Digital TV Channel Inquiry - The 19.38 MBit/S Capacity Standard - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 37 Old 08-18-2012, 10:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Greetings ....

I'm not a technical whiz-type, but I've read enough to understand that in the United States where I live, an over-the-air 6-mhz digital TV channel can support a data stream of up to 19.38 MBits per second (I assume I've typed that right). This allows for at least one HDTV sub-channel and a few SDTV sub-channels. Under certain conditions, two HDTV sub-channels could be supported.

I got the sub-channel information from this Wikipedia Page on Digital Sub-Channels.

I also understand that a digital cable TV channel, using a transmission method called QAM, can hold up to twice as much bitstream info as an over-the-air channel.

My inquiry here concerns just over-the-air digital TV. Here are my questions ---

(1) Regarding the 19.38 Mbit capacity -- is that figure an absolute limit, or is there ongoing research that would allow for a higher bitstream capacity within the 6-mhz space, which would in turn allow for more multi-channel HDTV options?

(2) If the 19.38 Mbit limit can't be broken, then what else can be done with the current standards of transmission that would allow for more HDTV sub-channels?

(3) Is there any ongoing research involving a different type of digital TV transmission within a 6-mhz space that might be better than the current standard? In asking this particular question, I'm mindful that any radical changes in digital TV transmission might possibly mean -- especially for the consumer -- getting the equipment necessary to handle such changes.

(4) Though not necessarily related to Q's 1-2-3 above, I wonder if there has ever been a time past or present when anyone proposed -- and maybe experimented with -- over-the-air digital TV channels operating within narrower MHZ ranges - say 4 mhz, 3 mhz or even 2 mhz??

Thanx-A-Lot, Frank-0-Video
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post #2 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 06:23 AM
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1) Correct, that is the bit rate of the channel; the station gets to spend it any way it wants.

2) Not with the current system. The raw bit rate is higher. A lot of forward error correction (FEC) is used on ATSC to correct for errors.

3) Sure, but that requires a wholesale replacement of existing TV, not likely to happen for a long time. The same thing applies to more efficient compression algorithms; it is very painful to roll out a new scheme.

4) The 6 MHz channels have been used in the US forever, European channels are 8 MHz Again the backward comparability problem pretty much rules out any change in channel width.
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post #3 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank-0-Video View Post

(1) Regarding the 19.38 Mbit capacity -- is that figure an absolute limit, or is there ongoing research that would allow for a higher bitstream capacity within the 6-mhz space, which would in turn allow for more multi-channel HDTV options?
It's the limit of the ATSC standard implementation. There are much more efficient modulation systems that could be used now and would deliver a higher bitrate - but they wouldn't be compatible with existing receivers.

In the UK we have 8MHz rather than 6MHz channels, and launched digital OTA with 16:9 SD rather than HD.

Our current SD system delivers 24-27Mbs in an 8MHz channel using the original DVB-T standard developed in the 90s. (We used to run it partially at 18Mbs because early receivers were not compatible with an improved version that should have been implemented at launch but wasn't... Some broadcasters chose 18Mbs to be more robust, others ran at 24Mbs and were trickier to receive. The current 24Mbs standard is as robust as the original 18Mbs pretty-much)

We launched HD OTA more recently using DVB-T2 which delivers 40Mbs in an 8MHz channel. This didn't cause a major receiver issue as all of our existing receivers were SD and so it was reasonable to expect to buy a new receiver for HD.
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(2) If the 19.38 Mbit limit can't be broken, then what else can be done with the current standards of transmission that would allow for more HDTV sub-channels?

If you switched from MPEG2 to H264 (aka MPEG4) compression you can squeeze more content in at a given quality. However these MPEG4/H264 sub-channels would not be compatible with the existing MPEG2 receivers. (The UK has gone for H264 for HD and MPEG2 for SD - as our SD services launched before H264 was developed. However other countries that went digital OTA later - Ireland, Norway etc. have gone entirely H264 - where others have a mix of H264 for Pay-TV and MPEG2 for free stuff.

