21/11/2007

Upgrading Digital Terrestrial Television | Ofcom

Upgrading Digital Terrestrial Television | Ofcom

There are currently 6 DTT multiplexes and 3 are used for Public Service Broadcasting. Ofcom is planning to clear one of these mutliplexes (Multiplex B, licensed by Ofcom to BBC Free to View Ltd) by moving the existing programming to spare channels in other multiplexes.

Multiplex B will then utilise new standards DVB-T2 (instead of DVB-T which gives and improvement of about 30%) and MPEG4 (instead of MPEG2, a 50% saving in bandwidth).

This could be completed by late 2009/early 2010 in the Granada area while HD broadcasts could start by 2012, with the rest of the country as the digital switchover occurs.

Users could utilise their existing set-top-boxes to view existing channels, but the new channels would only be available to new boxes supporting the DVB-T2 and MPEG4 standards.

Ofcom proposes to invite organisations with Public Service Broadcaster status – principally the BBC, the Channel 3, 4 and 5 licensees and S4C – to set out how they would use the upgraded capacity on Multiplex B.

This is good news as it will allow HD broadcasts on a free-to-air platform. Unfortunately most users will need new STBs, Linux users will rejoice as platforms such as MythTV and other DTT systems can already decode MPEG4.

The consultation closes on 31/01/2008
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