In Broadcast - October 2017 - 48

48

www.inbroadcast.com | Vol: 7 - Issue 10 | October 2017

InTech

On The High Ground
Contributing Editor Kevin Hilton concludes that the current broadcast
transmission infrastructure for both radio and television may well
be in place for some time to come...

T

he transmitter remains a powerful
representation of broadcasting.
The massive antennas and towers
for beaming television and radio
programmes across the land are
familiar sights and have been the
backbone of both media since their
earliest days.
While the image will probably live
on for many years to come, the reality
is that there is a strong and growing
consensus among broadcasters - both
traditional and 'new media' - backed
by governments, regulators, and
telecom operators that IP streaming
and mobile technologies are the
future.
In the 2016 research paper The
Short Future of Public Broadcasting:
Replacing DTT with IP?, Marko AlaFossi of the University of Tampere
in Finland and Stephen Lax from
the University of Leeds in Britain
cite projections that free-to-air TV
platforms have a life expectancy of
no more than 15 years. Among those
coming to this conclusion are Finnish
public broadcaster YLE and, in the
UK, the BBC and regulator Ofcom.
"Although broadcasting is seen
necessary until 2030, all three assume
that DTT [Digital Terrestrial Television]
can - under certain circumstances - be
replaced with delivery using Internet
Protocol (IP)," the authors state.
While Ala-Fossi and Lax call the
idea that IPTV can replace DTT a
"sophisticated version of the 'black
box fallacy'", the new style of
'broadcasting' using streaming and
other OTT methods - as made hugely
successful by Netflix and Amazon - has
proved both a major competitor and
a threat to longer established means
of distribution. The mobile market is
also looking to take more of a foothold
in broadcast transmission through
the use of next generation telecom
technologies such as 5G and LTE (long
term evolution).
This is being supported by
governments and regulators in most
countries
reallocating
frequency
spectrum in favour of telecoms
companies. While DTT has retained its
frequencies in most cases, terrestrial
broadcasters appear to be squeezed
into smaller amounts of spectrum

while new platforms proliferate
around them. Ofcom has presided over
the sell-off of many frequency bands,
including the 800MHz range, and is
currently overseeing reallocation of
700MHz.
In an interview earlier this year,
Ofcom Principal Spectrum Policy
Manager, Vaughan John, said the
regulator was continuing to monitor
developments in mobile broadcast
technology and could see a possibility
for mobile and traditional broadcast
technologies to converge in the long
term. "But there is an open debate
about whether mobile broadcast
technologies are as efficient as
the latest, traditional broadcast
technologies when you compare
networks of similar complexity and
coverage," he said. "I'm thinking of
technologies such as DVB-T2, MPEG-4
and HEVC. Also, around three-quarters
of homes in the UK receive their TV
using equipment that's based on
traditional broadcast technologies.
So there would be a very significant
challenge migrating to mobile
broadcast technology in the short to
medium term."

Redmond, Chief Product Officer at
GatesAir (formerly Harris Broadcast),
is particularly bullish, saying the
future of terrestrial TV is bright: "While
consumers are cutting the cord to
satellite and cable services, many are
also discovering that if they opt for a
DTV receiver, they can get great, highquality programme content over the
air - free."
Redmond acknowledges that just
about everyone around the world has a
mobile device of some description and
many use them for watching video, but
he does not see that as a major threat.
"There is no other platform that is as
powerful and ubiquitous as traditional
television and radio broadcasting," he
comments. "Over the air broadcasting
still remains the most cost-effective
way to reach millions of people
simultaneously."
GatesAir recently introduced a
series of high power UHF and VHF
transmission products, with the aim of
reducing power consumption. These
include the Maxiva ULXTE UHF model,
which uses liquid cooling to reduce the
amount of heat generated.
The reallocation of spectrum
has made manufacturers of RF
Tranmission Challange
equipment - from transmitters to
Both the shake-up of spectrum and wireless microphones - rethink and
the growing popularity and influence re-engineer their offerings. In the case
of streaming services are major of GatesAir this has manifested itself
challenges not just to terrestrial
in software-defined products
broadcasters,
but
rather than those based on
also to transmitter
hardware. This, explains
manufacturers.
This
Redmond, makes for
market
has
seen
"pretty
seamless"
considerable change
switching
between
and
development
frequencies.
"We've
over the last 30
developed
solidyears,
with
the
state
transmitters
emergence of digital
that are capable of
broadcasting and high
producing total power
definition, plus the
output levels, which
shift from tube-based
were
previously
transmitters to solid
only possible with
state devices.
tubes,"
he
says.
Whether these latest
"Moving to solid-state
hurdles will prove too
architectures has also
much for this niche
improved our overall
and specialised sector
energy efficiency and
remains to be seen but
simplified operations.
most
manufacturers
So
the
spectrum
are proving adaptable
repack
accelerated
and optimistic. Richard Thomson Futhura transmitter
our innovation and the

GatesAir Maxiva ULXTE

advancement of our RF transmission
products."
Platform Synergy
This trend is common in the TV
transmitter market, as Yves Nogues,
Head of the TV Department at
Thomson
Broadcast,
observes:
"Everyone in the market is currently
focusing on solid state-based systems
with high-efficiency transistors. The
power size demand varies throughout
the world and therefore certain
markets are looking to expand their
product search. We have also noticed a
shift in new designs for high efficiency,
which is being further explored."
On the issue of DTT's future and
the threat from IP and mobile
technologies, Nogues feels there
could be a coming together that would
benefit both sides: "There may be a
future merging of DTT and 5G networks
that might allow for broadcast to flow
from DTT. This synergy or

"Over the air
broadcasting still remains
the most cost-effective
way to reach
millions of people
simultaneously"
Richard Redmond, GatesAir


http://www.inbroadcast.com http://www.gatesair.com/products/transmit-tv/uhf-transmitters http://www.thomson-broadcast.com/tv-transmission/

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - October 2017

Contents
In Broadcast - October 2017 - Intro
In Broadcast - October 2017 - Cover1
In Broadcast - October 2017 - Cover2
In Broadcast - October 2017 - Contents
In Broadcast - October 2017 - 4
In Broadcast - October 2017 - 5
In Broadcast - October 2017 - 6
In Broadcast - October 2017 - 7
In Broadcast - October 2017 - 8
In Broadcast - October 2017 - 9
In Broadcast - October 2017 - 10
In Broadcast - October 2017 - 11
In Broadcast - October 2017 - 12
In Broadcast - October 2017 - 13
In Broadcast - October 2017 - 14
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In Broadcast - October 2017 - 20
In Broadcast - October 2017 - 21
In Broadcast - October 2017 - 22
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In Broadcast - October 2017 - 63
In Broadcast - October 2017 - 64
In Broadcast - October 2017 - Cover3
In Broadcast - October 2017 - Cover4
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