An Alternative To DVB-T2 Being Only Favored by GMA Network In The Philippines

GMA Network was the only TV station that only favors DVB-T2 based from the recommended order of ASEAN that supports the new European DTTV platform through selected south-east Asian countries currently assigning 7 to 8 MHz TV channel bandwidth and 50 Hz AC power. After a numerous times of having a delaying tactics to further freeze out the rollout of adopted ISDB-T transmission and receivers in the Philippines for a review between the two DTTV standards, GMA failed to force the grant of using the European DTV platform to NTC since it was not tested for 6 MHz TV channel bandwidth and 60 Hz AC power under the current 525-line NTSC analog TV transmission due to a possible interference to all forms of radio service.

So what are the better alternative DTTV platforms that succeed DVB-T2 in order to assign on most countries like the Philippines that have 6 MHz TV channel bandwidth and 60 Hz AC power? Here the two shortlist:

  • Higher-Level QAM on 2nd Generation ISDB-T Variant (ISDB-T2). In 2011 state-run broadcaster NHK introduced a new variant of high-level quadruple amplitude modulation (QAM) such as 1024QAM and 4096QAM and an improved low-cost high performance error correction system such as concatenated low density parity check (LDPC) (developed by various Japanese scientist of NHK Science Labs) with bit rates at about 78 Mbps per 6 MHz RF bandwidth, nearly twice as that of 40 Mbps on conventional 256QAM of DVB-T2. That rate was just enough to accomodate sixteen Full HD (1080p) subchannels at 4.5 Mbps, four UHDTV (4K resolution) subchannels at 18 Mbps, and one SHV (8K resolution) subchannels at 72 Mbps in MPEG-H HEVC video codec format. The actual structure of 2nd generation ISDB-T, though its first prototype consisting of two sets of 6 MHz UHF TV channels was used, was not yet finalized, but probably—if finalized—it would be nearly the same as that of first generation ISDB-T consisting of a segmented 6 MHz “middle-right-middle-left” transmission scan pattern. (CLICK HERE FOR MY BLOG FOR DETAILS OR CHECK OUT FROM NHK SHV DOCUMENTATION.)
  • Reconfigured DVB-T2 Variant For 6 MHz Bandwidth (ATSC 3.0). In February of 2013 the ATSC Group introduced a prototype of reconfigured 256QAM signal based from DVB-T2 in order to make a stable transmission under 6 MHz channel bandwidth and 60 Hz AC power. Before they bagan a 4K video test broadcast using that platform prototype by means of calibration method, the FCC ordered all current first generation ATSC broadcast on every TV networks to shut down for 4 hours (from 12 midnight to 4 a.m.)  in order to prevent interference during testing. The resulting rate was about only 24 Mbps from the targeted 32 Mbps due to an annoying signal noise and even some erring calculating performance. By the end of 3rd quarter of 2013, the group would announce the required configuration of ATSC 3.0 using only an even higher level QAM (rather than using 256QAM, 1024QAM, and 4096QAM) and even an improved error-correction system in order to increase a bit rate at projectedly more than 80 Mbps per 6 MHz band in forward transmission scan. (Source: BroadcastEngineering.com, AdvancedTelevision.com)

Both of these new DTTV standards succeeding DVB-T2, seperated on designated countries such as Japan for ISDB-T and U.S. for ATSC, would take a few years to develop before rolling out both the transmitter and the receiver in the near future. We would ever wish that GMA Network, of which they often focus to discover an advanced high-end DTTV transmission technology aside from their current full-power analog TV transmission for years, should ever try these two rather than using the European standard to prevent any problem.

As of now, the KBP and the NTC are waiting for signing a final draft of IRR of the use of Philippine variant ISDB-T to president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino later before the end of 2013 or in 2014 as part of the planned official rollout of ISDB-T on the target date of 2014 or 2015 and a planned analog TV broadcast switch-off (ASO) on December 31, 2015. After this, the NTC would start the second assesstment of the two new standard as mentioned above together (aside from the proposed rollout of 5G-based wireless IPTV network on the year 2018), for that would be a part of the proposed 8K broadcast depending of the favor of various TV networks in the Philippines.

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