I believe that some H264 pay-TV subchannels are being used in some US areas?
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(3) Is there any ongoing research involving a different type of digital TV transmission within a 6-mhz space that might be better than the current standard? In asking this particular question, I'm mindful that any radical changes in digital TV transmission might possibly mean -- especially for the consumer -- getting the equipment necessary to handle such changes.

Yes - lots. There is the second generation DVB-T2 standard being introduced in Europe which delivers significantly higher bitrates than the original DVB-T (which Europe adopted when the US adopted ATSC).

South America has chosen a tweaked version of the Japanese ISDB-T (the Japanese use MPEG2, South America H264)

There has also been work on MIMO antennae techniques, using both horizontal AND vertical polarisation at the same time etc. The UK considered these as part of their DVB-T2 adoption - but the requirement for new rooftop antennae was deemed a step too far.

Japan has started experimenting with Super Hi Vision (16 x HD resolution - 7680x4320 @ 60 or 120p) via OTA. They used MIMO, mixed polarisation and up to 4096QAM modulation in 2 x 6 or 8MHz channels to deliver an OTA SHV signal of 184Mbs.
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(4) Though not necessarily related to Q's 1-2-3 above, I wonder if there has ever been a time past or present when anyone proposed -- and maybe experimented with -- over-the-air digital TV channels operating within narrower MHZ ranges - say 4 mhz, 3 mhz or even 2 mhz??
Thanx-A-Lot, Frank-0-Video

Some of the COFDM techniques of ISDB-T (I think 1-seg effectively does something a bit like this) and DVB-T/T2 do something a bit like this (though DVB-T2 Lite for mobile uses time slicing rather than narrower frequency bands)
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post #4 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 11:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post

If you switched from MPEG2 to H264 (aka MPEG4) compression you can squeeze more content in at a given quality. However these MPEG4/H264 sub-channels would not be compatible with the existing MPEG2 receivers. (The UK has gone for H264 for HD and MPEG2 for SD - as our SD services launched before H264 was developed. However other countries that went digital OTA later - Ireland, Norway etc. have gone entirely H264 - where others have a mix of H264 for Pay-TV and MPEG2 for free stuff.

Why even bother with H264?

The Motion Picture Experts Group (better known as MPEG) has just let us know that it was quietly drafting a new video standard while everyone was on summer vacation last month: H.265, also called High Efficiency Video Coding, promises to squeeze video sizes with double the efficiency of H.264

http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/15/mpeg-drafts-twice-as-efficient-h-265-video-standard/

So it would seem one could squeeze 4 HD channels on one channel with h265. The FCC would love that. You could fit all the OTA networks in a market on just 2 or 3 channels. Then they can sell the rest of the TV spectrum to mobile companies.
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post #5 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BCF68 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post

If you switched from MPEG2 to H264 (aka MPEG4) compression you can squeeze more content in at a given quality. However these MPEG4/H264 sub-channels would not be compatible with the existing MPEG2 receivers. (The UK has gone for H264 for HD and MPEG2 for SD - as our SD services launched before H264 was developed. However other countries that went digital OTA later - Ireland, Norway etc. have gone entirely H264 - where others have a mix of H264 for Pay-TV and MPEG2 for free stuff.

Why even bother with H264?

The Motion Picture Experts Group (better known as MPEG) has just let us know that it was quietly drafting a new video standard while everyone was on summer vacation last month: H.265, also called High Efficiency Video Coding, promises to squeeze video sizes with double the efficiency of H.264

http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/15/mpeg-drafts-twice-as-efficient-h-265-video-standard/

So it would seem one could squeeze 4 HD channels on one channel with h265. The FCC would love that. You could fit all the OTA networks in a market on just 2 or 3 channels. Then they can sell the rest of the TV spectrum to mobile companies.

