Unit 5 Digital Broadcasting

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1 5.1 Background Unit 5 Digital Broadcasting With the explosion of signal processing techniques and the fast progress of IC development in the last two decades, digital transmission technique is now employed in all new communication systems and is replacing the existing old analogue transmission systems. For example, the entire fixed-line telephone network and all the Public Mobile Radiotelephone Services (PMRS) in Hong Kong were digitized in the 1990s. The advantages of digital transmission technique are enormous, e.g., you can make IDD calls at home at anytime, receive MMS with your mobile phone, etc. These are not possible with the traditional analogue techniques. Nearly all major communication systems employ digital techniques now; analogue radio and TV transmission appear to be left as the last of the analogue technology in Hong Kong. Actually the digitization of radio and TV broadcasting has already commenced in some countries like UK, USA, Canada, Germany, Australia, etc. It is expected that over 50% of consumers will switch to digital broadcast by the end of this decade in most countries. The major limitations of analogue radio and TV transmission are: The quality of sound and video can t be improved further with the current bandwidth. They are not bandwidth efficiency, i.e., they require more bandwidth (compared with current digital technique) to transmit a given quality program within a coverage area. The received signal is sensitive to noise and interference. Poor mobile reception. Key characteristics of digital techniques: With the advancement of compression techniques in the last two decades, digital techniques show that they can use less bandwidth to transmit the same quality of audio/video signals when compared with the analogue counterparts. The recent advancement of the signal processing ICs has made the digital broadcasting becomes a reality. Apart from the possible improvement of both sound and video quality, a lot of additional data services are available. With the same coverage, the transmission power per channel can be reduced (e.g., by 10 times for a European Audio Broadcasting system for outdoor applications); as a result, the requirements for equipment spacing, cooling, power supply, etc can all be relaxed. Mobile reception with good quality of sound/video is possible for most systems. Less sensitivity to noise and interference. Easy editing and a lot of effects (e.g., changing the background of an image) can be added in the program. Reliable and low cost storage. For European systems (audio and TV broadcasting), due to the advanced network structure and modulation technique, Single Frequency Network (SFN) is possible, i.e. the same set of carrier frequencies (or the single carrier frequency) is used for all the transmitters, saving a lot of frequency spectrum and enhancing the reception performance. However, like cellular mobile radio systems and current analogue color TV broadcasting, there are multi-standards for digital broadcasting. 1

2 5.2 Digital Transmission Sampling Quantization and Coding In digital transmission, the voice or video signal needs to be sampled and quantized into several bits per sample, and then coded into the binary format before entering the digital modulator. As described in Unit 2 of Theme 1, the sampling frequency should be two times higher than the signal frequency, and the quantization process will introduce quantization error. In order to reduce the quantization error, more bits per sample need to be used, however this requires more bandwidth. There is a compromise between the accuracy of the signal and the required bandwidth. Regarding the coding, there are various ways to process the coding for the voice/video samples; the most common technique for broadcast applications is MPEG (moving picture expert group) where the data is compressed before being sent out to the modulator. Depending on the type of signal (i.e. audio or video) and recovered signal quality, compression ratio (the data rate before the compression to the data rate after the compression) normally lies from 10 to 200 for broadcast applications. Flexibility of Digital Data Transmission Apart from the noise immunity, the other advantage of using digital transmission is its flexibility; it is very easy to add additional features to the same radio channel, e.g., displaying the song title on the receiver s display while broadcasting a song on radio. It is also possible to combine a few radio programs into one radio channel. In AM/FM, these require additional radio channels since each analogue radio channel can serve one application only. 2

3 Digital Modulation The concept of digital modulation is similar to the analogue modulation. In analogue modulation, the analogue signal is directly applied to the modulator. However in digital modulation, a digital signal is applied to the modulator. Analogous to the AM and FM, digital modulation has Amplitude Shift Keying (ASK) and Frequency Shift Keying (FSK). The fundamental concepts are similar. Consider the example for binary signals in ASK: binary 1 corresponds to carrier output and binary 0 corresponds to no carrier output. In FSK, binary 1 corresponds to output with carrier frequency f 1, and binary 0 corresponds to output with carrier frequency f 2. Similar to the analogue modulation, if the modulation technique for information transmission remains the same, wider bandwidth can transmit larger volume s of information (b/s). On the other hand, unlike the analogue modulation technique where the required bandwidth for transmission is normally higher than the signal bandwidth (e.g., 2 x signal frequency for traditional AM radio broadcasting, and ~14 x signal frequency for FM radio broadcasting), advanced digital modulation techniques can use very narrow bandwidth (e.g., 40% of the signal frequency) to transmit the signal (information) with the same quality under ideal conditions. Information Content With the same information content but different digital modulation techniques for transmission Bandwidth 1 Bandwidth 2 Bandwidth 3 3

