Satellite operator Eutelsat has confirmed the successful completion of the first phase of development of a ‘smart LNB’ for a Direct-to-Home antenna that opens the door for broadcasters to operate their own ecosystem of linear television and connected TV services directly by satellite. The ‘smart LNB’ is now entering into the industrialisation phase in advance of commercial availability in 2014.
Designed by Eutelsat, the ‘smart LNB’ is a new-generation electronic feed connected to an antenna with an embedded transmitter for interactive applications such as HbbTV, pay-per-view, social networking, personal subscription management and live show participation (voting, comments …). It will transform mass market Direct-to-Home satellite services by enabling broadcasters and platform operators to bolt interactive value-added services onto their broadcast platforms, circumventing viewer dependency on terrestrial fixed and mobile networks. This new product meets increasing consumer expectation to manage and interact with content and also prepares the ground for machine-to-machine and home automation applications.
“Building on Eutelsat’s track record for innovation that broadens the scope and competitivity of satellite services, the ‘smart LNB’ will enable broadcast players to more efficiently serve their customer base and diversify the range and nature of applications offered, from direct customer support to audience measurement and enhanced security,” said Jean-François Leprince-Ringuet, Eutelsat’s Chief Commercial Officer. “This new technology can benefit satellite homes with limited options for the return link as well as mature markets where platform operators are seeking to build and sustain a close direct relationship with their subscriber base.”
Fully compatible with existing consumer satellite equipment, the ‘smart LNB’ is based on open standards (DVB-S2, IP, etc.) and highly efficient protocols developed by Eutelsat for the connection link, combined with optimised use of satellite spectrum in multiple frequency bands (C, Ku, Ka). As an IP-based tool, it will also enable content to be viewed on mobile devices in the home (smartphones, tablets, laptops).
The proof-of-concept and first prototypes have already been tested over Eutelsat satellites and are now ready for validation with platform operators and partners. Eutelsat has launched the industrialisation process with the first manufacturers with the objective that this new product will be adopted by further hardware manufacturers and become a pillar of future television infrastructure.