Cost for a station to add a atsc-m/h transmitter?

John Willkie

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#3
Yes, that's something that I know about. Jay Adrick of Harris Broadcast last year put the cost at close to $165,000 for two services. The actual cost has been less than that.

It's true that some stations will need to buy a new exciter; but probably not many. Most stations will find that, if their transmitter manufacturer is still in business, they can purchase a modification to the DSP (or other) chips that make the digital bits and can then furnish an ATSC M/H service or services.

The equipment list is a bit more extensive than that; you will also need an IP encapsulator/multiplexer, and depending on how your plant is architected, you might be bound to your exciter manufactuer. This device makes the M/H bits and integrates the resulting packets into your main (MPEG-2) service. I don't have price lists for these, but you can buy them from Harris, Rohde & Schwarz and Axcera, Grass Vallue; perhaps Tandberg & Harmonic as well.

You will also need one or more encoders for MPEG-4 (AVC/H.264) video and HE-AACV2 Audio, with an IP output. These can be had for about $20k.

In addition, you will need a M/H signaling generator. This is something that my company, EtherGuide Systems, is providing. Mine is $12,000; others are more expensive.

Those are the mandatory elements. I know several stations that have everything but signalling working for less than $70,000.

Optional elements include the Service Guide, Service Protection (conditional access), Rich Media Environment (RME) and interactivity; these can be expensive, as there are fewer vendors in those spaces at this point.

The costs are miniscule compared to the amount of money Qualcomm and others have spent for their so far unsuccessful mobile tv offerings.

Hope this helps;

John Willkie
EtherGuide Systems +1 619 770-5760
 
#4
Yes, that's something that I know about. Jay Adrick of Harris Broadcast last year put the cost at close to $165,000 for two services. The actual cost has been less than that.

It's true that some stations will need to buy a new exciter; but probably not many. Most stations will find that, if their transmitter manufacturer is still in business, they can purchase a modification to the DSP (or other) chips that make the digital bits and can then furnish an ATSC M/H service or services.

The equipment list is a bit more extensive than that; you will also need an IP encapsulator/multiplexer, and depending on how your plant is architected, you might be bound to your exciter manufactuer. This device makes the M/H bits and integrates the resulting packets into your main (MPEG-2) service. I don't have price lists for these, but you can buy them from Harris, Rohde & Schwarz and Axcera, Grass Vallue; perhaps Tandberg & Harmonic as well.

You will also need one or more encoders for MPEG-4 (AVC/H.264) video and HE-AACV2 Audio, with an IP output. These can be had for about $20k.

In addition, you will need a M/H signaling generator. This is something that my company, EtherGuide Systems, is providing. Mine is $12,000; others are more expensive.

Those are the mandatory elements. I know several stations that have everything but signalling working for less than $70,000.

Optional elements include the Service Guide, Service Protection (conditional access), Rich Media Environment (RME) and interactivity; these can be expensive, as there are fewer vendors in those spaces at this point.

The costs are miniscule compared to the amount of money Qualcomm and others have spent for their so far unsuccessful mobile tv offerings.

Hope this helps;

John Willkie
EtherGuide Systems +1 619 770-5760
Great post John and thanks for the info.
 

O-O

DTVUSA Member
#5
How do stations profit off of broadcasting ATSC-m/h? Are they able to show different ads than what's broadcasted on the ATSC channel?
 

Jim1348

DTVUSA Member
#6
Cost for a station to add an ATSC-M/H transmitter?

I think it is just a way to get additional viewers. I rather doubt that programming will be any different in most markets. I suspect in my market, when or if we ever get it, will simply be a simulcast of the -1 sub-channel.
 

John Willkie

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
Cost for a station to add an ATSC-M/H transmitter?

Jim, etc.

You can doubt all you want, but if the m/h programming is merely duplicated, we're in trouble. ATSC S4 (the ATSC specialist group that developed the M/H standard, and which I have been a member of for going on 2 years) actually provided much technology in there, including RME (interactivity) and SVG (vector graphics) and ultimately, NRT (non-real time content) that cannot be rendered on existing television sets and which will require new tv station infrastructure to exploit.

If one does the calculations, one will discern that it's unlikely that M/H will enable TV stations to increase audience levels by more than 4%. But, television station audiences have been going down in recent years, and younger people spend more time with their mobile phones than watch television. M/H will enable all sorts of television content to appear on these devices.

