Satellite adapts again to find new roles


Simen Frostad TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Simen Frostad
Issue 93 - September 2014

After a period in which it appeared to be falling behind the innovation curve, Satellite is fighting back. Recent developments are giving satellite a key role to play in combination with other technologies notably IP in a range of hybrids that broadcasters and infrastructure operators are exploring in the search for lower costs, greater flexibility and more robust redundancy provision.

There is no defi ned template for designing and implementing these hybrid infrastructures, and in fact the open-ended potential offered by combining technologies is what really appeals to operators. The approaches taken can vary widely, as each operator searches for the best answer to its own operating conditions and business goals. But three very clearly defi ned aims are high on the list: these are cost effi ciencies, regionalisation capability, and redundancy provision. For many broadcasters, there is also the desire to use new technology to improve coverage, especially where terrain and population spread makes it diffi cult to reach all of the potential audience.

In this respect, recent developments in satellite technology promise much. Broadcasters with large terrestrial networks always face challenges in distributing the signal to their transmitters, and while satellite can be very useful in distribution, the benefi ts of using it are offset if the broadcaster needs to implement a single frequency network (SFN). This is because SFNs require a very high degree of timing accuracy, which has not been achievable using traditional encapsulation methods for satellite.

In terrestrial transmission, the DVB-T2 standard was designed to allow IP transport to the transmitter as a way of reducing costs when compared with the traditional ATM lines. When the DVB-T2 standard was adapted with the MI extension, accurate timing became possible and the timing information could be transmitted together with the accurately encapsulated content over IP. Now, with the MIS/ISI implementation, DVB-S2 in turn can encapsulate a number of streams into a separate transport stream that includes highly accurate timing. When delivered to the transmitter, this allows the broadcaster to ensure accurately timed play out, suitable for use in SFNs.

IP is also being used by some broadcasters as part of the mix for a redundancy solution, to provide either the main or backup source to some of the transmit sites. Satellite though is still the legacy method in rural areas, and even though there may be two redundant paths on the IP distribution link, having the alternative of a different technology altogether for distribution provides both fl exibility and reassurance of continued service in the case of the failure of one of the technologies.

The introduction of MIS/ISI makes it a lot easier for broadcasters and networks to implement a backup strategy using both IP lines and satellite, without the risk of introducing complications arising from timing inaccuracies. Both main source and backup can be transmitted with the same timing information included.

For some networks it makes sense to use a mix of technologies based on geographical criteria. Distribution via IP lines can keep costs down in the more densely populated areas, while satellite can be used exclusively to reach the more remote transmitters. For implementing regionalised coverage too, mixing the technologies allows a range of different solutions. Regionalised content can be transmitted via satellite in a side-band along with the main feed, or via IP lines while the national content is distributed by satellite. In the event of a failure in the regional content distribution technology, the national content is still available over the main distribution chain.

The versatility offered by mixing satellite and IP in these ways does however come at the inevitable cost of additional complexity, so it’s important to prevent workloads for the technical staff from becoming unmanageable. While blending together disparate technologies is certainly a great way to achieve business aims, it can become a lot harder for the engineers to keep all the balls in the air. Fortunately disparate technologies can be blended into the monitoring solution too, to reduce the potential complications. A Bridge Technologies VB272/252 probe can provide a single monitoring point for the IP feed coming into transmit site, the satellite feed, and the terrestrial output of transmitter itself, and correlate all the data for SFN performance surveillance. As broadcasters search for the apparently contradictory goals of a leaner operation combined with a greater reach, well-designed technology is essential for achieving maximal capability without overkill in the machine room.


Tags: iss093 | Bridge Techologies | Satellite | Simen Frostad
Contributing Author Simen Frostad

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • CellSat - the cell and Ku-band IP satellite solution from Dejero at IBC 2017

    CellSat - the cell and Ku-band IP satellite solution from Dejero at IBC 2017

  • Cobham satellite EXPLORER products at IBC 2014

    Cobham satellite EXPLORER products at IBC 2014

  • HEVC 4k Encoding from Aviwest at NAB 2017

    HEVC 4k Encoding from Aviwest at NAB 2017

  • SIS LIVE ManPak and LoStow at IBC 2014

    SIS LIVE ManPak and LoStow at IBC 2014

  • PacTV Truck at NAB 2014

    PacTV Truck at NAB 2014

  • Inmarsat at NAB 2014

    Inmarsat at NAB 2014

  • SIS LIVEs Martyn Hopkins on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    SIS LIVEs Martyn Hopkins on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • SIS LIVE and their products ManPak and DriveForce at IBC 2013

