early days of satellite television reception to differentiate it from commercial satellite television uplink and downlink operations (transmit and receive). This was before there was a DTH satellite television broadcast industry. Satellite television channels at that time were intended to be used by cable television networks rather than received by home viewers. Satellite TV receiver systems were largely constructed by hobbyists and engineers. In 1978 Microcomm, a small company founded by radio amateur and microwave engineer H. Paul Shuch, introduced the first commercial home satellite TV receiver. These early TVRO

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systems operated mainly on the C band frequencies and the dishes required were large; typically over 3 meters (10 ft) in diameter. Consequently TVRO is often referred to as "big dish" or "Big Ugly Dish" (BUD) satellite television. TVRO systems are designed to receive analog and digital satellite feeds of both television or audio from both C-band and Ku-band transponders on FSS-type satellites. The higher frequency Ku-band systems tend to be Direct To Home systems and can use a smaller dish antenna because of the higher power transmissions and greater antenna gain. TVRO systems tend to use larger rather than smaller satellite dish antennas, since it is more likely that the owner of a TVRO system would have a C-band-only setup rather than a Ku band-only setup.

The Highly Circulated Satellite Magazine

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21 YEARS OF GENEROUS PUBLICATIONS

Inside view

Changes in the most dynamic DTH market With the recent announcement of a proposed merger between Reliance Digital and Sun Direct, which would form India's 2nd largest DTH platform, the world's most dynamic DTH market has kicked it up a notch. With 5 major platforms jostling over 1.1 billion people, the Indian DTH market is transitioning from being characterized by breakneck subscriber growth to more nuanced subscriber retention and development. As the market continues to grow at a considerable clip, there will be several key concepts to grasp in order to capitalize on this growth—the fundamentally unique aspects of the Indian market, the way in which operators are trying to retain existing customers, and the future direction of the industry following digitalization. The Indian DTH market is by no means unique among developing economies, in the sense that a high percentage of Indian DTH subscribers are pre-paid and short-term. However, it is a unique market when considering the sheer number of these types of subscribers, which themselves outnumber the DTH subs in most countries. NSR's Direct-to-Home Markets, 6th Edition estimates that there are around 40 million DTH subscribers in India as of 2012, making it the largest DTH market in the world by subscribers. However, many published articles and press releases would put the number at around 60 million subscribers. This difference of around 20 million represents a sea of short-term, prepaid customers, who are currently inactive. Moving forward, it will be critical for Indian operators to tap into this customer segment and up their retention rate, for these people have already made the effort to get satellite TV, and thus are considerably

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more likely to be long-term customers. Platforms are employing an arsenal of different tools to help retain these customers, and eventually grow their ARPUs. Platforms up to this point have used a number of promotional strategies to lure customers into the DTH market, which include 3 free months of service, buy a 1year contract and receive 2 months free, etc.

While these offers have helped to boost customer retention, subscriber churn remains the single biggest issue among operators, in some cases reaching as high as 35%. The Indian DTH market requires further granularity of product offerings. In a country and an economy as diverse as India's, customization is a must.

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The Hybrid Evolution Of Europe's Hbbtv Standard With free-to-air broadcasters increasingly looking to hybrid solutions, combining broadcast with IP-based advanced interactive services to stay relevant, Europe's HbbTV standard is evolving to enable a wider range of applications. The majority of viewers in advanced markets are now accustomed to interacting with TV, most obviously via the EPG and catch-up TV and on-demand applications. The proliferation of web-connected set-top boxes and TVs means that the ways to deliver interactive services has expanded dramatically since the early days of digital TV. Hybrid TV – combining the advantages of broadcast and broadband – have been around for some time, having originally been used by telcos to deliver TV costeffectively by providing free-to-air channels over digital-terrestrial networks and ondemand and niche channels via IP. However the more recent interest shown by free-toair broadcasters in delivering IP-based interactive services gave impetus to the search for a standards-based approach in the shape of Hybrid Broadcast Broadband Television (HbbTV). HbbTV was initially driven by free-to-air broadcasters as a way to deliver interactive services over multiple distribution networks – principally digital terrestrial and satellite. Ten European countries have officially endorsed the standard including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and JANUARY

