CORDIS - EU research results

Advanced digital satellite broadcasting and interactive services


The DIGISAT main objectives are:
To integrate the background technology developed during the previous RACE programme in the field of digital TV broadcasting, in order to demonstrate useful applications for Satellite Master Antenna Television (SMATV) configuration.
To develop the advanced technology required for the establishment of a return channel via satellite (using existing satellites operating in Ku band) in order to provide SMATV users with interactive capabilities.
To perform Field Trials with group of users demonstrating the preoperational phase of DVB services in Europe, especially those based on SMATV systems.
To contribute to standardisation bodies, mainly in the field of interactive services, configurations and interfaces.
Up to now the DIGISAT project has made the following achievements:
Integration of the SMATV technology configuring the different equipment for digital TV reception in collective antenna systems.
A complete definition and implementation of the Advanced Broadcasting Services via satellite has been achieved.
The implementation of the 1st Phase of Trials with group of users was carried out in July 96. More than 600 people followed the Trials, a greater success than expected was achieved.
DIGISAT Reference model for the Interactive System has been produced and a draft specification for the DIGISAT Interactive System has been developed. The prototypes for the implementation of the Return Channel via satellite are on going and it is foreseen to perform some demonstrations during 1997.
A wide contribution to the standardisation bodies has being carried out mainly in interactive systems and services: DVB, ITU, CENELEC, etc.
Expected Impact
DIGISAT represents another step towards the real implementation of digital TV services via satellite. This step is oriented towards SMATV users but with a wider scope, applicable to individual users and CATV users. DIGISAT offers to the SMATV user an added value that the European users are nowadays asking for, namely interactivity. The innovative concept of providing interactive services using satellite communications for both ways, upstream and downstream channels, will have a major impact on the broadcasting world.
It is also recognised that SMATV installations are popular in other regions in the world. Therefore the achievements of European Consortia in leading the introduction of digital TV broadcasting services and interactive capabilities would result in a very attractive strategic position for the European industry with respect to the rest of the world.
One of the major areas of impact relates to standardisation activities, among others the DIGISAT Interaction Reference Model has been the basis for the definition of the DVB Generic Reference Model for Interactive Systems as well as the DIGISAT specification for Ku band return channel for SMATV.

Main contributions to the programme objectives:
Main deliverables
A reference model for Interactive Satellite Broadcasting via SMATV installations and a demonstration of such a service.
Contribution to the programme
Development of inexpensive broadband access for Interactive Multimedia Services.
Technical Approach
The DIGISAT project is developing the required equipment and associated technology to ensure the incorporation of SMATV systems in the new era of digital television and interactive services.
The new Satellite Broadcasting services (non interactive, near interactive and interactive) as well as innovative concepts for the implementation of the return channel via satellite will allow to arrange operational trials with selective user groups in order to assess the feasibility of the new services and related network architectures from several points of view - technological, operational and economic. In order to build the required receiving infrastructure for SMATV installations, complete head-end units (including the Transparent Digital Transmodulator, either complete or simplified) are being developed.
Although DIGISAT is oriented to SMATV users, compatibility with DTH and CATV services (and infrastructures) is being pursued. A key analysis is being done to interconnect SMATV networks with CATV systems.

Interactive applications using simultaneously the DVB-S transport stream and the DIGISAT return channel are implemented.
Audience data acquisition applications with real time capabilities are being analysed as very promising tools in the broadcasting marketing environment.
Summary of Trial
Trials with group of users on broadcasting services are being arranged in order to test the different innovative services allowed for by digital TV technology. The first phase of Trials was carried out in July 1996 with more than 600 users.
The trials were carried out in several countries, Portugal, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Spain. New advanced broadcasting services were implemented such as: TV à la carte, near video on demand, pay per view, oriented advertisement and codirection. Different aspects of the services offered were analysed - technical aspects, user interests, user satisfaction and market perspectives.

Further trials are foreseen to test the SMATV configurations as well as the DIGISAT Interactive System Key Issues
Key issues
Integration of uplink station equipped with DVB-S signal generator
Trials on innovative broadcasting DVB services
Service evaluation by groups of users
Implementation of interactive services
Integration of SMATV-DTM and SMATV-IF/S configurations
Analysis of potential interactive systems searching commonalties between SMATV and CATV systems
Development of Interactive SMATV prototype based on satellite return channel

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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Total cost
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Participants (26)