In addition, there is nothing that forbids m/h content from appearing on suitably-equipped television sets of the future. One important consideration is that M/H content will NOT be availble on calbe, unless the cable operator pays market rates for it.

M/H enables television stations to reach people in new places, not unlike mobile phones have enabled you to reach people when they are away from home.

TV stations -- with the appropriate infrastructure -- will be able to target different commercials to mobile phones, and enable them to present new content, including being paid to pass on adhoc or traditonal television networks. Stations, or people using their transmitters, will be able to charge for access, pay-per-view, and even interact with television stations and even have "buy now" buttons on ads that lead directly to web sites and secure transactions.

At least one company -- I can't provide details due to NDAs -- is contemplating a national m/h service using spectrum previously occupied by TV stations.

Think of M/H as being a new "application" enabled by dtv technology. Everything up to this point has merely been providing a digital equivalent of the old analog services. M/H is something that can go well beyond that, and it's just the start -- there is something just starting up which for the moment is called ATSC 2.0. It will take a few years to amount to a standard or standards. Some of this has leaked out to the public, but I can't go beyond that.

Sadly, M/H cannot coexist well (if at all) with 1080i (at least 1080i delivered using existing MPEG-2 video/audio. Some will tell you that it can, but these are the same folk that think two HDTV services can occupy a 8-VSB channel. Sure, it's done; but never well. But, the people most interested in M/H aren't really committed to the business model of HDTV, and they are looking at other tools to monetize their 8-VSB transmitters.

I know I'm long-winded, but so be it.

Best;

John Willkie
EtherGuide Systems (I am my employer, and I can speak for my employer)
 

TVTom51

DTVUSA Member
#8
TV stations -- with the appropriate infrastructure -- will be able to target different commercials to mobile phones, and enable them to present new content, including being paid to pass on adhoc or traditonal television networks. Stations, or people using their transmitters, will be able to charge for access, pay-per-view, and even interact with television stations and even have "buy now" buttons on ads that lead directly to web sites and secure transactions.
This should be very attractive to TV stations and advertisers. That and the fact that folks with mobile dtv phones and or devices should be a very good demographic for advertisers to target.
 

TonyT

DTVUSA Member
#9
Mobile DTV should crush Flo TV if they can put out a quality signal. I'm still doubtful of the tiny antennas on mobile dtv's and whether they'll be able to pick up any signal.
 

TVTom51

DTVUSA Member
#10
Mobile DTV should crush Flo TV if they can put out a quality signal. I'm still doubtful of the tiny antennas on mobile dtv's and whether they'll be able to pick up any signal.
I'd like to see some preliminary reports on the testing going on right now. Anybody seen any news?
 

John Willkie

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#11
There was a report on an earlier iteration of the system that may be on the web. (I saw it May 15, 2008, but due to an NDA I cannot release it.) It's called the IDOV (Independent Demonstration of Validity) report prepared by the consulting firm of MSW for the OMVC (Open Mobile Video Coalition). It tested two systems (MPH which is now M/H and the Samsung/Rohde&Schwarz A-VSB). I was done in San Francisco and Las Vegas, in cars, and handheld environments in urban canyons. Both systems did suprisingly well, particularly at UHF frequencies. I don't think I can say more; all of the above I've read in open sources and it fairly characterizes the report.

And, the M/H system is better now than it was then; more FEC choices, and more robust. The antennae aren't much of a problem, at UHF frequencies. Lo-band VHF is probably out of the question for handheld, but that's not necessarily the only target for M/H.
 
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Piggie

Super Moderator
#13
And yet my local low-VHF station is on the list of stations announced by OMVC as wanting to test ATSC-M/H. Go figure.

- Trip
If you are talking about WBRA, they seem to have a very "robust opinion" about low band, that is not based in evidence from what I have read about them on the net. So it doesn't surprise me they even consider mobile on ch 3.

Exactly your comment. "go figure"
 

Trip

Moderator, Webmaster of Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#14
I wonder what they'll do when it turns out no M/H receivers have low-VHF receivers in them. I know the Pixtree tuner I saw would only tune down to channel 7; it wouldn't surprise me if other tuners ignored 2-6.

