[opendtv] Re: Well, well, well; five years to match 1999 COFDM indoor antenna performance

  • From: "John Willkie" <johnwillkie@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, <Blind.Copy.Receiver@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 11:48:51 +0100

So, you're proud of your bushel of low-hanging fruit.  You have a system
that will soon be surpassed by Mexico, which is interested in higher quality
than is delivered to viewers in DVB countries (outside of Australia).

I note that Pin Boon has responded to the SI announcement, so I'll have
another posting on this thread.


-----Original Message-----
From: opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:opendtv-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of dmenolan
Sent: Tuesday, August 03, 2004 5:32 PM
To: Blind.Copy.Receiver@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [opendtv] Well, well, well; five years to match 1999 COFDM
indoor antenna performance

After a long absence and my name taken in vain by Nick Kocsis. The
freelists format does not make it so easy to contribute as topica and I
have been away on vacation like Leon Silberman!

I was very interested in the description of the field tests with the LG 5=
generation ATSC which does seem able, in several tested locations, to mat=
the 1999 portable indoor antenna performance of 64QAM COFDM. I also
understand said ATSC receiver will be around US$200. No doubt there will =
a market for this product in the fewer than 15% of US homes depending on
OTA reception and ,possibly for second and third tv sets.

However the performance, and more importantly, economics of COFDM has
sailed serenely on since 1999 across multiple fronts: impulse noise, RF
performance, system integration, and an array of extensions such as
diversity reception and the coming DVB-H system, which can be embedded in=

DVB-T,  which I think will be very big business. =

Just to give you an illustration a high spec COFDM box (SDTV) with 15.9dB=

AWGN in the 64QAM modes is now UK =A360 and cheaper boxes can be had for =
(which I would not use except in high signal strength areas.) COFDM boxes=

are now virtually sold at the corner shop; there are fifty models on sale=

from 26 different vendors according to idtv.co.uk. In the UK there are no=
4.0million DTV homes, with DTV having passed digital cable in the UK, on
track for 5.0M + by Christmas and according to Intellect overall digital
penetration will rise to 65% by end 2004.

I can vouch for the performance of the 2004 COFDM boxes vs 1999 boxes: at=

my parents holiday home in Ireland the old ITVdigital boxes fell over on
64QAM COFDM with an elderly 18 element rooftop Yagi 25 miles from a 2.3kW=

DTV station in difficult terrain conditions (tidal fading, trees) which
required a high-gain 46 element Yagi with a masthead amp to 'close' the
link budget. The 2004 COFDM box, a SETPAL stable box, works perfectly on
the old 18 element Yagi (SNR as directly read out from the box is 16dB) a=
 is a whopping 26dB on the modern antenna. I believe you can get this box=

for =A349 from BT on the web!

I also saw the first preproduction diversity STBs demonstrated live at
Mediacast earlier this year: a small Thomson STB with two flat-plate
antennas which plug into the top of the box. Flawless offair DTT receptio=
deep within the exhibition hall using the two antennas which fell over on=
you took one of the antennas out of the box connector: the diversity
receiver is also handy in rural fringe areas so beloved by Dr MacDonald a=
it gives you 8dB gain with a pair of Yagis. The Thomson box will retail f=
around =A375 and is probably going to turn up as as a module in portable =


But perhaps the most significant development illustrating the chasm betwe=
ATSC and DVB in overall system integration (ie having a PSIP or SI system=

which actually works24x7x365 with all receivers and supports reliable OTA=

downloads) is the launch of a nationwide eight day EPG for Freeview
complete with local insertion capabilities for commercial and BBC
broadcasters last week. =

This supports the development of a full DTV PVR business model: my Pace
Twin DTT PVR box  (now available for UK =A3229 on the web) has succesfull=
recorded programmes a week ahead using the extended DVB-SI scheduling
system which forms the backbone of the EPG for PVR boxes. More details on=

the front page of the dtg.org.uk web site this week. I expect this will
have the biggest impact on DTT in the UK as a viable subscription free PV=
business will emerge offering a challenge to Sky+ which remains a niche
high-end product.

