Category Archives: Mobile TV

Danish T2-Lite trial goes for all-mobile channel offer

Details have emerged about some of the technology choices adopted for the Copenhagen ‘T2-Lite’ trial, for which Danish operator Open Channel was awarded a licence in August last year.

The trial, which launched on January 1st this year and could run for up to three years, uses UHF channel 39 in Copenhagen, and claims coverage of more than 700,000 households.

In contrast to the BBC R&D trial last year, which squeezed a T2-Lite channel designed for mobile reception into the gaps between a fully-fledged HD service transmitted in standard DVB-T2 mode (now dubbed ‘T2-base’), the Copenhagen trial consists entirely of T2-Lite TV and radio channels carried on up to 16 Physical Layer Pipes (PLPs). As their name suggests, each of these can be regarded as a separate data-pipe with its own bit-rate and robustness characteristics, a notable feature of the second-generation DVB DTT standard.

Open Channel’s calculations show that configured in this manner, a T2-Lite multiplex can match the data-rate offered by a DVB-T one (see table below), yet still offer good mobile reception (unlike DVB-T as generally configured).

Stationary reception DVB-T 20 – 22 Mbit/s DVB-T2 37 – 40 Mbit/s
Mobile reception DVB-H 10 – 13 Mbit/s DVB-T2 Lite 20 – 25 Mbit/s

Source: Open Channel

The difference between the T2-base multiplex data-rate (40.2 Mbit/s in the UK) and that of a T2-Lite mux (20-25 Mbit/s) is explained by the fact that the PLPs within it are configured to be much more robust for mobile reception purposes, so run at lower bit-rates (the DVB-T2 spec sets a maximum of 4MBit/s for PLPs when T2-Lite is used).

But that in turn means that they can easily be captured by fixed aerials, too: in other words, the same channel offer is receivable on either living-room displays fed from a fixed rooftop antenna or handheld devices equipped with a T2-Lite tuner (the DVB predicted last September that soon, all [DVB-] T2 chipsets will support T2 Lite).

These channels will, of course, not be HD quality, but that has to be set against the fact that no separate (expensive) mobile TV network needs to be constructed.

One of the interesting assertions made by Open Channel is that DVB-T2 Lite is not only suitable for mobile TV. It is, the company says, “also highly suitable as the future standard of digital radio in place of DAB & DAB+ [...]. With the DVB-T2 / T2 Lite profile you get 2.7 to 3.7Mbit/s capacity (~ 40 / ~ 55 HE AACv2 radio stations) compared to the DAB / DAB+ 1.1 Mbit/s capacity (~ 6 mpeg1 layer II / ~ 16 HE AACv2 radio stations) with the same propagation model.”

Adobe abandons Flash on TVs as well as mobiles

The Gigaom website says that yesterday’s ZDNET exclusive about Adobe abandoning Flash in favour of HTML-5 wasn’t confined to the mobile space.

In a statement released to Gigaom, an Adobe spokeperson reportedly confirmed it would no longer focus on porting the Flash plugin into web browsers on CE devices, either. The Adobe statement said:

“Adobe will continue to support existing licensees who are planning on supporting Flash Player for web browsing on digital home devices and are using the Flash Player Porting Kit to do so. However we believe the right approach to deliver content on televisions is through applications, not a web browsing experience, and we will continue to encourage the device and content publishing community down that path.”

The late Steve Job’s long-standing opposition to the standard was no doubt influential in the move, since as a result, Flash was not supported on iPhones, iPods or iPads. In a famous open letter in April 2010, Jobs outlined his reasons for the Apple ban,arguing that “the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.”

Jobs went on to predict that “new open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too).”

UPDATE: Farncombe has published an analysis of how Adobe’s decision will impact service providers and connected TV platforms here.

QR codes for TV-based smartphone transactions?

Interesting think-piece here by Rick Howe at Tracy Swedlow’s Interactive TV Today.
Rick wonders if the use of QR codes might take off on (US) TV as a way of enabling secure purchases via smartphones in response to a TV screen prompt. His article contains a number of video-grabs of US examples of such applications.
Rick bases his argument on the growing popularity of QR functionality in mobile phones.
QR codes (short for Quick Response codes) are a high-data-content variation on barcodes (see here).
They can be captured and analysed by phone camera software, triggering a link to a relevant website.
As an example, the QR code below contains a link to farncombe’s website (www.farncombe.com).

‘T2-Lite’: a new candidate for mobile broadcasting

European digital TV standards body DVB has introduced a new, slimmed-down profile as part of the latest version of its next-generation DVB-T2 standard, targeting ‘low-capacity’ applications such as mobile broadcasting.
Known as ‘T2-Lite’, the new profile avoids processing- and memory-heavy modes, allowing more efficient receiver designs to be used – e.g. for a DVB-T2 tuner in a smartphone or tablet.
T2-Lite is limited to a maximum bit-rate of 4MBit/s, whereas the full HD-centric profile can run up to 48MBit/s (in the UK, DVB-T2 uses around 40MBit/s for DTT HD – see here.)
DVB says that “One possible use for T2-Lite enables the simulcasting of two different versions of the same service, with different bit-rates and levels of protection, which would allow better reception in fringe areas.”
According to a post on the BBC’s R&D blog, the BBC has been testing T2-Lite since July 7. In the trial, an HD signal for fixed reception and a T2-Lite version are combined within a single multiplex, with the T2-Lite frames placed in the gaps between the HD ones.
The concept that a single DVB signal could contain different versions of a broadcast which could be extracted by different receivers with different capabilities was proposed by the ‘god-father’ of DVB, Prof Ulrich Reimers, when DVB was originally set up, but has yet to prove popular in practice.
The BBC solution will be demonstrated at the forthcoming IBC exhibition in Amsterdam.

Plum Consulting: ‘Using L-Band for mobile downloads in EU could generate €54bn over 10 years’

A new study by Plum Consulting argues that using the so-called L-Band in Europe (1452-1492 MHz) for a terrestrial supplemental mobile downlink could address burgeoning requirements for download capacity in the mobile sector, and generate net present value of up to €54bn over ten years.
Plum notes there is currently”a significant asymmetry of mobile communications traffic, with up to eight times as much data being downloaded than is being uploaded.” This is due to the very rich content being made available, ranging from videos, to apps and to books.
Plum concludes that the L-Band is “the ideal solution, not just to help address the spectrum crunch but as an important step forward in achieving the EU’s Digital Agenda target of providing 30Mbps access to 100% of European citizens by 2020.”