Poland. Australia has adopted it and Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam are actively looking at HbbTV. Outside the countries that have adopted HbbTV, technologies to enable interactive TV in horizontal markets remain fragmented. While convergence is happening elsewhere in Europe, the UK and Italy stand apart with YouView and MHP respectively. In the case of the UK, the YouView platform tried to combine a range of technologies including HTML, Adobe Flash and MHEG into what Frode Hernes, vice-president of TV and devices at Opera Software, calls “one huge spec” that was initially, at least, not hugely successful, with HTML ultimately being dropped. The UK's Freesat satellite platform has meanwhile implemented something closer to HbbTV, using the Digital Television Group's (DTG) D-Book specifications and parts of the Open IPTV Forum (OIPF) standard, a close relation of HbbTV, to create a platform that can deliver services separately in MHEG and HTML. HbbTV was designed with relatively modest aims in mind – something that set it apart from the likes of YouView. For Simon Trudelle, senior product marketing director at TV technology provider Nagra, HbbTV is a technology “for interactive information on the screen and video stores and simple apps that enhance the TV experience – it's not for advanced users but for people comfortable accessing services via the remote control”.

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DTH Developments The DTH technology enables a broadcasting company to directly beam the signal to your TV set through a receiver that is installed in the house. There is no need for a separate cable connection. In India, direct-to-home (DTH) Broadcasting Service refers to the distribution of multi channel TV programmes in Ku Band by using a satellite system by providing TV signals direct to subscribers' premises. For DTH connection the broadcasting company provides a set that comprises the dish and a receiving set. The company beams an encrypted signal that only the set installed in your household can receive and enable viewing. DTH has many advantages like one can do away with the cable operator who will give you channels of his choice and there is no assurance of quality. The quality of signals in this case is expected to be superior since the signal is not split through a cable. By choosing just the signals that one needs, there is a possibility of reducing your monthly cable bill. Among disadvantages, the biggest one is the capital cost that has to be borne initially. Since this involves setting up of a receiving apparatus at the subscribers end, the cost

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can be prohibitively high. The government has been attempting to legalise DTH TV since 2010. It is currently illegal to own and view DTH TV, however DTH TV is pervasive in Bhuan. For DTH TV to be legal in Bhutan, the government requires that a DTH package include BBS TV. Given that channels aired by local cable operators have to be approved by the authority prior, the DTH package of channels would also subject to similar scrutiny and filtering. For the inclusion of BBS TV in a DTH TV package, the government had already reached an agreement with Indian telecommunications company, Bharti Airtel, as early as 2010. The government even licensed a local company to provide legal DTH TV services in 2012 once Bharti Airtel began uplinking its Bhutanese package to Bhutan. However, Bharti Airtel, in order to 'uplink' BBS TV to Bhutan, had to first find another Indian company to partner with, to 'downlink' BBS TV in India. But prior to 'downlinking' BBS TV in India, this Indian company had to obtain a permit from the Indian government to carry out the procedure.

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Pakistan's First Cubesat Satellite Institute of Space Technology (IST) has launched Pakistan's first Cubesat satellite, iCUBE-1, onboard Dnepr launch vehicle from Yasny launch base, Russia. It is welcoming news for Higher Education Institutions, students and researchers of Pakistan that Institute of Space Technology (IST) has etched its name among the foremost universities in the World who have built and launched a Cubesat satellite. This Cubesat satellite will open up a wide vista of future experiments that can be carried on Cubesat in the domain of imaging, microgravity, biology, nanotechnology, space dynamics, chemistry, space physics and various other fields. Cubesats can also provide a test bed for developing satellite constellations for specific applications. Institute of Space Technology has achieved this astounding success in a short span of ten years, owing to the concerted efforts by its leadership, students and faculty to standout in this field and to create a national center of excellence in space technology. The Vice Chancellor IST, Engr Imran Rahman congratulated `Team IST' for this great achievement. He specifically thanked the Federal Minister for Planning,

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Development and Reforms, Professor Ahsan Iqbal, Chairman HEC and Chairman of National Space Agency for their continuous encouragement, support and help in achieving this milestone. Spokesperson IST Raza Butt said, "iCUBE1 has been launched in a polar orbit, 600Km above the surface of the Earth, and is designed to take low resolution images of Earth and other space objects." Initially, iCUBE-1 will transmit a Continuous Wave Morse coded beacon with message "iCUBE-1 First CubeSat of Pakistan." Ham radio operators have a great opportunity to hear those signals on the VHF band. iCUBE-1 has a mass of 1.1 Kg and is thus categorised as a pico-satellite. The satellite has a volume of 10cm cube and it houses several sensors to collect data for scientific purposes. iCUBE-1 is a fully autonomous satellite and is capable of maintaining its health via its on-board computer. The satellite will send its health data to ground stations and can also be commanded from Satellite Tracking and Control Station at IST. Launch of iCUBE-1 is a significant milestone in the space programme of Pakistan as it will motivate our youth to take more active part in the future satellite development programme of Pakistan, he said.

