Mobile TV: Technology choices

Mobile TV

DVB-SH might have been the last standard to arrive on Mobile Broadcast TV technology, but it is showing strong advantages compared to DVB-H, the most extended standard in current trials well ahead of proprietary MediaFlo.

DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcast-Handheld) is an evolution of the exisiting DVB-T (Terrestrial), the current standard for all Terrestrial Digital TV deployments accross Europe. As its predecessor, and as analogue broadcast, DVB-H uses the UHF band.  As the same radio spectrum band is used, DVB-T repeater sites and antennas can be reused for DVB-H, which makes DVB-H a good choice for broadcasters that already have a DVB-T network and want to enter Mobile TV.

DVB-SH (Satellite Handheld) is the latest evolution of the DVB-H standard, that brings a hybrid approach Satellite and Terrestrial, and uses the S-band, reserved in many countries for satellite services.

On one side, satellite easily brings ubiquitous coverage for large multi-country regions. On the other, one of the big advantages of DVB-SH is that the S-band is adjacent to the 2GHz band used by UMTS 3G mobile networks. That makes DVB-SH an optimal choice for Mobile Operators to provide Mobile TV, as in this case Operators will be able to re-use sites and antennas of the existing 3G network. Handset design can also be optimized as a dual-diversity internal antenna system can be used, instead of 2 uncorrelated antennas.

Graham Stephens, CTO at Astro, the biggest Satellite Pay-TV broadcaster in Malaysia, give his insights into DVB-SH, and its advantages. “Trials in France and Portugal are confirming the theoretical predictions”, Graham says.

USA (ICO) will bring the DVB-SH in operation in 2008. Europe expects the first satellite in service in 2009.