Jump to content


Photo

Fta - Move To Satellite?


  • Please log in to reply
161 replies to this topic

#1 nthnthn

nthnthn

    AV Forum Member

  • Member
  • 55 posts

Posted 29 October 2008 - 06:20 PM

The reasons for not broadcasting all the Australian FTA channels on satellite are legislative only.

I did some calculations and found that every single channel in Australia can be very comfortably broadcast on satellite using DVB-S2 and H.264. That includes all HD versions, all radio stations and every single variation of channels, even local advertising markets - that includes even Broken Hill and other remote areas. With space to spare.

I've made a huge list a while ago, including LCNs, and I'd like people to have a look at it. I'd like to hear some feedback first as to what people here think of the viability of such a thing before I publish it and potentially embarrass myself.

Furthermore, if DVB-T becomes SD only, it can (potentially) be reduced to 2 multiplexes for remote areas, making the digital introduction there much much easier than the current legislative situation where 5 multiplexes are needed. Although this may happen anyways with the introduction of FreeView.

I'm just thinking that in a country with 3 inhabitants per square kilometre it doesn't make sense to make as little use of satellite as is currently happening.

I'll probably want to ask first:

I'm thinking that 10 Mbit/s should be enough for H.264 HD and 4 Mbit/s enough for H.264 SD, if audio is included.
Furthermore, I'm assuming that up to 40 Mbit/s should be possible on a transponder with DVB-S2 and any such hypothetical satellite could carry 25 transponders with that capacity. Discuss if I'm off.

Edit: See here

Edited by quink, 30 October 2008 - 04:31 AM.


#2 mtv

mtv

    AV Forum Member

  • Senior Member
  • 6,047 posts

Posted 29 October 2008 - 11:52 PM

I've made a huge list a while ago, including LCNs, and I'd like people to have a look at it.

Where can we see your list?

#3 'ct'

'ct'

    AV Forum Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 679 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 12:40 AM

I would like to see mpeg4 introduced to this country for DVB-T and DVB-S. But alas, there are too many mpeg2 boxes out there in viewerland now. We can't expect people to switch away from analogue if we are changing the digital standard every 5 years or so. This country went too early and should have waited like NZ did, who are now benefitting with mpeg4 DVB-T.

#4 digitalj

digitalj

    AV Forum Member

  • Senior Member
  • 12,945 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 02:17 AM

I would like to see mpeg4 introduced to this country for DVB-T and DVB-S. But alas, there are too many mpeg2 boxes out there in viewerland now. We can't expect people to switch away from analogue if we are changing the digital standard every 5 years or so. This country went too early and should have waited like NZ did, who are now benefitting with mpeg4 DVB-T.


MPEG4 could be introduced much faster if it was made mandatory for all future STB's, TV's, etc. tomorrow while the adoption rate is less than half, because then most people will have started with MPEG4, then it's just a matter of getting the ~40% of households who currently have MPEG2 to change to MPEG4, I believe that most of the ~40% of people with DTV have STB's, these will probably only last a few years before they start developing faults or the tuner starts to die, they will then be replaced with an MPEG4 capable STB, the people with other Digital tuners e.g. TV's, will just have to buy a new MPEG4 capable STB to go with their TV, manufactures of recent model TV's may also be willing to replace the MPEG2 decoders in them with MPEG4 ones if they were purchased within the last year.

#5 nthnthn

nthnthn

    AV Forum Member

  • Member
  • 55 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 04:28 AM

Where can we see your list?


Not many people are on DVB-S anyways, except for those who have Foxtel. The remainder is currently a vast minority, partially due to the choice on Optus Aurora and other services not being very compelling. I've tried to put every station on there and for the time being only these that I know currently broadcasts via either PAL or DVB-T in Australia. As such it looks unfair that Ten gets two HD channels, but that's a best-possible guess for the time being. Please let me know if I've missed any or made a faux pas in terms of ownership or LCN that shouldn't be. With radio stations I've assumed that they're happy with less than 100 kbits, mostly because some good compression can be used if it's all DVB-S2 anyways.

See here.

I've also played out scenarios that include:
  • New FTA Providers
  • Prime and WIN starting Australia-wide
  • Seven, Nine and Ten starting Australia-wide SD channels
  • State-wide or Regional stations, similar to 31
  • What the local MPEG-2 DVB-T1 would look like if HD moved to satellite
  • Overseas stations like TVNZ or BBC move into the market

But these will need updating for One HD.

Edited by quink, 30 October 2008 - 04:30 AM.