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The satellite-TV-equipment manufacturing industry expects sales to surge to at least Bt15 billion next year, fuelled mainly by the arrival of digital terrestrial TV broadcasting, according to the Satellite Dish Club. "We believe the transition to digital terrestrial TV broadcasting, which is expected to begin early next year, presents genuine opportunities for satellite-TV manufacturers, rather than being a trend," Niran Tangpiroontham, president of the Satellite Dish Club, said. Niran said many satellite-TV manufacturers

Inside view

buy new digital TV set-top boxes (DVBT2), priced at around Bt1,000 per set, due to the discount vouchers provided by the NBTC. This would create approximately Bt11 billion revenue for the industry. Meanwhile, 36 new digital terrestrial TV channels, which must be carried via all broadcasting platforms under the NBTC's "must-carry" rule, will also drive sales in the replacement market. Under this rule, cable and satellite TV operators must carry 12 public and 24 commercial TV channels. By the end of this year, sales of cable TV set-top boxes are expected to generate Bt3 billion in revenue from 2 million cable-TV customers. Additionally, sales of satelliteTV receivers are forecast to reach Bt1

Digital-TV Ara

a boon for receiver makers

and distributors were ready to sell set-top boxes for digital terrestrial TV broadcasting services, placing orders from overseas while waiting for the green light from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). The arrival of the digital terrestrial TV business is expected to stimulate local consumption and generate more than Bt15 billion in revenue for the satellite-TV manufacturing industry. Of the 22 million households in the Kingdom, 12 million watch TV via satellite TV receivers; six million watch via analog TV receivers; and the rest access programmes through cable TV platforms. Niran expects half of all households will

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billion, spent by 1 million customers who want to replace their old ones. Apart from digital terrestrial TV broadcasting, Niran, who is also managing director of Infosat, said the satellite-TV distribution segment has room to grow in the area of KU-band satellite TV dishes, as this kind of receiver works with highdefinition technology. Manop Tokarnka, president of IPMTV, a Kband satellite-TV distributor, said he would put more focus on the urban market next year after his company shifted its rental transponders from the NSS6 satellite to the SES8 satellite. The move allows better quality of services such as increasing the number of new HD channels to 60 from 20.

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Digital TV is expected to boom in the Asia Pacific region, with a nearly two and a half times increase in subscribers by the end of 2015, according to a new report by Informa Telecoms and Media. The Asia Pacific region will see an increase of more than 94 million TV households to 784 million by 2015, with an average of 1.4 TV sets per home, totalling 1.1 billion TVs in the region within the next five years. 43 percent of this number will be cable subscribers for both analogue and digital. Direct To Home (DTH) satellite TV is in second place with nine percent. India is the strongest market for DTH, overtaking Japan in 2008, and is expected to have a 63percent market share for DTH by 2015. 33 percent, or 259 million, will still use analogue terrestrial signals but may switch to cable analogue or digital after 2015. Paid TV packages will also see strong growth, garnering an expect 400 million subscribers in the region by 2015. This should generate revenue of over $40 billion (ÂŁ26 billion) . China and India will be the big players for paid TV, while emerging markets like Vietnam and Indonesia will also contribute strongly.

Inside view

Japan will remain dominant in the TV market, with a revenue share of 31 percent in 2009. However, this is expected to fall to 29 percent in 2015, with most of the two percent difference going to China, which will be in tied place at 29 percent in five years time, up from 20 percent last year. Digital TV has seen strong growth recently, with more expected over the next five years. Digital TV penetration in Asia Pacific was 21 percent at the end of 2009 and is expected to increase to 54 percent by the end of 2015. Four markets within the region will have achieved a 100 percent digital penetration by 2015, with four others achieving a penetration rate of over 70 percent. China is the largest provider of digital TV, stealing Japan's crown in 2007. By the end of 2009 it accounted for 46 percent of the region's digital TV market share. By 2015 it is expected to have at least 55 percent of the share. India will follow with 20 percent, Japan with nine percent, and South Korea with three percent.