- Trip
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#15
I wonder what they'll do when it turns out no M/H receivers have low-VHF receivers in them. I know the Pixtree tuner I saw would only tune down to channel 7; it wouldn't surprise me if other tuners ignored 2-6.

- Trip
I wondered the same thing, but too lazy to research which receivers have what, and not knowing I jumped over the thought.

Slightly off topic, my daughter in law's mom bought a Panasonic little portable ATSC wide screen. It says it does 720p, but the image looks like 480i. Didn't have time to read the book, etc. as it was a family Christmas lights party.

The kicker is she bought it so her (and mine) grand kids could watch TV in the back seat on a trip they are taking. Then she found out ATSC doesn't work in the car. But even more surprising is only WUFT would lock and it barely barely above the noise floor on it's whip antenna. Not sure whether to be impressed it even locked WUFT or figure portables are worthless in the fringe as suspected.

If we get time tonight we are going to hook up the FreeVision to it and see what it does. Too bad she gave away her Silver Sensor about 3 years ago. I think that might make it viable to be a portable. It's almost except for urban use, besides the whip it needs something like a Silver Sensor fold out of the back of the unit for longer UHF range.

In her house in Gainesville (far west side around Tower Road) she was able to lock all the UHF in town, which makes it sound impressive as others near here I talk to in the Gainesville thread on AVS need a lot more antenna than a whip to lock all 4 UHFs. So maybe it does have a hot tuner, or her townhouse in town is in a perfect location.
 

FOX TV

Contributor
#16
$$$$$$$

There was a report on an earlier iteration of the system that may be on the web. (I saw it May 15, 2008, but due to an NDA I cannot release it.) It's called the IDOV (Independent Demonstration of Validity) report prepared by the consulting firm of MSW for the OMVC (Open Mobile Video Coalition). It tested two systems (MPH which is now M/H and the Samsung/Rohde&Schwarz A-VSB). I was done in San Francisco and Las Vegas, in cars, and handheld environments in urban canyons. Both systems did suprisingly well, particularly at UHF frequencies. I don't think I can say more; all of the above I've read in open sources and it fairly characterizes the report.

And, the M/H system is better now than it was then; more FEC choices, and more robust. The antennae aren't much of a problem, at UHF frequencies. Lo-band VHF is probably out of the question for handheld, but that's not necessarily the only target for M/H.
A lot of stations are still getting over the financial hit from the DTV transition. There has to be quantifiable profit in it before our group will do M/H, and the reception has to be fairly acceptable and reliable in addition.

We will be making drastic antenna and transmitter changes at our primary site, and we will have some "Extra" transmitter power to throw at the vertical plain. One would assume that circular or dual polarity would be a benefit to mobile DTV devices, and the extra power in vertical would possibly be an additional benefit to mobile TV if they decide to do it.

The question I have about mobile TV is, how many people will loose their lives due to distracted housewives watching their soaps on the way to Wally World?
 

John Willkie

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#17
$$$

You posting assumes/presumes that due to the DTV transition, stations aren't profitable. Most assuredly, almost all stations are still profitable, but their profit margins aren't what they once were. But, whose is? Several large newspapers have gone out of business, no similar television staiton has.

If stations want to wait for "quantifiable profit" they are probably committed to going out of business. The question with M/H is how much extra revenue can they gain from simulcasting their main service to reach new and younger viewers, and how much will it cost to provide the new services that M/H enables? (It's not just about showing video and audio.) Stations are losing younger viewers, and they might be able to turn that around by reaching mobile devices.

I can't provide details, but there is a new entrant putting together a pilot project for M/H services (perhaps all pay or a pay/free mix) in a major market. They will have for the pilot project 3 high power transmitters, 5 medum to low power and 3 gap fillers, all in a single frequency network. And, they have the wherewithal (and bandwidth) to take it national, and they have the content. The transmitter folk (and those like me involved in "middleware" are quite excited about this new entrant.

I don't know what their criteria for ramping up is, but from what I can tell, they aren't worried too much about "quantifying" their profit, so I suspect they are comfortable with their projections.

This "new entrant" paid hundreds of millions for their bandwidth. Their pilot project hasn't received a word in the trade press, at least I haven't seen a peep. I did read an item where Jay Adrick of Harris alluded to it.

Watch out; the game could change quickly.

John Willkie
 
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