Many cable companies are already using H.264. The STB handles H.264 to MPEG2 conversion. 256QAM along with H.264 is giving cable a much needed bandwidth boost. In the future, I can see TVs with some sort of "plug-in" tuner system. That way, a TV would not be such a limiting factor in OTA broadcast technology improvements.
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post #6 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

Many cable companies are already using H.264.
Who? Where? For what content?
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The STB handles H.264 to MPEG2 conversion. 256QAM along with H.264 is giving cable a much needed bandwidth boost. In the future,
You're correct... the STB handles the conversion.
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I can see TVs with some sort of "plug-in" tuner system. That way, a TV would not be such a limiting factor in OTA broadcast technology improvements.
Sorry Nostradamus. Don't hold your breath. How many TV's still can use cablecards? And... that was easy. The TV is not a limiting factor. It's the broadcaster and cost of equipment and manufacturing cost for every "plug-in" tuner system that is compatible with every make/model TV.
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post #7 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 02:52 PM
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Who? Where? For what content?

Time Warner here has some H264 channels for a Sports tier.

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post #8 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 03:04 PM
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Yes we have H.264 but the STB doesn't do any sort of H.264 to MPEG-2 conversion, why would it..?

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post #9 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 03:05 PM
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Yes perhaps for specialized channels with a particular cableco. Not typical yet, coast to coast with every provider. OTOH, what a cableco does reallly isn't relevevent to OTA.
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post #10 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BCF68 View Post

Why even bother with H264?
The Motion Picture Experts Group (better known as MPEG) has just let us know that it was quietly drafting a new video standard while everyone was on summer vacation last month: H.265, also called High Efficiency Video Coding, promises to squeeze video sizes with double the efficiency of H.264
http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/15/mpeg-drafts-twice-as-efficient-h-265-video-standard/
So it would seem one could squeeze 4 HD channels on one channel with h265. The FCC would love that. You could fit all the OTA networks in a market on just 2 or 3 channels. Then they can sell the rest of the TV spectrum to mobile companies.

Quite - H264 with HVEC is what is hoped will deliver 4k (and poss 8k) via satellite in the next few years. If you are starting from scratch and don't need to launch anytime soon then it's potentially a great development. Don't know how far away the silicon for it is...

The big difference between the US and Europe is that US stations have an RF channel each. In Europe they already share RF channels.
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post #11 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 03:05 PM
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Well, you (RATMAN) are the one who asked WHO and WHERE...wink.gif

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post #12 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

Many cable companies are already using H.264. The STB handles H.264 to MPEG2 conversion. 256QAM along with H.264 is giving cable a much needed bandwidth boost. In the future, I can see TVs with some sort of "plug-in" tuner system. That way, a TV would not be such a limiting factor in OTA broadcast technology improvements.

Why would the STB need to convert from H264 to MPEG2 - surely it just decodes the MPEG2 to baseband video to output via HDMI/Component. The STB doesn't output an MPEG2 signal does it??
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post #13 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

Yes perhaps for specialized channels with a particular cableco. Not typical yet, coast to coast with every provider. OTOH, what a cableco does reallly isn't relevevent to OTA.

By the end of 2012 into 2013 it will be, almost every set top box sold to MSO's are H.264 equipped. Not sure where your information is from but it is not very up to date. The H.264 to MPEG-2 conversion is way out in left field.

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post #14 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post

Why would the STB need to convert from H264 to MPEG2 - surely it just decodes the MPEG2 to baseband video to output via HDMI/Component. The STB doesn't output an MPEG2 signal does it??

It doesn't..any H264 streams that need to be converted to MPEG2 have the conversion done at the headend in the IRD, such as the Moto 6000 (FOX) and the 6100 (ESPN).
This allows sys ops to use current STB"s in inventory.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CEsQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.motorola.com%2Fstaticfiles%2FVideo-Solutions%2FProducts%2FVideo-Infrastructure%2FDistribution%2FIntergrated-Receiver-Decoders%2FDSR-6100%2F_Documents%2FDSR6100_Datasheet_1365-095-15329x2.pdf&ei=amgxUJnjFevM6QHtm4GYBg&usg=AFQjCNHQDr9haJyX2tNnnApAAplUROp13Q&cad=rja

http://www.standardcomm.com/product-details.php?PID=5

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post #15 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Greetings ....