s r e d r o b d n o y e b g n i o g V T l a t i Dig

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Inside view

Most popular and renowned technology in world of Television Internet protocol television, which is popularly known as IPTV, is progressively famous and renowned technology for transportation of the data information along with AV or Audio and Video, across the IP based on the digital network. It may include Ethernet, LAN, WAN and the internet. Moreover, the STB or set top box and the AV information may be even streamed over the existing networks with TV or your computer. It is even possible for the IPTV to become one to one which is even known as Unicast or known as Multicast. Arabic IPTV online allows you to view various programs and Arabic channels through online broadcasting without any kind of involvement of the third party. As per the latest findings and research currently about 15.5 million of people have subscribed for IPTV services and about 8.4 million of subscribers are basically from Europe. However because of the demands of high bandwidth digital video, the IPTV needs Internet connectivity of broadband. Theoretically, plugging on to broadband which is an internet of high speed would permit the IPTV users to have additional control on the television programming as well as ability to design or customize it as per your personal preferences. Critically IPTV system avoids the interruption of the crucial network by employing separate and exclusive video

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local area network. Moreover, entire freeview channels can be viewed without the SAT or any Terrestrial receivers. The Arabic TV network iptv works tremendously well through the internet connectivity and so you can watch the channels of your choice and preferences. Through IPTV Local television content, sports and movies may be provided for subsidiary income from hotels, or it can even be provided without any subscription charge to the student campus. However, Sources of audio and video may be streamed over the current networks on your computers or on the televisions with addition of the STB or the set top boxes. If you want to see the earlier programs then you can easily retrieve it from network of IPTV because of its storage facility. The networks based on IPTV are practically resistant to intervention, ghosting, reflections, harmonics and cross modulation. Digital transmission of coaxial networks indicates that some of such issues are resolved, however, yet some of the above issues still persist. IPTV can be luxuriously used through the bathroom TV which is IP enabled. Such TVs are ultimate for bathroom luxury, which permits the viewer to safely view TV while soaking in bathtub which is full of bubbles. So, you can enjoy the luxurious bath.

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The many features of satellite TV receivers Satellite TV is the fastest growing market segment for watching TV programming (be it news, shows, sports, or movies), and as a likely consumer in this market, you want to make sure that you get the best equipment for the job. Several pieces of equipment are vital to watching satellite TV, and you certainly don't want to skimp out on any of them. Most people certainly think of the dish when it comes to satellite TV, and everyone knows that their television set itself is very important. However, the right satellite TV receiver can make all the difference while a poor one can ruin your experience. When you order a satellite TV subscription package from your provider, they will likely offer you a basic one that's included in your package for free. However, more advanced ones with more features (and more robust features at that) will often cost more money each month, and the selection is often limited. Depending on the amount of time you spend with a particular package though, this might be the cheaper route, and it's beneficial to note that many consumers are perfectly happy with the satellite TV receiver that they have (because if they aren't, then they upgrade).

Inside view

sure that you're getting the right one. In satellite TV receivers, many people look for the amount and type of various connectors, such as HDMI, component, and S-Video cable connectors. This can be very important when setting up your home theater. Many people like to use the television's built in speakers for everyday watching and surround sound speakers for movies and their favorite shows, and other circumstances like this one make connectors a vital part of any satellite TV receiver. Many people also enjoy the use of DVR (digital video recording) capabilities in satellite TV receivers, but these will definitely cost more than non-DVR receivers (by several hundred dollars if the other features are similar). DVR simply means that you can record programs on a schedule, and the show or movie will be stored on a hard drive so you can watch the program whenever you want to.

However, many consumers want to own their very own satellite TV receiver, and here the differences really open up. When purchasing a receiver, there are many more options to choose from, and you should really look over all of the features to make

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Thanks to Global Invacom and ESA, you could one day distribute satellite TV programmes to devices around your home via the Internet. Any device with an IP address, such as a smartphone, tablet, television or computer, can receive the broadcasts as long as it has the right software and is connected via wi-fi, Ethernet, power-line communications or LAN. The system uses SES-Astra's SAT-toIP protocol and was developed with support from ESA's Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES) programme. The demonstration system makes it possible to stream up to six different television

Inside view

innovative distribution technology has the potential to change the way we view television around the home.” A follow-on project starting soon will add premium services to be delivered via IP. Global Invacom has developed a prototype system for viewing satellite television using SES-ASTRA's SAT-to-IP® protocol. The new system was developed with support from ESA's ARTES Technology Development Programme and demonstrates how satellite TV customers can view different broadcasts across a number of smartphones, tablets, televisions or computers around the home. The SAT-to-IP solution enables satellite TV

