by Virgil Labrador, Editor-in-Chief, Satellite Markets and Research
At the NAB 2013 in Las Vegas, Newtec put together a distinguished panel on one of the most important issues that will have a profound effect on the industry…
The impending introduction of a new DVB standard
The panel dubbed “Are You Ready for a New DVB Standard” was chaired by Newtec’s VP for Market Strategies, Thomas Van den Driessche was composed of representatives from the broadcast, satellite operators and regulatory sectors.
Among the panelists were:
- Paul Cohen, VP-Satellite Engineering, FOX Networks Group;
- Josemar Cruz, Engineering Manager, TV Globo;
- Jeff LaMastus, Director, Plannning and Development, Intelsat;
- Dr. Peter Siebert, Executive Director, DVB Project;
- Dick Tauber, VP-Transmissions Systems and New Technology CNN;
- and Lieven Vermaele, Director of Technology and Innovation, European Broadcasting Union.
Each panelist brought a unique perspective to the issue from the user’s, regulator’s and operator’s perspective.
Worldwide Survey : “How important are DVB standards for your company”
The panel was kicked off by a presentation by Newtec’s Director of Product Strategy and Product Management, Steven Soenens. Soenens presented the highlights of an independent survey on DVB-S2 Extensions conducted by Newtec on over 700 respondents from over 400 companies worldwide.
The survey asked questions such as:
- How important are DVB standards for your company?
- What time frame will you use DVB Extensions? and
- How much efficiency improvement is required to use the S2 Extensions?
In a nutshell, 98 percent of the respondents regarded standards as very important and 40% said that all their applications are based on the DVB standard. One out of every two of the respondents said they would use DVB-S2 extensions within a year. Also, 62 percent of the respondents said they would use DVB-S2 extensions if it offers at least 15-20 % efficiency gains.
Results from TV-Globo, an early adopter of S2 Extensions
DVB-S2 Extensions are promising smaller roll-offs of 5-15% and up to 37% gains in efficiency, according to Soenens, so the prospects are indeed bright for S2 extensions.
This was echoed by the broadcasters in the panel such as Josemar Cruz of Brazil’s TV Globo, an early adopter of Newtec's S2 Extensions. Cruz said they adopted DVB-S2 because their clients needed to broadcast in HD and they did not have the bandwidth to do so. It resulted in more efficiency and savings in bandwidth that enabled them to provide the HD service to their clients.
S2 Extensions, HEVC and Ultra HD are “disruptors”, but necessary
The other broadcasters in the panel are more cautious but optimistic about any new standard being introduced in the market. Fox’ Paul Cohen said that they just underwent a major upgrade to S2 and now the new DVB-S2 Extensions as well as HEVC and Ultra HD are “disruptors” but necessary. Cohen noted that things now change more quickly than they use to. Cohen said “we make changes when we can save money and when we are unable to provide new services with existing technology.”
CNN’s Dick Tauber, who was just recently inducted into the SSPI Hall of Fame, said that broadcasters generally are resistant to change, but in the transmission side of the business, “we understand what changes are necessary and what needs to be done to go about it.” The selling point for S2 Extensions, said Tauber, is that you’ll get more “bang for your buck” in the long run after factoring in the efficiency gains, bandwidth savings and lower capex.
Great potential for S2 extensions in various IP and Media Applications
Jeff LaMastus of satellite operator Intelsat sees the potential for S2 Extensions in various IP and media applications such as; the internet trunking business, cellular backhaul, file-based networks and the like. “S2 Extensions will appeal to anyone who wants to increases their efficiency and lower their bandwidth cost. The lower signal to noise ratio of S2 Extensions can also be good for mobile applications,” said LaMastus. LaMastus is not afraid that the bandwidth efficiencies of DVB-S2 will affect satellite transponder sales. He said the same fears were expressed in the transition from analog to digital and it only increased the bandwidth needs of users in the long-run.
The industry wants standardized solutions
“The industry loves and want standardized solutions, as evidenced by the results of the Newtec survey,” said Peter Siebert. “Can it be improved—can we have a better standard?” Sibert asked and answered his own question by a resounding “Yes!”. Siebert said that even incremental improvements in efficiency as a results of new and better standards will always benefit the users.
Conclusion: The industry is ready
The panel gave a very good overview of the current state of the art in S2 Extensions standard. It is evident from the users’ as well as the operators’ and service providers’ perspective, the industry is ready for a new DVB-S2 Extensions standard. Early adopters such as TV Globo have already demonstrated their viability in the field, so the question of whether the industry is ready for it is almost a moot point.
Want to learn more about DVB-S2 extensions? Here’s a full page of information about S2 extensions, and how to use them already today!