Appreciate all the replies, even if the technical content is over my head in a few ways.

SNEALS-2000 -- You answered a few things for me right off the deck. If I understand your DVB-T explanation right, 24 Mbits/S or so for an 8-mhz channel would likely equate to 6 Mbits/S for a 2-mhz channel, with the understanding that multi-channel capacity would not be possible in such a narrow bandwidth.

Now, if you have a 2-mhz DVB-T channel with with 6 MBits/S, would that allow for some type of Enhanced Definition TV, if such a channel couldn't quite meet minimum requirements for HDTV??

Thanx-A-Lot, Frank-0-Video
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post #16 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ybsane View Post

By the end of 2012 into 2013 it will be, almost every set top box sold to MSO's are H.264 equipped. Not sure where your information is from but it is not very up to date. The H.264 to MPEG-2 conversion is way out in left field.
It's not the end of 2012 or 2013. Not all cablecos do/will provide STB's to every household that supports H.264 If it were that simple, every cableco would be cramming 5 lbs. of crap into a 1 lb. bag.

And whether I'm right or wrong..... again, this thread is in regard to OTA. wink.gif
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post #17 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 05:16 PM
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My Motorola DCX3400-M receives MPEG-2 and “MPEG-4 AVC. (H264)”. My 3400 does not convert MPEG-4 to MPEG-2 but as Sneals2000 wrote it will decode the MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 stream to baseband uncompressed HD via HDMI. It will also convert to uncompressed analog HD or SD via component and 480i via S-Video / composite.

My cable company is sending certain channels in MPEG-4 AVC. (H264 ). They just added National Geographic Wild HD and it’s sent in MPEG-4 and customers with older MPEG-2 only boxes can’t get the channel. Certain specialty sports and movies are also sent in MPEG-4 and I believe in 1080p.

But Ratman is right. There is no way the cable cos can swap out all boxes in a short period of time. Customers with older boxes are SOT.
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post #18 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

If it were that simple, every cableco would be cramming 5 lbs. of crap into a 1 lb. bag.
And whether I'm right or wrong..... again, this thread is in regard to OTA. wink.gif

The correct euphemism is 5 lbs of Poo in a 1 lb Sugar Bag...whether is is OTA or CATv Poo is Poo..biggrin.gif

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post #19 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Super Eye View Post

My Motorola DCX3400-M receives MPEG-2 and “MPEG-4 AVC. (H264)”. My 3400 does not convert MPEG-4 to MPEG-2 but as Sneals2000 wrote it will decode the MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 stream to baseband uncompressed HD via HDMI. It will also convert to uncompressed analog HD or SD via component and 480i via S-Video / composite.
My cable company is sending certain channels in MPEG-4 AVC. (H264 ). They just added National Geographic Wild HD and it’s sent in MPEG-4 and customers with older MPEG-2 only boxes can’t get the channel. Certain specialty sports and movies are also sent in MPEG-4 and I believe in 1080p.
But Ratman is right. There is no way the cable cos can swap out all boxes in a short period of time. Customers with older boxes are SOT.

Sure they can, I have seen systems go all digital in a 6-month period. To kick off H.264 all they have to do is switch the premiums over and have customers either pick up and or have mailed to them a new set-top. I am not saying every cable company is going to H.264 from MPEG-2, but watch your top 5-MSO's take a huge chunk out of it this year. Unless you work for a top MSO and have heard the bigger scope of things speech the two of you are only exposed to 2% of what is going on behind the scenes.

Analog is waste of bandwidth and MPEG-2 does not fit the future, most of the Premium feeds are switching over to H.264 from MPEG-2=Fact Saves bandwidth on Satellite transmission and better overall quality with DVB-S2 transmission H.264

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post #20 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 05:46 PM
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Sure they can, I have seen systems go all digital in a 6-month period. To kick off H.264 all they have to do is switch the premiums over and have customers either pick up and or have mailed to them a new set-top. I am not saying every cable company is going to H.264 from MPEG-2, but watch your top 5-MSO's take a huge chunk out of it this year.

