UK transmission and distribution specialist Arqiva unveiled its latest research and development to a selected audience of British-based clients on October 22. One of the demonstrations saw Arqiva create what it claimed was the world’s first live ‘pop-up’ TV channel, transmitting from London’s British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) and fed by microwave across one of London’s busiest streets to an Arqiva uplink-truck and then to a pair of satellite hops via Arqiva’s Winchester headquarters, and back to Earth, within BAFTA to the VIP audience.
The signal (actually of a pair of goldfish – ‘Evel’ and ‘Knievel’ – in a bowl, and dubbed ‘Fish TV’) was a real-time demo of the advantages gained by Arqiva from its acquisition of Connect TV in September 2012. Connect TV is already feeding in speciality services to Britain’s Freeview digital terrestrial service. Richard Knight, from Arqiva, explained that the ease of introducing a service was one of the key advantages. “It could just as easily be a dedicated channel for Cowes Week yacht racing in the summertime, or one-off pop concerts, tennis tournaments or any other special event where a potentially large audience could be captured. This technology will enable broadcast customers to create one-off channels for audiences without the high cost of bandwidth and long-term channel contracts.”
Arqiva’s Connect TV service is already managing Russia Today and 4Music (and its Kerrang!, Kiss and Magic music ‘channels’), and showed how additional channels could lay beneath the Red Button. The key to the service was the near-seamless switching from a broadcast signal to a broadband signal. Arqiva says that it is also confident of handling HDTV signals over broadband and using the UK’s huge deployed universe of Digital Terrestrial set-top-boxes.
It also showed how its latest research had resulted in an end-to-end Content Replacement technology. This permits both regional and even personalised content to be inserted to engage the audience. Content Replacement could even be applied to a traditional broadcast stream, going out over Europe, for example, where language or advertising needed to be changed to reflect local opportunities.