The shift to IP hasn’t gone unnoticed in the transmission part of the broadcast chain. ATSC 3.0 is a shift to 100% IP delivery over RF and seamless integration with internet-delivered programming. So, too, has DVB seen this change which they describe as a move from thinking of distribution to thinking about a service. Merging broadcast RF delivery with internet delivery is an aspiration not only to merge broadband and broadcast, but to unify what we now see as fragmentation of services.
DVB’s Emily Dubs highlights some of the standards which form this native-IP strategy such as DVB-MABR, DVB-TA and DVB-I all of which have been featured here on The Broadcast Knowledge.
Thomas Wrede from the DVB CM-S group takes a look at the use cases motivating this work. Connected devices are now ubiquitous like smart TVs, phones and tablets and the stats show that viewers want to access both linear and non-linear content on all their devices. Indeed, Thomas outlines some statistics showing that consumption of linear TV remains high. So given this, Richard Lhermitte from ENENSYS explains that they’re interested in solving a problem for customers with low bandwidth broadband. The work in the CM-S group involves satellite rather than terrestrial RF transmission so the solutions use a gateway device. Looking at business-to-business applications Richard envisions feeding 5G cell towers by delivering video services over satellite, feeding wifi routers in schools, public buildings, malls etc. and delivery to aeroplanes, boats and similar.
Delivering to consumers, we see is envisaged as bringing the satellite and/or terrestrial RF into a demodulator then a gateway device which would deliver into a wifi router where it’s delivered alongside broadband. The internet feed can also be used as a return path for DRM and other signalling. Using this method, only one headend is needed for both the OTT and broadcast feeds a change which AWS noted recently brings around cost savings and was what drove several features in AWS MediaConnect. Another similar use case is to do the same but without the return path. This is more difficult but is part of the work being undertaken. Richard also highlights the ability to deliver parts of a programme, say extra languages, via broadband but using broadcast to deliver the main parts that everyone will want access to. Similarly, using MPEG LCEVC or similar scalable codecs, the HD video can be delivered over the air with the UHD enhancement layer delivered over broadband.
Lastly, Jean-Claude Sachot from Broadpeak briefly talks about the work done with Malaysian pay-TV broadcaster Astro SINI who have been working to extend their proposition with successful tests delivering via satellite into wifi hotspots in public places. This works well as not only does it improve Astro’s proposition to the viewers, but it increases their time spent in the locations where they can watch for free over Wi-Fi rather than having to use their mobile minutes. This is a benefit to the businesses working with Astro to provide the service and for them, the added infrastructure is very low cost as this plugs into their existing Wi-Fi infrastructure.
The video concludes with a Q&A which is summarised here and the main slides can be downloaded here
Content protection needs to evolve not only to new attacks but also to the technology landscape around it. While the PCMCIA form factor has been successfully used now for CAMs, it is an old technology that takes up a lot of space. This video looks at the move to USB interfaces and feature updates to the DVB CI standards,
To lead us through, TP Vision’s Nicholas Frame joins DVB’s Emily Dubs ad starts by explaining how all the different specifications and standards connect to provide the decryption ecosystem. This video centres on CI Plus 1.4 and CI Plus 2.0 which are standardised as ETSI TS 103 205 and ETSI TS 103 605 respectively.
CI Plus 1.4, Nicholas continues, introduces two main features. The first is the introduction of a negotiation mechanism to get a list and choose to use optional features in much the same way as a browser and server negotiate when they set up a secure HTTPS connection using TLS. Nicholas walks us through the negotiation process and explains that the first of these optional features is Overt Watermarking.
Watermarking is the practice of embedding data within a media stream which helps in tracking the source for use in copyright protection. This can be done with hidden data or overtly and works by defining a layer that is composited on top of the base video layer. This is not unlike the way that the decoder would also show the application GUI however the watermark layer is controlled by the CAM which says when to show or hide the watermark. The protocol is kept simple with the watermark itself comprising just ASCII text of a chosen colour at a defined position. Naturally, communication between the CAM and decoder is encrypted and the decoder provides confirmation back to the CAM when the watermark is shown which allows the CAM to take action if it believes the watermark isn’t being respected.
Moving on to CI Plus 2.0, Nicholas explains that it’s an evolution, not a new standard. It’s based on the previous mature, trusted work in the CI Plus standard and adds additional functionality with a modern interface. There’s no loss of features nor change in signalling. It does change the interface, however, which brings with it a whole raft of improvements and possibilities.
USB A is probably the most universally used physical interface which means it’s well known by the public and is a tried and tested, robust connector. It avoids being inserted the wrong way round and has no possibility of bent pins. In terms of manufacturing, space will be saved on circuit boards and manufacturing with USB components is very well understood. Nicholas sees this as opening up new possibilities such as decoders with different form factors or a move to virtualisation.
Although the lower layers defined by USB will change, the upper layers which are specific to CI and DVB won’t change. Nicholas finishes the video explaining how the USB interface (either 2.0 or 3.x) can use bulk transfer and will group MPEG TS packets into fragments for onwards transmission.
Moderator: Emily Dubs
Head of Technology,
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