    SIS LIVE and their products ManPak and DriveForce at IBC 2013

  • SIS LIVE: ManPak and uPack60 at NAB 2013

    SIS LIVE: ManPak and uPack60 at NAB 2013

  • Inmarsat: Global Xpress and Explorer at NAB 2013

    Inmarsat: Global Xpress and Explorer at NAB 2013

  • Cobham: Mini RF Transmitters at NAB 2013

    Cobham: Mini RF Transmitters at NAB 2013

  • Cobham: RF Transmitter at NAB 2013

    Cobham: RF Transmitter at NAB 2013

  • Tariam Tooway stand at BVE 2013

    Tariam Tooway stand at BVE 2013

  • SIS Live at IBC 2012 Part Two

    SIS Live at IBC 2012 Part Two

  • SIS Live at IBC 2012 Part One

    SIS Live at IBC 2012 Part One

  • SIS LIVE at NAB 2012

    SIS LIVE at NAB 2012

  • Haivision at IBC2011

    Haivision at IBC2011

  • SIS LIVE at IBC2011

    SIS LIVE at IBC2011


Related Shows
  • Show 2 - July 18th 2012

    Show 2 - July 18th 2012


Articles
Using Wireless Transmission
Jeremy Benning Wireless acquisition is a staple of live sports, entertainment and reality shows where cable free capture permits shots not previously possible, for health and safety reasons, and gives the camera-operator greater artistic licence to roam. The same is increasingly true of narrative drama where cinematographers are keen to work handheld or Steadicam where that helps tell the story. Any equipment which frees their movement and time by being lighter, easier to use and reliable in performance is going to tick a lot of boxes.
Tags: iss134 | wireless | 4k | transmission | Jeremy Benning
Contributing Author Jeremy Benning Click to read or download PDF
Accelerated Workflows with eGPU
Mike Griggs From the UK’s National Trust to magazine publishers to manufacturers, digital content creator Mike Griggs has a wide and varied portfolio of clients for whom he creates 3D art, motion graphics and multimedia exhibits. A typical day might involve sampling birdsong near Virginia Woolf’s country estate or creating 3D animations for VR. To keep on top of these demands, Griggs wanted to take the full power of the GPU computing revolution on the road.
Tags: iss134 | sonnet | egpu | amd | post production | editing | Mike Griggs
Contributing Author Mike Griggs Click to read or download PDF
An Obituary to Timecode
Bruce Devlin - new A stoic and persistent character that stubbornly refused to change with the times, Timecode has finally passed on, but no-one has noticed. A long-lasting industry veteran, Timecode was brought into this world at an uncertain date in the late 1960s due to the needs of analogue tape workflows and the demand for synchronisation between audio and video devices. A joint activity between SMPTE and the EBU led to the work on Time and Control codes starting its journey to standardisation in the early 1970s.
Tags: iss134 | timecode | smpte | ebu | edit | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read
An Epiphany Moment
Peter Savage 2 I had been negotiating the sale of my company and had reached the really hard end of the bargain. We were close to agreeing the final sum after a lot of too-much-give-and-not-enough-take negotiation. The solicitors were calling me, keen for a deal. It had come down to one sticking point and, in my hard ball “I am the Wolf of Wall Street” guise, I wasn’t going to let it go. It would make a value difference of 1.5% on the total outcome. Not much, you might think, but I had already nearly fallen out with the solicitors over their fees and I was giving my advisors an extremely hard time because the corporate adviser couldn’t see how I had already given more than an inch and the buyers were taking more than a mile. I was not going to let them win.
Tags: iss134 | azule | finance | Peter Savage 2
Contributing Author Peter Savage 2 Click to read or download PDF
The brave new world of software based production
Boromy Ung In today’s rapidly evolving broadcast industry, the only constant media organizations can truly count on is change — and the need to adapt as rapidly and cost-effectively as possible. One of the biggest agents of change is the IP revolution, driving broadcasters to migrate their operations to all-software solutions running on commodity, IT-based technologies.
Tags: iss134 | chyronhego | graphics | sports | ott | Boromy Ung
Contributing Author Boromy Ung Click to read or download PDF