Also the collapse of the CRT display market in the UK to be replaced by
LCDs and plasmas in the UK, now obvious in every high street retail outle=
is about to lead to a rash of LCDS from Panasonic, Sony and low cost
vendors with built-in COFDM tuners. I have already seen the Panasonic IDT=
LCDs  in the shops and they are excellent compared to the CRT based IDTVs=

which have largely disappeared.

HD will be introduced in the UK in two years time by Sky: probably 720P,
probably MPEG4 Part 10, and probably DVB-S2. In my view this is the corre=
course of action as being subscription based the DBS HD business model is=
no brainer (first-run movies, premium sports, imported general
entertainment), the target market is high-income early adopters and as yo=
need a new box anyway best to use state-of-the-art technologies not syste=
devised twelve years ago!.

 The introduction of HD via DTT in the UK  will not come till after
analogue television has been shutdown which depends on a resolution of th=
'aunt emily' and multiple tv set problems, which could be anytime between=

2008 and 2020 depending on the business model and the electoral issues.

It is also clear that mobile reception will be introduced in the UK,
initially via 'straightforward' diversity reception of the existing
16QAM/64QAM DVB-T broadcasts, in segments such as SUVs (4x4s in the UK),
public transport vehicles, laptops etc. Already a specially equipped lapt=
diversity DTT receiver (card under =A3100) has successfully demonstrated
reliable mobile reception throughout the London area with a DTT
transmission network designed for rooftop reception!

And then there is DVB-H which will be industrialised in 2005: in my view
this is more important than DVB-T as there *ARE* viable business models
(I'm not telling..), there is consumer demand, and various credible vendo=
(Nokia, Motorola) are forecasting sales of hundreds of millions of units =
a few short years. The only thing missing is a spectrum allocation...

ATSC has taken five years to match the 1999 performance of COFDM receiver=
in static indoor reception modes, with expensive fifth generation LG
receivers. This means that the poor souls who bought Gen1-4 ATSC boxes we=
sold a pup, as Nick Kocsis rightly pointed out, which will all have to be=

binned if you want reliable indoor reception performance. =

During that five period, which would only have happened because of the
pressure of Sinclair, a few broadcasters, Frank Eory, and the pressure of=

the severe competition with DVB-T worldwide the following happened:

*International acceptance of ATSC faded away to the core countries, minus=

Taiwan. ATSC has been marginalised as a DTV standard even on its home tur=
where cable and satellite dominate market takeup.

*The DVB-T system was industrialised thanks to ITVDigital, its collapse,
and succesfull replacement by Freeview

*COFDM acquired global economies of scale thanks to its widespread adopti=
in 50+ countries

*R+D spend on COFDM extensions has been enormous: impulse noise fixes
(Philips et al), diversity reception, DVB-H and the coming 300Mb/s OFDM
wireless system from Motorola.

*The development of MPEG4 and WM9 mean that mobile and HD markets can be
more successfully exploited by late entrants using either current or new
modulation techniques than those using early 1990s compression and
transmission standards

*During the five year period  when ATSC tried to match COFDM's 1999 indoo=
antenna receivability, the OTA broadcast market continued to decline in t=
US unlike in the UK or Germany where a reliable and low-cost receiver
market opens the door to mass-market adoption and an array of services an=
innovative applications. This has been demonstrated in spades in Germany.=

Italy and the UK.

What would have happened if 8VSB had been ditched in 2000, rather than
spending nearly five years to develop high-end silicon solutions to match=

the 1999 performance of static indoor antenna  reception via  DVB-T?

 I leave you to speculate...

Kind Regards,

Dermot Nolan

You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways:

- Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at

- By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word
unsubscribe in the subject line.

You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways:

- Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at 

- By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word 
unsubscribe in the subject line.

Other related posts: