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EBU TECHNICAL The Digital Switch-over Challenges and Lessons Learned ITU Sub-Regional Seminar and Ministerial Round Table on Switchover from Analogue to.

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Presentation on theme: "EBU TECHNICAL The Digital Switch-over Challenges and Lessons Learned ITU Sub-Regional Seminar and Ministerial Round Table on Switchover from Analogue to."— Presentation transcript:

1 EBU TECHNICAL The Digital Switch-over Challenges and Lessons Learned ITU Sub-Regional Seminar and Ministerial Round Table on Switchover from Analogue to Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting in Central and Eastern Europe National Assembly House in Belgrade, Serbia April 2009 Darko Ratkaj Senior Engineer EBU Technical

2 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation Digital switchover - why are we doing it? Transition from analogue to digital terrestrial television DTT Strategy Implementation Approaches to digital switchover Pre-conditions for analogue switch-off (ASO) Main challenges Key success factors Agenda

3 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation Digital Switchover - why are we doing this? Digital television offers new possibilities to the viewers and broadcasters Improved technical quality of picture and sound Additional programmes Additional reception modes (portable and mobile) New types of services: (EPG, multi-channel, 16:9, HDTV, interactivity,...) Favorable conditions for future evolution Cost optimization For regulators: Competition - terrestrial platform must remain competitive with cable, satellite and future broadband Regulatory certainty stimulates investments in the new networks GE06 Plan (as from 2015 no protection of analogue TV) Spectrum efficiency => Digital Dividend

4 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation Legislation licensing conditions (coverage and service requirements) spectrum access conditions MUX operation; content aggregation; non-broadcast services competition rules international situation Which services (SDTV, HDTV, Free-to-air, PayTV, mobile TV) and how many? coverage target for national, regional, local services reception mode (roof-top fix, mobile outdoor, portable indoor) technical parameters (transmission system, MPEG2 or MPEG4, SFN or MFN, MUX capacity, receiver requirements) Transition from Analogue to Digital – DTT Strategy Which approach to Analog-to-Digital transition? (simulcast or overnight switchover; nation-wide or phased area-by-area) Implementation plan time schedule; milestones; management; coordination; funding Social and economic evaluation (costs, benefits, funding,...) Key decisions have to be made at the highest level in the country (government). Consult the relevant players and the public!

5 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation Spectrum planning GE-06 Plan provides a framework for detailed national planning International co-ordination may be required Time schedule of the ASO in the neighboring countries may be critical National legislation may need to be revised Digital Licenses to be awarded; Analogue ones may need to be modified Deployment of transmission networks (may be limited by the existing analogue services); start of the simulcast period Decision on the ASO date Information campaign to prepare the public Verify that all necessary conditions for ASO are met Analogue Switch-off the and full deploy digital services Transition from Analogue to Digital - Implementation Designate a single entity with the necessary implementing power to manage the transition!

6 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation Approaches to Analogue switch-off Gradual ASO during the simulcast period analogue transmissions are gradually taken off-air while digital TV services are progressively introduced soft transition Phased approach ASO area by area Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom Overnight ASO all analogue services are switched off at once nation-wide or area-by area requires very good preparations higher risk that something may go wrong Nation-wide overnight ASO Andorra, Finland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, USA

7 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation DTT networks on-air or ready to be launched coverage, reception conditions met ready to quickly resolve any remaining coverage problems attractive services to motivate viewers adoption of DTT Pre-requisites of Analogue Switch-Off Sufficiently high penetration of digital receivers government funding may be required ample supply of receivers in the shops (demand increases in the final months / weeks / days before ASO) Viewers must be well informed and prepared for the ASO ASO date announced on time the right choice of the date information call centers in place technical support provided to the viewers

8 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation Main challenges of the Digital Switchover Technical challenges – size of the conversion task Analogue equipment (transmitters) to be replaced with digital New networks may be required New frequency plan: new frequencies for many transmitters (may require new antennas) may result in changes of coverage Simulcast: spectrum is shared with analogue television; analogue services must be protected during the transition Cross-border issues: different time schedules in different countries Big Investment ! Market related challenges Viewers have to buy new receivers (or STBs), to adapt receive antennas Difficulties for elder and less wealthy segments of population

9 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation Different strategies of DTT launch UK Launch in 1998 of ITV pay-TV services Re-launch in 2002 of Free-view free-to-air services 2004: creation of SwitchCo (now Digital UK) to lead switchover process 2008: 6 muxes: - 30 to 40 free-to-air DTT services - one pay DTT bouquet (on-demand TV) Free-to-air offer with appealing content Strategy Sweden Early launch in 1999, 3 DVB-T Muxes 50% coverage – slow start 2004: Government puts in place legislative framework 2008: - 5 muxes, one in MPEG4 AVC format (may be HDTV in 2009) - 10 free-to-air and 27 pay DTT services Successful Pay- TV offer Germany Launch in 2002 in Berlin region only; Very short simulcast period (between 9 to 3 months) 2008: 6 muxes, ~ 24 free-to-air DTT services Launch region- by-region France Launch in 2005 with 35% coverage increased progressively; 5 Muxes + 1 mux HDTV France Télé numérique created to guide switchover 2008: Government decision for 11 DTT muxes 95% coverage + 2 DVB-H after ASO MPEG4 for pay DTT services

