Experts propose Advanced Digital Television Services

From Colin Mann in London

A group of telco and broadcasting industry senior executives has revealed what it described as 'radical proposals' to increase significantly the number of HD services carried on the UK digital terrestrial network, and with further developments could reach 40, plus the inclusion of mobile TV and portable services.

The group, comprising officials from global digital TV standards group DVB and UK industry body Digital Television Group (DTG), presented its proposals at the DTG's 2008 Summit. Technical Group chairman Dr Ian Fields said the plan built on regulator Ofcom's current proposals, which envisaged the adoption of DVB-T2 and MPEG-4 to allow for the transmission of up to four HD channels using a proportion of the radio frequency used by current digital television services.

The group suggests that DVB-T2 and MPEG-4 are introduced at the earliest possible opportunity – together they increase carrying capacity by approximately 100 per cent. In addition, it propose the development of a low-cost 'plug-in' module for the 'Common Interface slot' already incorporated in virtually all HD-ready TVs above 30cm, to allow DVB-T2/MPEG-4 services to be received on suitable existing TVs. It is also proposed that national Single Frequency Networks be adopted, which would quadruple the available capacity compared to the existing regional Multi-Frequency Networks, while mobile TV could be provided using the DVB-H standard in conjunction with the new MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) system. This would also permit transmission of the five public service channels in Standard Definition for free-to-air reception on mobile devices and portable sets using indoor aerials.

Field anticipated the proposals would initiate discussion and debate within the industry and regulators, and said they gave the opportunity to create a truly world-class, FTA Advanced Digital Television Service, maintaining the UK's position as a leader in television production and broadcasting, and providing a highly-compelling service to consumers.

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