Martin Ornass-Kubacki: Sat IP – the new tomorrow

Every now and again a new technology that comes along that really can make a difference to TV reception. Sat IP is, arguably, one such a technology and by all accounts looks likely to make TV – dare we say it – simple again.

Sat IP effectively allows every device in a satellite household – PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, connected TVs and media players and consoles – to receive satellite signals. In short, it transports satellite signals on every IP infrastructure, with or without the use of cable.

Sat IP was jointly developed by SES, BSkyB and Craftwork, a software company based in Denmark, and works by removing the DVB-S/S2 layer and converting signals to IP after reception. It is not a device specification and is based on open industry standards, working, first and foremost, by distinguishing between servers and clients.

Interest in Sat IP is growing rapidly and it has already acquired a number of industry partners, among them Abilis Systems, which is part of the Kudelski Group; Broadcom; Kathrein; and Grundig Sat Systems (GSS). There is also already a certified Sat IP server on the market, produced by the Luxembourg-based company Inverto Digital Labs. It received approval this summer and is likely to be followed by many more devices in the near future.

The interest already being shown in Sat IP is not surprising, given its many advantages for broadcasters and consumers alike. The former are offered a new and easy solution for multiscreen TV and now also have the opportunity to develop a new range of products. Furthermore, they can tap in to a large potential new market for satellite services, as well as bundle traditional satellite reception devices.

Consumers, on the other hand, will now be able to have a complete multiscreen experience delivered to them via satellite. What is more, they will not have to worry about having to pay more for receiving free-to-air services on devices other than their main TV sets.

They will also be able to receive pay-TV services, though operators will have to provide them with devices that support Sat>IP and are able to decode the content.
Manufacturers, too, will benefit from Sat>IP by developing a range of new devices including multiswitches/adapters, universal service gateways, multiroom DVRs/master set-top boxes and IP-based MDU distribution. In the latter case, they may be used in such places as communal housing, hotels, hospitals and greenfield fibre networks.

Sat IP is already beginning to make its mark in Germany and other markets, with some outside Europe having also expressed an interest in the technology.

While it is still early days, Sat IP is likely to become widely accepted by the industry and probably within a short period of time.