10 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation Nordic / Cable Terrestrial Analogue Switch-Off (ASO) Dates CountryDTT LaunchASO Date Netherlands2003Completed Finland2001Completed Sweden1999Completed Switzerland2001Completed Germany2002Completed Belgium, Flemish2002Completed Denmark Norway Austria Spain2000/ France Czech Republic UK Italy

11 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation Key factors for success (1): Viewers must be prepared Communication is key: viewers must understand what will happen, when and how to prepare Consumer awareness plan in UK Countdown: Switchover is happening! Switchover to 100% digital How to get ready! Are you ready? Get ready! Countdown: Switchover is here! 3-Years2-Years1-Year<12 months1 monthSwitchover National Launch of SwitchCo Financial support may be necessary: subsidizing digital receivers and antennae modifications Mandating digital tuners: policy tool used in France and USA. Planned in Italy. Education and technical support, where needed

12 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation Key factors for success (2): Information campaign Who? - VIEWERS: it should support viewers during the whole process - Professionals (manufactures, retailers, installers) => equipment should be available on time and at right cost - Press/media (avoid bad press) How? - Simple to address different type of population - Not too long, otherwise people may lose interest - Good indication of time schedule - Create attractive logos and slogans Where? - Everywhere: web, TV, newspapers, shops, streets and public places, brochures/letters, pubic transport,... Create call centers to answer consumers questions and guide them.

13 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation Key factors for success (3): Legislative framework Early involvement of the Government and regulators is essential to Put in place the necessary legislative framework Define the digital switchover strategy including ASO time schedule Define requirements for DTT coverage and reception conditions Issue DTT licenses for free-to-air and pay-TV services Provide funding, if needed, to ensure sufficient financial structure Ensure that adequate digital receivers are available on the market at a reasonable price Mandate digital tuners as from a certain date, if required Facilitate spectrum planning coordination with neighboring countries Create a Forum in charge of the switchover process, if it does not happen naturally Because... COOPERATION is essential as well

14 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation Key factors for success (4): Well prepared ASO Strategy: overnight or by area; short process or long process Good timing: avoid summer (holiday periods) and winter (more difficult to upgrade external equipment), weekends and coincidence with major events (political, sports or others) Identify the best area where the process should begin: areas with high penetration of digital receivers and where any community antennas have already been adapted areas where the DTT coverage is as good as analogue Identify the best channels where the process should begin Carry out pilot experiments to gain experience prior to ASO; gather and analyze reactions of the viewers; investigate technical and market related issues ASO means that ALL analogue services are switched off in a given area (otherwise it may cause confusion)

15 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation Key factors for success (5): Quality of the digital offer The service offer must be attractive At least programmes including simulcast of analogue (continuity of services is essential) plus new digital services Free-to-air services can be the core of the offer but pay-tv services may also be included: they create new business in the terrestrial distribution platform The service offer must be of high technical quality DTT parameters (modulation scheme, FEC rate, guard interval, etc.) must be adapted to the selected reception conditions The data capacity per programme in the MUX should be large enough to ensure better image quality than analogue The coverage should at least match the analogue one – gap fillers if needed Good digital receivers that fulfill reception specifications Avoid many changes (in frequencies, in parameters, etc.) Minimize simulcast (expensive and frequency demanding) Viewers must not be disappointed!

16 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation Key factors for success (6): Cooperation It is essential to ensure cooperation of all involved parties Public Service Broadcasters Private and commercial broadcasters Cable and satellite platforms Manufacturers of professional and consumer equipment Retailers and installers Governments and regulators Create a Forum in charge of the switchover process

17 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation CountryDTT CoverageDTT PenetrationYears launched UK80%39%10 Spain89%37%8 Italy85%27%4 Germany90%~10%4 France87%30%3 DTT penetration vs. coverage In many countries in Europe there is lack of frequencies Difficult to improve coverage before ASO Difficult to increase DTT penetration Difficult to switch off analogue! Experience has shown that DTT penetration increases very rapidly during the final months prior to ASO

18 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation National ASO on 12 June 2009 to be done overnight 15% terrestrial penetration: 17 million viewers! Today: around 6 million viewers unprepared! Mainly low-income and ethnic minorities Coupon programme - $1.5 billion of Government funding to ease the transition 2 x 40$ per household on a first-come first-served basis Not sufficient for last minute demand People that needed help most did not obtain coupons ASO trial in Wilmington: Coverage problems: reception not as good as analogue Viewers lack technical competence How to install digital receivers and scan for new digital services Fixed roof-top antennas needed to be re-pointed, modified or replaced No single entity responsible for planning and coordinating the switchover. Preparations for ASO in USA

19 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation The switchover process is complex but feasible Effective communication campaign Cooperation and coordinated efforts of the whole broadcast industry Government and regulators support and involvement Strong leadership DTT receivers available on the market on time at a reasonable price Adequate financial resources available... contribute to a successful Analogue Switch off

20 EBU TECHNICAL - your reference in media technology and innovation For more information visit: at Thank you for your attention ! Darko Ratkaj


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