Analog is waste of bandwidth and MPEG-2 does not fit the future, most of the Premium feeds are switching over to H.264 from MPEG-2

I agree that cable cos are switching over to H2.64, as I said my cable co is slowly doing it and I already have a H2.64 box. I just don’t agree with the speed of things top come.

1) How many MPEG-2 only boxes in North America?

2) How many companies like Motto are manufacturing the MPEG-4 boxes and how fast can they manufacture them?

3) What is the cost of switching over a whole city the size of NY or LA or Chicago and who will pay for it?

That’s why I think its gonna happen slower than a lot of folks think.
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post #21 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 06:06 PM
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I agree that cable cos are switching over to H2.64, as I said my cable co is slowly doing it and I already have a H2.64 box. I just don’t agree with the speed of things top come.
1) How many MPEG-2 only boxes in North America?
2) How many companies like Motto are manufacturing the MPEG-4 boxes and how fast can they manufacture them?
3) What is the cost of switching over a whole city the size of NY or LA or Chicago and who will pay for it?
That’s why I think its gonna happen slower than a lot of folks think.


1: Who knows, but no one is making buying replacements that are not H.264 compatible, also easier to by the new ones than repair some of the older ones and or update them. Keep in mind that besides H.264 the hardware and software ability to go Cloud based is a huge consideration in new set-tops. The new H.264 set tops can also do IP-video.

2: Cisco and Samsung, plus other's. It 's not a matter of how fast they can produce them, they are plenty in inventory just of matter of quaterly money allowed to swap out new for old and the old being beyond econimical repair.

3: Head-End cost , Set-top or both, also which companies are we talking.? Cablevision and TWC for NYC will be switch over a little at time with about 70% done by the end of 2013. Head-End gear has been switching over to h.264 IRD's for the past 2-years , Plus going to one super head-end has already happened for the Carolinas of TWC and Other MSO's This past year.

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post #22 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 06:13 PM
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2) How many companies like Motto are manufacturing the MPEG-4 boxes and how fast can they manufacture them?
A lot of it can be done through FirmWare upgrades. Just like installing a new codec in Windows.
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post #23 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 07:28 PM
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It 's not a matter of how fast they can produce them, they are plenty in inventory just of matter of quaterly money allowed to swap out new for old and the old being beyond econimical repair.

My cable co is in the process of dropping three tiers of analog channels neighborhood by neighborhood. (Around 35 channels) Keep in mind that the three tiers have all been duplicated in SD MPEG-2 and many in HD MPEG-2 for years now. Anyway less than half way through, the cable co had to put a hold to dropping the analog channels. Rumor is that they ran out of boxes because Motorola can’t supply them fast enough. Apparently the cable co had no idea how many people have second, third and even fourth TVs running the raw analog feed to them and after the analog drop they need boxes for the secondary sets.
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A lot of it can be done through FirmWare upgrades. Just like installing a new codec in Windows.

I understand that and it’s easy to do with powerful PCs but I believe most of the older MPEG-2 STBs don’t have powerful enough hardware to make them MPEG-4 software compatible. If they did than I would think that Motorola would of updated the firmware to include H2.64 for the DCT-5100, DCT-6200, DCT-6208, DCT-6416, DCT-3416 all of which my cable provider uses and there are probably close to a million of these boxes in circulation in my region alone.

True that all new HD boxes are H2.64 capable but…
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post #24 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 09:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ybsane View Post

By the end of 2012 into 2013 it will be, almost every set top box sold to MSO's are H.264 equipped. Not sure where your information is from but it is not very up to date. The H.264 to MPEG-2 conversion is way out in left field.

Well maybe but my cable company still hands out STBs that are nearly a decade old. Some don't even have HDMI.
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post #25 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

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Many cable companies are already using H.264.
Who? Where? For what content?

