DVB WORLD 2013 – MADRID. Commercial broadcasters’ rejection of digital terrestrial broadcasting in some regions of Germany could lead to a nationwide withdrawal from digital terrestrial services, according to Ulrich Reimers of the Technical University Braunschweig.
Considering the options as to whether cellular networks could do the job currently performed by the traditional broadcast networks, Reimers pointed to the significant regional differences. While in one region 25.6% of households use DTT as the primary means of TV reception in one metropolitan area this falls to 3%.
Reimers told DVB World, the annual gathering of the standards setting body, that it would be unlikely for Germany to adopt DVB-T2 in its present form.“Commercial broadcasters have said they won’t distribute their signals in some areas, so people simply won’t watch DTT,” he said. “The consequences are clear, people will move away from terrestrial broadcasters, The numbers will move away sharply and the introduction of DVB-T2 in Germany won’t happen. Forget it. The public broadcasters will have to ask themselves if it is worth it to reach 3%.”
Reimers said that Germany would become very popular with regulators in other countries, not to mention the administrations in France and Poland, were it to become the first territory to switch off its terrestrial frequencies.
However, pointing to the one million car-based TV reception systems in Germany, and six million PCs with DVB-T equipment, Reimers said that a cellular hybrid system for portable reception could be adopted.
One such system is evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS), promoted by Ericsson, and being actively considered in the United States by Verizon. Up to 60% of the resources of a carrier can be allocated to a broadcast mode. The remaining 40% are used for unicasting.
Another option is the use of LTE, currently being rolled out across Europe, but lacking a sustainable economic model for the end user because of the lack of flat rate tarrifs.
“My assumption is that Live TV on Tablet PCs and similar devices outside the home will be an issue and that neither LTE in unicast mode nor eMBMS will be the solution of choice – probably less for technical reasons but more for the business reasons of the cellular network,” said Reimers.
The solution he suggested was a tower overlay system that would use DVB-T2 on top of the existing LTE infrastructure. “If we want to deliver outside of Wi-Fi networks to mobile TV solutions we need a solution and there is no proven answer, which is why we are offering a mobile overlay.”