As agreement is reached on the second generation specification for satellite broadcasting, ST is the first company to make available a DVB-S2 compliant modulator designGeneva, May 5, 2004
- STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM) has announced the development of a modulator design that is compliant with the new DVB-S2 specification for satellite broadcasts, which it plans to make available to broadcast equipment manufacturers as licensable VHDL1 code.
This proactive move by ST will help and enable manufacturers to begin the introduction of equipment capable of broadcasting DVB-S2 signals, and so will 'kick-start' the market for DVB-S2 receivers. ST is the world's leading supplier of integrated circuits for set-top boxes (STBs)2 - across satellite, cable and terrestrial services - and has been closely involved with the DVB technical groups working to optimize the DVB-S2 specification.
In combination with other new coding and satellite technologies, such as MPEG-4, DVB-S2 has the potential to provide a significant increase in the number of standard or HDTV (High Definition TV) channels that can be broadcast in a conventional transponder, as well as to dramatically reduce the price of satellite capacity.
Commenting on ST's announcement, Alberto Morello, Chair of the DVB-S2 Committee, said: "Mass uptake of a new broadcast standard will only occur when there is both a transmitted signal and cost-effective receivers available. ST's initiative gives broadcast equipment manufacturers a very convenient route to enable DVB-S2 transmissions and so provide the spur for set-top-box manufacturers to build receivers."
It is exactly ten years since the formation, in 1994, of the DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting) organization, and the introduction of the DVB-S specification that is now used by satellite operators worldwide for television broadcasting and data transmission. The services are as commonplace as cable TV, although the 'plug and play' simplicity of the end user's equipment hides a wealth of technical innovations, some working together, some building on their predecessors.
The target for DVB-S2 has been to achieve the best transmission performance, coupled with complete system flexibility and reasonable complexity in the receiver. The results are impressive: DVB-S2 benefits from recent developments in channel coding and modulation, and provides 30% more capacity than DVB-S. In fact the capacity is so close to the theoretical performance limit - the so-called 'Shannon Limit' - that it is unlikely there will be a need to develop a later specification.
"The DVB-S2 committee completed a very thorough analysis of all the potential technologies before setting the new standard," said Christos Lagomichos, General Manager of ST's Set Top Box Division. "By so nearly approaching the Shannon Limit, manufacturers can be certain that the investment they make now in implementing DVB-S2 will not have to be repeated. Consumers, too, can be confident that they will not have to replace their receivers to take advantage of new modulation schemes."
DVB-S specified normal QPSK (quadrature-phase-shift-keying) modulation and convolutional / Reed-Solomon FEC (Forward Error Correction). The new DVB-S2 specification allows, in addition to QPSK, for 3 bits per symbol using 8PSK modulation, at approximately 80-Mbit/s information rate. After exhaustive simulation of seven possible options which involved more than one million Gbit simulations and some 40,000 computer days the technical group has finally decided on Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) as the FEC code.. About STMicroelectronics
STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and its products play a key role in enabling today's convergence markets. The Company's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2003, the Company's net revenues were $7.24 billion and net earnings were $253 million. Further information on ST can be found www.st.com
. 1 Very High Speed Integrated Circuit (VHSIC) Hardware Description Language
2 InStat/MDR - MPEG Video IC Market: Larger than Ever - June 2003 (Report number IN030573MI) iSuppli 2001 Consumer Electronics Semiconductors: Market Share and Supplier Analysis