ITTI will produce and evaluate a design for a UHF Terrestrial Broadcast Interactive TV system with enhanced compatibility with other systems (interactive CATV). The system will use a forward channel embedded within the DVB-T Transport Stream and a Synchronous Frequency Division Multiple Access (SFDMA) UHF return channel. The work will build on results from earlier ACTS projects, notably INTERACT, VALIDATE, and DVBIRD. A demonstration will be conducted under the conditions encountered by typical applications.
ITTI will cover three related aspects of digital interactive terrestrial TV; namely, services and network architecture, applications, and digital interactive terrestrial Set Top Boxes (DIT-STB). The DVB and DAVIC requirements for interactive TV services, and the potential of the DIT-STB, will be analysed. In parallel, the interactive network architecture will be defined according to the DVB and DAVIC general model and refined for both the transmitter and subscriber/user site. Finally, radio frequency engineering studies will be conducted based on input from VALIDATE. The project will build and evaluate Java based applications, with various levels of Set Top Box intelligence, to demonstrate the system capabilities and limitations. It will start with the DIT-STB specification and architecture produced by DVBIRD and INTERACT and consider the integration and interfacing of the DVB-T receiver system with the SFDMA UHF interactive system. The project will conclude with the implementation of the ITTI demonstrator.
Summary of Trial
The demonstrator will be used for lab tests and field trials in two sites in France (Rennes and Metz) delivering interactive services over the usual terrestrial network. The design, based on the SFDMA system and the required infrastructure, will exploit the VALIDATE and INTERACT field trial facilities. Laboratory measurements of performance will follow those conducted in INTERACT, with the exception of synchronisation aspects.
The SFDMA technique (including service and network implications) will be analysed, a hardware demonstrator implemented the performance and technical parameters evaluated. The architectural requirements will be investigated and the complexity of the proposed system estimated from both user and service provider perspectives. Research will be strongly linked to product marketing, especially in the world of consumer electronics with the aim of defining a cost target for an SFDMA-based interactive system. The analysis will focus on:
-cost and complexity of the Set-Top-Box - a key issue for a marketable product;
-cost of the transmission equipment and network infrastructure needed for a commercial SFDMA service. The pilot transmissions and demonstrator will provide useful information.
-understanding the possible range of applications suitable for SFDMA solution, to develop appropriate material for attractive applications. The formal link with the DVB forum will broaden the discussion to include all DVB players and could lead to a European standard for SFDMA based interactive systems.
Interest in TV broadcasting and advanced communications has grown exponentially in recent years. Digital technology, notably VLSI, makes it possible to develop a new generation of services, in particular Interactive Digital Terrestrial TV (I-DTTV). This has many advantages, including:
-Using existing infrastructure to reach 95% of households in most European countries.
-Cost-effective delivery of regional and local variation in TV services.
-The re-use of the existing analogue terrestrial infrastructure offers a significant cost advantage over other digital delivery platforms.
-more spectrum and capacity will be available if analogue systems are converted to digital. Interactive digital terrestrial TV will offer benefits to many players:
-Consumers: I-DTTV is the most cost-effective way of delivering interactive digital services.
-European governments: I-DTTV will promote interactivity and the information society by providing a cost-effective platform for delivering 'free' TV and maximising the use of UHF spectrum.
-European broadcasters: I-DTTV will generate extra capacity that can be used by broadcasters to fulfil their universal service obligations and sell extra advertising. Digital cable and satellite jointly are unable to do this. Digital transmission combined with a return loop and a set-top box will enable broadcasters to offer new services, including interactive services.
-Consumer electronics manufacturers: Digital TV offers consumer manufacturers a major opportunity to launch a new generation of products.
-Financial Institutions: I-DTTV offers investment opportunities in the broadcasting and telecom sectors, e.g. upgrading national terrestrial transmission infrastructures, developing pay-TV services and electronic programming guides, creating and launching new broadcast services or channels.
Main contributions to the programme objectives:
Definition and implementation of a complete digital TV system in view of the introduction of Digital Terrestrial Interactive Services, using an SFDMA UHF terrestrial transmission for the return channel, and a forward channel embedded within the DVB-T Transport Stream.
Contribution to the programme
Demonstration of a complete terrestrial system for interactive digital television.
-The complexity of the system architecture. This includes problems at the interface between the Broadcast Channel Reception part and the SFDMA UHF Interactive System part, i.e system synchronisation, data management , system integration and optimisation, together with the interface to other systems, especially at the ad-hoc RF part of the return channel module.
-Practicality of interactive DVB-T transmissions, including service multiplexing, data control, and handling return data. The network architecture requirements will be analysed and a solution proposed.
-Optimising higher level protocols for mapping interactive applications onto the transmission medium.
-Key application design with special requirements for low bandwidth, slow response time and pre-storing.
-Optimising the integration of Digital Interactive Terrestrial System with dedicated ASIC.
-Integration of Digital Interactive Terrestrial Set-Top Box, MAC, higher level protocols, application, and the network operator receiving site.
-Field trial of one or more Interactive DVB programs over DVB-T broadcasting together with the broadcasting of one or several Analogue TV-programs and the UHF SFDMA return link.
-System experimentation including RF network architecture refinements.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts