2006 Digital Media Technology - Digital TV, Mobile TV, IPTV, MPEG

Publication Overview

New biennial report on digital broadcasting technologies covering: propagation of radio waves, analogue broadcasting techniques, spectrum management arrangements, key technical and commercial trends, distinctions between digital broadcasting for stationary video receivers, for mobile receivers and for small handheld devices, ATSC, DVB, ARIB ISDB and DVB-T, MHEG and MHP middleware, transmission standards, RDS and DirectBand, Digital Radio Mondaile, In Band On Channel HD Radio, Eureka 147, WorldSpace, Sirius and XM, MediaFlo and MBSAT ‘T-DMB’, P3, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AAC), Real Networks, Windows Media and Quicktime, VoD and IP multicasting, FttH, FttC, HFC, ADSL and WiMAX, MP3, Spectral Band Replication (SBR), Parametric Stereo and Scalable Lossless Coding, HILN, MPEG-7 metadata and MPEG-21 digital rights management standards (DRM).

This report also contains explanations and analyses of:-

  • Trends and frequencies
  • DVB and ISD B
  • ATSC and Middleware
  • Sound and narrowband
  • Mobile TV
  • Streaming media and conferencing
  • Video on demand
  • AAC and Video
  • MPEG1 and MP3

Executive Summary

Trends and frequencies

As a prelude to detailed discussion of the various digital broadcasting technologies, we review the propagation of radio waves, the established analogue broadcasting techniques and the resulting spectrum management arrangements in which digital broadcasting takes place. We summarise the key technical and commercial trends and principles we believe characterise the digitisation of broadcasting.


The distinctions between digital broadcasting for stationary video receivers, for mobile receivers and for small handheld devices. DVB standards which are used in most countries for digital video broadcasting. The report also discuss the Japanese ARIB ISDB digital standards, which are similar in principle to DVB-T.

ATSC and Middleware

The North American ATSC digital television broadcasting standard differs greatly from the DVB and ISDB techniques used in other countries. Technologies are looked at which affect broadcast television quality and usage, including real-time vs. offline compression and personal video recorders. The report also discusses the MHEG and MHP middleware and transmission standards for digital television receivers.

Sound and narrowband

Three types of digital broadcasting for sound and data applications are discussed. Firstly, the low data rate systems RDS and DirectBand. Then we explain the capabilities and limitations of Digital Radio Mondaile and the two USA-based In Band On Channel HD Radio systems. Finally we discuss the major wideband audio broadcasting system Eureka 147 and the satellite systems of WorldSpace, Sirius and XM.

Mobile TV

Broadcasting real-time and stored for replay sound, video and multimedia material to small handheld devices such as cellphones is the “Holy Grail” of both the telecommunications and broadcasting industries. We discuss the needs of such systems and the major approaches to achieving it: Eureka 147 T-DMB, DVB-H, ISDB-Tsb and Qualcomm’s promising MediaFlo. We also discuss the Japanese and South Korean MBSAT ‘T-DMB’ broadcast system.

Streaming media and conferencing

The report examines open and proprietary standards including MP3, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264 Advanced Video Coding, Real Networks, Windows Media and Quicktime. Bandwidth restrictions of last-mile technologies such as HFC and ADSL are discussed as well as the advantages and disadvantages of file vs. server streaming for multimedia serving.

Video on demand

The technical principles behind VoD are described, with special reference to IP multicasting, the need for extensive systems integration for all network elements, and the suitability for VoD and ‘triple play’ of the various access technologies: FttH, FttC, HFC, ADSL and WiMAX.

AAC and Video

The report discusses Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) and how it improves on MP3. We explain enhancements to both AAC including Spectral Band Replication (SBR), Parametric Stereo and Scalable Lossless Coding. We discuss HILN parametric audio coding and voice compression algorithms including CELP. We also explain the process of MPEG-2 video compression, which is the basis of almost all digital television systems.