GETTING MORE OUT OF YOUR SATELLITE TV

programmes simultaneously and as it can be configured for 32 end users there are a possible 192 channels to view. The system's ability to provide multiple channels in one building means there is potential for houses of multiple occupation, blocks of flats or homes where the occupants may wish to watch different channels at the same time on different devices without numerous satellite decoder boxes or extensive coaxial cabling. Nader Alagha, ESA's Telecommunications Systems Engineer, explained, “We are really excited about the development of Global Invacom's new prototype for viewing satellite television. “The demonstration system shows how the

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programmes to be distributed by Internet Protocol (IP) to devices around the house. The IP connectivity can be established via a Wi-Fi network, power-line communications or LAN. The prototype product is made up of multiple components, including a new type of Low Noise Block (LNB) which takes the satellite transponder streams and converts them to an optical output. The software on the users device instructs the Sat IP server to decode the correct satellite signals and these are distributed by SAT-to-IP technology to the viewer's screens. The content can be viewed on any networked IP device in the home with the appropriate software installed.

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21 YEARS OF GENEROUS PUBLICATIONS

Difference between

KU Band and C Band?

Ku-band permits the use of smaller antennas that are aesthetically better and much cheaper than C-band. A typical Kuband antenna is 1.2/1.8m and a typical Cband antenna ranges from 1.8m, 2.4m, 3.8m etc. Ku-band requires less radio power than C-band to provide the same signal strength thus allowing a smaller antenna. The cost of C-band equipment and installation is normally 3 times that of Ku-band. C-band installations are huge and costly to install. C Band: The uplink frequencies ranged from 5925 to 6425 MHz. The downlink frequencies ranged from 3700 to 4200 MHz, providing 500 MHz of bandwidth in each direction. This freq region is overlaps with terrestrial microwave communication systems.. This situation causes interference between C-Band and terrestrial microwave communication systems The Ku band (Kurtz-under band) is primarily used for satellite communications, particularly for editing and broadcasting satellite television. This band is split into multiple segments broken down into geographical regions, as the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) determines.

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dishes are smaller (varying in size from 2' to 5' in diameter.) Services that can be found on the Ku-band include educational networks, business networks, sports backhauls, teleconferences, mobile news truck feeds, international programming, various SCPC (Single Channel Per Carrier) transmissions of analog audio, as well as FM audio services.

When frequencies higher than 10 GHz are transmitted and received in a heavy rain fall area, a noticeable degradation occurs, due to the problems caused by and proportional to the amount of rain fall (commonly known as known as “rain fade”). This problem can be combated, however, by deploying an appropriate link budget strategy when designing the satellite network and allocating a higher power consumption to overcome rain fade loss. In terms of end-viewer TV reception, it takes heavy rainfalls in excess of 100 mm per hour to have a noticeable effect. The Ku band's higher frequency spectrum is particularly susceptible to signal degradation, considerably more so than C band satellite frequency spectrum, though the Ku band is less vulnerable to rain fade than the Ka band frequency spectrum. A similar phenomena called “snow fade” (when snow accumulation significantly alters the dish's focal point) can also occur during Winter Season. Also, the Ku band satellites typically require considerably more power to transmit than the C band satellites. However, both Ku and Ka band satellite

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Inside view

Cable Edges

To An

IP Future

Cable operators have long seen the advantages of delivering TV services via IP and merging their DOCSIS and video platforms to give maximum flexibility, but they are taking a pragmatic approach. It has long been received wisdom that cable operators want to move to an all-IP architecture. There are numerous potential benefits of moving to IP: operators could reduce costs by combining their data and TV platforms; and IP is seen as a desirable platform for video services as it will enable them to deliver multiroom and multiscreen services much more economically. A full migration to IP would also enable operators to deliver a much more sophisticated user experience to their core TV subscribers than is often possible today. In an age when consumers are increasingly familiar with new ways of navigating and consuming video via iPads and the web, the kind of search and navigation functionality provided by legacy middlewares is increasingly seen as clunky, old-fashioned and difficult to update or personalise. Clearly, the advantages conferred by an allIP network are considerable, but cable service providers have to decide what the best step-by-step approach is to achieving it, while supporting their existing investment in legacy set-tops and

