First trials of new converged mobile broadcast system
French transmitter network operator TDF and Italian public broadcaster RAI have launched the world’s first field trials of the new converged mobile broadcast system LTE-A+ Broadcast from transmitter sites in Paris and Aosta (Italy). The trials intend to evidence the possibility of convergence between the LTE technology ecosystem on one side and traditional DVB broadcast infrastructure on the other. They come at a moment where the mobile industry is increasingly looking at eMBMS, an LTE-embedded broadcast approach to serve the growing mobile video and radio/TV consumption.
Adapting LTE Broadcast to traditional high broadcasting towers creates the possibility of cooperation between the cellular and broadcasting networks, thus reducing network load, energy consumption and network costs, according to the trials’ initiators. All mobile devices can be reached without the need to add a specific broadcast receiver in the devices, a hurdle that proved difficult to overcome in the past.
In the trials, two data streams share the same UHF channel in time-division: one stream is conveying conventional digital HDTV channels to be viewed on domestic DVB-T2 TV sets while and a second embedded stream is conveying a specific broadcast flow intended for 4G LTE-A+ smartphones, laptops and tablets.
The joint project is based on the Tower Overlay concept developed by German university TU Braunschweig in 2013. It is supported by German research institute IRT and broadcast solution providers Expway (France) and GatesAir (USA).