Most of the channels in Cox's "Plus Pak" are >860MHz and H264 here in San Diego. I must upgrade from my Cisco/SA 8240HDC to the Cisco/SA 8642HDC in order to receive the new PAC-12 Network HD, the Big-10 Network HD, and about two dozen other HD channels. TWC is also similarly using H. 264.
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I can see TVs with some sort of "plug-in" tuner system. That way, a TV would not be such a limiting factor in OTA broadcast technology improvements.
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Sorry Nostradamus. Don't hold your breath. How many TV's still can use cablecards? And... that was easy. The TV is not a limiting factor. It's the broadcaster and cost of equipment and manufacturing cost for every "plug-in" tuner system that is compatible with every make/model TV.

The changeover from NTSC to ATSC was a disaster. If TVs were upgraded with firmware or a hardware plug-in, we wouldn't be tied to the travesty that is 8VSB MPEG2 OTA television. Stations could change if/when they wanted to. Want the new signals? Upgrade - instead of replace - your TV.
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post #26 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ybsane View Post

Yes we have H.264 but the STB doesn't do any sort of H.264 to MPEG-2 conversion, why would it..?

Because the TV is not MPEG4 compatible.
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post #27 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by sneals2000 View Post

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Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

Many cable companies are already using H.264. The STB handles H.264 to MPEG2 conversion. 256QAM along with H.264 is giving cable a much needed bandwidth boost. In the future, I can see TVs with some sort of "plug-in" tuner system. That way, a TV would not be such a limiting factor in OTA broadcast technology improvements.

Why would the STB need to convert from H264 to MPEG2 - surely it just decodes the MPEG2 to baseband video to output via HDMI/Component. The STB doesn't output an MPEG2 signal does it??

Sorry, poor choice of words. The TV will not handle the H264 video. The box must convert. With full MPEG2, the TV needs no STB.
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post #28 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

Yes perhaps for specialized channels with a particular cableco. Not typical yet, coast to coast with every provider. OTOH, what a cableco does reallly isn't relevevent to OTA.

All new cable STBs and DVRs built by Cisco and Motorola are MPEG4 compatible. This wasn't true a year ago. This is a sign of what's down the road.
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post #29 of 37 Old 08-19-2012, 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post


And whether I'm right or wrong..... again, this thread is in regard to OTA. wink.gif

I said that H264 was being used by cable, and you asked where? Now that you've been shown where, you fall back on "And whether I'm right or wrong..... again, this thread is in regard to OTA." Why didn't you say that originally instead of doubting its use?
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post #30 of 37 Old 08-20-2012, 03:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Frank-0-Video View Post

Greetings ....
Appreciate all the replies, even if the technical content is over my head in a few ways.
SNEALS-2000 -- You answered a few things for me right off the deck. If I understand your DVB-T explanation right, 24 Mbits/S or so for an 8-mhz channel would likely equate to 6 Mbits/S for a 2-mhz channel, with the understanding that multi-channel capacity would not be possible in such a narrow bandwidth.
Now, if you have a 2-mhz DVB-T channel with with 6 MBits/S, would that allow for some type of Enhanced Definition TV, if such a channel couldn't quite meet minimum requirements for HDTV??
Thanx-A-Lot, Frank-0-Video

Not sure if you can do a pro-rata scale - but I guess so. However there are huge benefits to carrying multiple video streams together rather than separately - as you can use statistical multiplexing (aka statmux) which shares a pool of bandwith between multiple channels and dynamically allocates it (within rules if needed) based on how demanding the content on each channel is (talking heads required far lower bitrate than fast cut sports for instance - but if your channels are a mix of the two then you can trade bandwith between channels and thus improve picture quality in some situations over a constant bitrate based on the average).

It is potentially less wasteful of bandwith than running a single service at a constant bitrate. It's routinely used on satellite and terrestrial here in the UK.

6Mbs is probably OK for 720p H264 - not nice for MPEG2, and probably marginal for 1080i with H264.
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