Connected TV met up at IBC for the first time with Peter Siebert, who recently took over from Peter MacAvock as executive director of the DVB Project office (earning himself the nickname ‘Peter 2.0′ in the process), and was treated to the latest version of the DVB standards road-map.
One of the most interesting elements to come out of our discussion concerned the fate of what used to be known as DVB-H2 – the next-generation version of the mobile/handheld broadcast standard DVB-H.
Temporarily shelved because of an intervening effort to get the satellite/terrestrial hybrid version of DVB-H (DVB-SH) underway (its first European implementation will be on the Solaris Mobile venture (see previous post), it is now back on the books again – under the working title of DVB-NGH (for ‘Next Generation Handheld).
Asked whether DVB-T2 – which has always encompassed advanced mobile broadcast capabilities as well as high-capacity fixed HDTV ones – mightn’t itself play the role of a DVB-H substitute, Siefert conceded that “maybe [DVB-NGH] is only DVB-T2. The elements of DVB-T2 are a good candidate.”
On the face of it, this might make good sense: operators in some countries are already looking upon robust profiles of DVB-T as a potential substitute for DVB-H, simply because such implementations re-use a pre-existing transmitter network.
Equally likely, perhaps, would be DVB-T2 with ‘add-ons’ – for instance, DVB-NGH could contain DVB-T2 plus LGE (4G) elements – or, indeed, it could end up as something entirely separate from DVB-T2, Siebert said.
In any event, the next DVB Technical Module meeting is expected to give the go-ahead to a new technical group which will decide what NGH will be based on.
At that same meeting, a study group will be reporting back on current industry 3D developments (very much the theme of this year’s IBC show) with a view to a decision being reached about what DVB’s role should be in the 3D standardisation process, if any. Siebert suggested DVB come contribute elements to do with service information and transport protocols.
Siebert said there was also an ongoing discussion going on between the HBBTV backers (see previous story) and DVB as to “whether DVB should play a more active role” in the hybrid DVB standardisation space, perhaps acting as an umbrella group for various industry initiatives.
Amongst other recent developments, nine European operators, including the likes of Kabel Deutschland, Kabel Baden Wittenberg, Ono and Com Hem, have now committed themselves to the next-generation version of DVB’s cable standard, DVB-C2. Siebert commented that in Germany in particular, cable operators were running out of capacity, so they required the extra capacity DVB-C2 could offer. As an example, he pointed to the fact that Kabel Deutchsland’s RFPs now contained questions about whether set-top box manufacturers were able to support DVB-C2.
The first DVB-C2 prototypes are due to be shown at the Anga Cable show in Germany next year, and IBC 2010 would certainly feature the technology, Siebert said.