Europa 7’s Francesco Di Stefano on a bright future for DVB-T2
“DVB-T2 is the technology capable of creating the right value for the best events. Today we consider ‘Serie B’ as a great beginning and we hope soon to add the ‘Serie A’ and then perhaps the Formula 1. We want to show the public a never seen quality and DVB-T2 allows us to [do that].”
These are the words of Francesco Di Stefano from Europa 7 network, which was the first in Italy to start implementing the new DVB-T2 broadcasting standard.
Di Stefano continues: “Many new TV sets on sale now are already implementing a DVB-T2 on board decoder and within next year practically every TV manufacturer will integrate it into the new models which are soon to become a standard. Among these, Sony has a DVB-T2 decoder within the whole range of TVs, LG [has it] on five models, Samsung on five, and by the end of this year official figures [suggest] around two million similar sets will be sold. Up to today around 400 thousand DVB-T2 receivers units are said to [have been] sold.
“Europa 7 network is already selling these decoders on their website (Europa7.it), so we are not talking [about] a future event but of something actual [in the present]. Official switch-off to T2 broadcast is foreseen in 2015, so it is about time to discuss and decide.”
With this in mind, Europa 7 made an agreement with president of Lega Serie B, Andrea Abodi, and recently started broadcasting a new channel, SerieBtv, and nine contemporary live matches. In addition, Di Stefano declares a not definitive but close agreement with Serie A for a well-known football package from former Dahlia TV, so he says there is a very good chance of commencing broadcasts with Serie A as well.
Europa 7 selected DVB-T2 because it allows for a very high quality of images and its signal is very robust, especially on VHF 8. It also gives rise to the possibility of broadcasting and receiving events on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, using a DVB-T2 dongle or DVB-T2 tablet integrated decoder.
Implementing a DVB-T2 decoder allows Europa 7HD to broadcast a higher quality image on digital transmissions – in excess of 25% in comparison to traditional DVB-T decoders – because it upscales all images up to 1080i (even those in SD).
Moreover, the decoder’s feature set means that it is: continuously and automatically updating, retuning and memorising all signals once per month; making use of a proper chipset developed by Sony, which is the result of more than one-and-a-half years’ study to make it entirely suitable for the Italian broadcast environment, regarded as one of the worst in the world. More than 5,000 decoders have been sold in two years and no faults are reported.
The adoption of DVB-T2 broadcasts has allowed Europa7 to synchronise T2 signals at 200km distance – an inconceivable distance in T1. Indeed, with only five high frequency sites Rohde & Schwarz-equipped Europa 7 can cover around 22million inhabitants in Piemonte, Lombardia, Veneto and Emilia Romagna.
DVB-T2 coupled with VHF Channel 8 allows reception of signals even in the mobile domain, indoor and outdoor. The difference in signal reception between Channel 8 and a typical signal in V Band is of 14dB,and precisely this distinction allows Europa7 to air a signal that is fully receivable on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
Di Stefano concludes: “After an incredibly long series of difficulties Europa 7 network was awarded a right to operate on Channel 8 VHF. After carefully analysing the [related] problems, what initially seemed a huge problem (VHF band) was overcome by choosing DVB-T2 as a standard and this band has become an opportunity for mobile reception, [since it is] able to deploy all potential of such a channel with the new generation Digital T2 signal.”