Video and VRML

Advanced Video Coding (AVC/H.264) improves on MPEG-2 video compression. The MPEG-4 standards are of unprecedented scope, including animation, synthetic sound and video, VRML interactivity and Java. We introduce these technologies and discuss how they can be used together to provide services and communication systems far beyond the modes we are familiar with today. We also discuss the MPEG-7 metadata and MPEG-21 digital rights management standards.

MPEG1 and MP3

The report discussed MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 audio compression (coding) and major non-MPEG audio coding systems including Real Audio, Windows Media and Vorbis. A detailed explanation of the internal mechanism of MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer III) compression serves as a basis for understanding MP3pro and all other perceptual audio codecs, including AAC.

Table of Contents

1.1Trends and frequencies
1.1.1Analogue vs digital broadcasting
1.1.2Frequency, wavelength and propagation
1.1.3Analogue TV and radio
1.1.4ITU recommendations
1.2DVB and ISD B
1.2.1Distinctions between television, sound and mobile broadcasting
1.2.2Encoding, modulation and transmission subsystems
1.2.3Digital television broadcasting
1.3ATSC and middleware
1.3.1Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) – USA
1.3.2DVD, HDTV and IPTV
1.3.3Digital TV Middleware
1.4Sound and narrowband
1.4.1Narrowband Digital Audio Broadcasting
1.4.2Digital Audio/Multimedia Broadcasting (DAB/DMB)
1.4.3Satellite systems
2.1Broadcasting to handheld devices
2.1.13G Networks unsuitable
2.1.2Mobile broadcasting requirements
2.1.4Terrestrial Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (T-DMB)
2.1.5MobaHo (MBSAT) CDM direct broadcast satellite
2.1.6South Korean S-DMB
2.2Comparing the major technologies
2.2.1T-DMB vs DVB-H and MediaFLO
2.2.2Frequency diversity
2.2.3Frequency domain power reduction
2.2.4Time domain power reduction
2.2.5Time Diversity vs Tune-in Time
2.2.6Channels per Megahertz
3.1Streaming media and conferencing
3.1.1Streaming video and audio
3.1.2Unidirectional and bidirectional streaming
3.1.3Video on demand and bandwidth restrictions
3.1.4Open-standard streaming systems
3.1.5Proprietary streaming systems
3.1.6File download vs. server streaming
3.1.7Commercial aspects of proprietary systems
3.2Video on demand
3.2.1VoD History and futures
3.2.2VoD system functionality
3.2.3Impact of VoD on media industries
3.2.4VoD system requirements
3.2.5QoS and specialised routers/switches
3.2.6IP multicasting
3.2.7Triple play for differing access networks
4.1Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) and video
4.1.1MPEG-2 Transport Stream
4.1.2MPEG-2 audio compression
4.1.3MPEG-2/4 Advanced Audio Coding (AAC)
4.1.4MPEG-4 Parametric Audio Coding – HILN
4.1.5MPEG-2 video compression
4.2Video and Virtual Reality Modelling Language (VRML)
4.2.2MPEG-4 Video and multimedia compression
4.2.3Advanced Video Coding – H.264/AVC
4.2.4Interactive and VRML elements
4.2.5MPEG-7 metadata
4.2.6MPEG-21 Digital Rights Management
4.3MPEG1 and MP3
4.3.1Open standards and licensing
4.3.2Data compression and ‘coding’
4.3.364kb/s voice with companded 8 bit samples
4.3.4Sample rates and word sizes for music
4.3.6MPEG-1 Audio Layers I and II
4.3.7MPEG-I Audio Layer III (MP3)
4.3.8Other lossy audio compression standards
Exhibit 1 – Propagation and antennae characteristics of wavelengths used in broadcasting
Exhibit 2 – ITU recommendations for digital broadcasting
Exhibit 3 – Selected DVB standards
Exhibit 4 – Segment parameters for 6MHz ISDB-T
Exhibit 5 – Maximum receiver velocities for DVB-H
Exhibit 6 – Adoption of digital broadband technologies
Exhibit 7 – H.264/AVC Levels

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Licence Information

Annual Publication Profile


Digital Media
Telecoms Infrastructure

Number of pages 142

Status Archived

Last updated 28 Mar 2006
Update History

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

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