4 5.3 Digital Audio Broadcasting Introduction The 1st digital audio broadcasting system, NICAM (Near Instantaneously Compound Audio Multiplex), was introduced in the 1980s and used in TV In the 1990s, Eureka 147 system was adopted as a new digital audio broadcasting system in Europe and is now widely adopted in other countries, e.g., Canada, Taiwan, etc. In 2002, another digital audio broadcasting system, IBOC (In-band-On-channel) was approved in the USA after many years of development and testing, IBOC uses the same frequency band as analogue radio but has less capabilities when compared with Eureka 147. The low cost simple AM/FM radio is then changed to be a sophisticated media-processing device with a better display and a more user-friendly interface Portable DAB Receiver (By Courtesy of Pure Digital) DAB & GSM Handheld Receiver (By Courtesy of Etheractive) Key Features of Eureka 147 CD quality, also applicable to mobile reception. Support Single Frequency Network (SFN), allowing all transmi ssion stations to use the same radio channel to broadcast through the coverage area. A single radio channel can support a few programs (5 to 7 typically). Identification of radio channels by the name of the broadcaster instead of frequency. Identification of radio programs by program type. Multimedia support; e.g., slow moving pictures, song titles, singers name, weather information, paging services, financial services, etc. Different programs may have different transmission rates; Example: low data rate for Talk Shows and News high data rate for Music Use of Band III ( MHz) or L-Band ( MHz) mainly. Easy incorporation with pay services. PC radio card is also available, so users can schedule the radio recording in a very simple way. Receipt of is possible in the future. 4

5 5.4 Digital Terrestrial TV Broadcasting Introduction The development of Digital TV started at the beginning of 1990s; the three ma jor world players (Japan, Europe, and USA) decided to stop their development of analogue High Definition TV because the compression techniques and the progress of IC technology showed that digital technique was promising. Since wideband transmission is required for TV broadcasting and there is no more available frequency band at near frequencies, the existing analogue TV frequency band is used. It appears that consumers are more interested in the content and the number of programs offered than the improveme nt of the picture quality (particularly as it may be expensive). The transition from analogue to digital during the initial phase will put more effort into offering more services and program content with the same picture quality. The two major standards are from Europe and USA (there are also standards from Japan and China, but they are similar to the European standard). Key characteristics The quality of analogue TV display is proportional to the received signal level, but for the digital TV systems, the display quality is either perfect or non-existent. With the current video compression technology and modulation technique, it is possible to replace an analogue TV channel by a few digital TV programs (3 to 5) with the same video quality, and the number may be increased in future if better modulation or coding techniques are used. Certain Digital TV standards (like the European standard) support Single Frequency Network (SFN), allowing all transmission stations to use the same frequency channel for broadcasting through the coverage area, with a further saving on the frequency channels (bandwidth). With SFN, more TV program channels are then technically possible to be included in the existing frequency band, opening more competitions for TV services. An electronic program guide (EPG) is necessary due to the increased number of program channels. High Definition TV (i.e. with better resolution) can be achieved by using the whole frequency channel to broadcast ONE program; this will become popular at a later stage. Multimedia services are also possible through the broadcasting channel. Aspect ratio (the ratio between the width and the height of the image display) of 16:9 (or similar) will become popular when compare with the current 4:3. Unlike the life time for a mobile phone is normally less than 3 years, the life time for a TV is normally longer than 5 years; it is anticipated that a set-top box will be an interim solution to convert the digital signal back to conventional analogue TV signal. Interactive TV and Internet access becomes possible with a return channel, like the Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) in the European standard. 5

6 5.5 Summary In this unit, the major characteristics of digital broadcasting are addressed. The current analogue broadcasting techniques will be phased out in the next two decades and replaced by digital techniques. The key characteristics of using digital techniques and the basic nature of digital transmission have been discussed. The main features of the current digital audio broadcasting and digital terrestrial TV broadcasting are described. Apart from offering more channels (contents) within the same bandwidth as the analogue counterparts, the digital techniques can provide better reception quality, like CD sound quality and HDTV. It is anticipated that interactive service, i.e., 2-way communications will become popular in the broadcasting market in the future. Key Terms Digital Modulation: The modulation for digital signal. Eureka 147: The digital audio broadcasting system developed in Europe, and is also adopted in countries other than Europe, e.g. Canada, Taiwan, etc. In-band-On-channel (IBOC): The digital audio broadcasting system developed in the USA, IBOC uses the same frequency band as analogue radio. MPEG: Moving Picture Expert Group, it is the name of family of standards used for coding audio-visual information (e.g., movies, video, music) in a digital compressed format. NICAM: Near Instantaneously Compound Audio Multiplex, it provides two additional channels for TV; these two channels can be used as stereo sound channels, data channels, 2 mono sound channels, or 1 mono sound channel plus 1 data channel. Single Frequency Network (SFN): Use a single set of carrier frequencies (or a single carrier frequency) for all the transmission stations. 6

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