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infrastructure. For the last three years the Comcast-driven Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) has been at the centre of the debate about next-generation headend architecture for cable. CCAP is essentially a headend device whose specifications were designed by US cable operators, led by Comcast. The specification was designed to support growth in the number of QAM channels used for narrowcast services such as videoon-demand as well as IP-based video services and network DVR. CCAP devices – which could sit either at a central headend or at a hub site – were intended to provide a higher order of density in terms of QAMs per RF port and ports per chassis than legacy CMTS and edgeQAM equipment, in order to accommodate the narrowcast explosion while saving on space and power. In addition, they were designed to combine edgeQAM and CMTS functions in a single device and to remove the silos into which IP DOCSIS and QAM video traffic were divided, enabling operators to mix and match QAM and IP traffic. The ability to dynamically allocate bandwidth between video to the DOCSIS data channels would give operators maximum flexibility in meeting changing patterns of demand.

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TV Everywhere presents challenges for billing and customer care systems that were only ever designed to serve single premises hardware or define customers as a building with a street address. It's not just services enabled by tablets and smartphones that are deconstructing the customer base. Personalised DVRs cater to individuals and also allow TV operators to begin engaging single people in the home or group. The implications for billing are huge with the ramifications for the pay TV industry in particular still being worked through. Some, like MacDonald, contend that new billing functionality “would require massive customisation or a forklift upgrade. Fundamental changes would need to be made to data models, processes and functionality.” Others caution against the

Inside view

in the system need to change.” Mewada holds that current systems are “extremely well placed” to accommodate the shift in consumption habits because they are ultimately the source of record for all billable events and transactions. “Does a billing system – if fed the right source data – really care if a VoD purchase is done through a tablet rather than through a set-top?” he asks rhetorically. “It should not.” The first challenge for an operator when addressing a customer rather than a household is the very definition of customer. This quickly becomes a complex question. “Is it the person who pays the bill, the channel viewer or viewers, the children, the lodger, and what about adult children in education in another location?” poses

TV Everywhere Billing And Customer Care Challenges assumption that new billing and care systems necessarily means you rip-andreplace what already exists. “They may need to do so, but not always, and never overnight,” says Mewada. “There's too much risk of business disruption. It's true that many current systems that were developed specifically for pay TV models may not be readily adaptable to new product and customer models. It's not always the system that can't adapt, but rather that the product or customer models implemented

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CoralTree director Mark Price. “TV Everywhere takes it to another dimension – a device? The key to this debate is, firstly, what do customers want?” Some operators may offer all or a subset of the same content online as in their traditional broadcast, as with catch-up TV, while others want to offer unique content to their multi-screen subscribers,” explains Rafi Kretchmer, director, cross portfolio marketing at Amdocs.

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technologies is being counterbalanced by strong growth of digital technologies. Digital cable subscriptions more than doubled between 2008 and 2012, as did the number of households receiving DTT.

Majority of global TV goes digital New research from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is claiming to have unveiled a tipping point for the TV market marking a 'massive shift' from analogue to digital. The agency's flagship annual report Measuring the Information Society 2013, found that 55% of households with a TV now receiving a digital signal compared with just 30% in 2008, with the actual tipping point reached last year. Looking at specific regions, the ITU found that around 81% of total households with a TV now receive a digital signal and in the developing world, the number of households receiving digital TV almost tripled in the four-year period from 2008 to end 2012, reaching 42%. ITU figures show that there were an estimated 1.4 billion households with at least one TV set by end 2012. The number of pay-TV subscriptions worldwide increased by 32% between 2008 and 2012, overtaking free-to-air TV in 2011. There were a total of 728 million payTV subscriptions by the end of 2012, meaning that 53% of all households with a television had a pay-TV subscription. Discerning the trends revealed, the survey

JANUARY

found that traditional multichannel TV platforms, such as cable and direct-to-home (DTH) satellite, are facing increasing competition from IPTV service providers and even digital terrestrial TV (DTT) channels. At the same time, added challenges are coming from over-the-top (OTT) audio-visual content providers such as YouTube, Netflix and China's PPLive service, as well as traditional broadcasting stations that now offer online streaming or downloading of TV and video content. The technology with the highest relative growth was IPTV, with total subscriptions increasing more than fourfold over the fouryear period. In absolute terms, however, IPTV still represents a marginal share of total households with a TV, accounting for just 5% in 2012. “New technologies are creating a plethora of new platforms for content sharing, which in turn is making television much more accessible over a wide range of devices,” said Hamadoun I Touré, secretary-general, ITU. “This is very important in the developing world, where TV continues to play an important role in education and knowledge-sharing.” The steady decline in analogue TV

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