By Carmen Gonzalez-Sanfeliu, Intelsat’s Regional Vice President, Latin America and the Caribbean In order to satiate consumer demand for higher quality and more immersive viewing experiences from any device, media companies and broadcasters are pushing for further innovation across the ecosystem. Recent advancements in ground equipment have resulted in steady efficiency gains needed to meet the higher digital video broadcasting standards. This was evident when Intelsat recently partnered with Newtec and Casablanca Online to demonstrate next-generation satellite technologies for Ku-band video contribution at the SET Expo 2016 that took place in Late August in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Leveraging the higher performance and efficiency of the Intelsat 29e Ku-band spot beams with Newtec’s 32APSK higher-order modulation, and the latest satellite transmission standard, DVB-S2X broadcasters quickly realized that they could achieve unprecedented efficiencies for reliable contribution and regional distribution. The combined performance of ground and space technologies resulted in a 4K-UHDTV signal transmission at 20 Mbps utilizing only 6.6 MHz of bandwidth. For the demonstration itself, the 4:2:2, 10-bit 4K-UHDTV signal at 60 frames per second was encoded in HEVC and transmitted from Intelsat’s Atlanta Teleport in C-band on Intelsat 14. The 4K-UHDTV signal was then downlinked on a C-band antenna at the Casablanca Online teleport using the Newtec MDM6100 satellite modem and then re-uplinked in Ku-band on Intelsat 29e. The video stream was finally downlinked at the SET Expo on Casablanca Online’s 2.4M Ku-band mobile antenna using the Newtec MDM6100 to demodulate the video signal. Those attending the demonstration were very impressed with the high quality of the 4K video shown, particularly given that it was raining outdoors. In addition, Newtec’s satcom equipment, using the latest satellite transmission standard, DVB-S2X, resulted in a 15%-30% efficiency gain over the previous standard in a typical distribution network. As the successor to the DVB-S2 standard, DVB-S2X supports increased profitability, interoperability and growth– all of which are particularly relevant when talking about delivering 4K-UHDTV. After watching the demo and listening to our explanation, the customers started to understand how Intelsat EpicNG could help them achieve greater operational efficiencies and open new application uses for them. With the significant improvement on uplink G/T and D/L EIRP on Intelsat’s EpicNG satellites, media companies will be able to utilize satellite links with higher order modulation standards such as DVB-S2X, resulting in significant improvement on the spectral efficiency (bits/Hz). This enables existing SNG terminals to support next generation high-throughput media contribution services like 4K-UHDTV utilizing less transponder bandwidth, resulting in bandwidth cost savings. Media companies can also take advantage of the high performance uplink beam characteristics to deploy new cost-effective SNG terminals with appreciable reduction in antenna and HPA size. Our first Intelsat EpicNG satellite clearly provides a new level of bandwidth efficiency for media distribution partners and we are confident that later generations of ground equipment and satellite technology will deliver even greater throughput and video quality for the end user.
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