#6 DrP

DrP

    AV Forum Member

  • Senior Member
  • 16,740 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 05:02 AM

quink, who would pay to have all the FTA's carried on a sat service? Consider that each broadcaster would want to preserve their individual broadcast regions for advertising revenue purposes, meaning there's a lot of channels to be carried. The FTAs certainly wouldn't be interested since they have a working terrestrial distribution system that already reaches all their viewers.

#7 DrP

DrP

    AV Forum Member

  • Senior Member
  • 16,740 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 05:04 AM

manufactures of recent model TV's may also be willing to replace the MPEG2 decoders in them with MPEG4 ones if they were purchased within the last year.

For a fee.

#8 nthnthn

nthnthn

    AV Forum Member

  • Member
  • 55 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 05:48 AM

quink, who would pay to have all the FTA's carried on a sat service? Consider that each broadcaster would want to preserve their individual broadcast regions for advertising revenue purposes, meaning there's a lot of channels to be carried. The FTAs certainly wouldn't be interested since they have a working terrestrial distribution system that already reaches all their viewers.


Don't tell me Macquarie can't afford to rent three transponders on a Ku-band satellite. Which one is cheaper for broadcasters? Also be aware that there's plenty of capacity that they can use to transmit new channels.

  • Up to 3 transponders on a single satellite with HD and better centralisation of resources with the option of just a single SD channel on a FreeVIEW owned transmitter in hundreds of remote communities to cover 100% of your market
  • 1 multiplex in hundreds of remote communities with associated transmitters and support costs and the resources to maintain these to cover parts of your market. I am aware that many of these are supported by the government, but that's just shifting the costs when a better solution is out there.

Never mind it being cheaper for consumers, for regulators, for content providers and the other parties involved. The ABC and SBS are already broadcasting all their programs via satellite, but aren't doing so in a very cost-effective way. And they aren't exactly swimming in money. Channel Seven is leasing lots of transponders at this very moment. A satellite dish, LNB and a Set Top Box might cost $160 all up if they do become more widespread.

People in Broken Hill don't have any legal way of watching Channel Nine programs and rely on WIN. People just outside of Broken Hill's range have no way of legally watching Channel Ten programs and rely on Southern Cross and Imparja. This solution will be the most cost-effective way of fixing scenarios like this without greatly impacting advertising revenue.

Edited by quink, 30 October 2008 - 06:01 AM.


#9 DrP

DrP

    AV Forum Member

  • Senior Member
  • 16,740 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 06:23 AM

The fact remains that there is an existing terrestrial network in place and working, fully costed. Why would SC, WIN, Prime et al want to tear up their terrestrial system, which is working quite nicely and reaches a very large percentage of households in their broadcast area, and substitute in a satellite direct system that most of their viewers can't see without purchase of additional equipment? Who is going to lease the transponder space to carry the 30 odd individual transmissions for each broadcast area that the networks operate in (multiply that by the number of networks - 9,7,10 - state based broadcasts,SC,WIN, PRIME etc - multiple broadcast licnece regions within each state and it quickly becomes more than 3 transponders worth*)?

The FTAs all lease (full time or part time) transponder space for various reasons - internal content distribution, temporary carriage facility for special events, carriage during failure of terrestrial links etc. What you are suggesting is capacity above and beyond this existing capacity.

The only reason ABC and SBS can get away with it is their transmissions are state based - one program per state. Satellite transmission for them makes sense because of this.

I'm quite sure the WIN would be over the hill if 9 set up transmission into Broken Hill and started 'stealing' their advertising base. I'm sure the ACMA would be too. Similarly for SC, PRIME etc. They'd all be thrilled of the originators of their content started transmitting in their turf.

If you want to reach people that are outside of the current terrestrial coverage then a facility already exists - Aurora. Extend that to carry HD programming for those same people and you'd be on a plan that might have a chance of getting up and running, but for the rest of us, its going to be terrestrial for as long as anyone cares to think FTA will be around.

Since you are arguing that it would be cheaper for the FTAs to ditch their existing terrestrial networks and move everything to sat, can you provide us with your accurate costings of satellite carriage as well as accurate costings for terrestrial carriage so we can make our own evaluations?

*using your own base figures, 40Mbit/sec per DVB-S2 transponder (that's a bit low, but I'll stick with it), WIN HD in QLD would take out an entire transponder (actually a bit more) by itself. Then there is 7 QLD's HD, SC's HD and we've killed off your three transponders worth in one fell swoop. Now toss in all the other states and their individual broadcast regions HD and then throw in two SD channels per network, per broadcast area and it adds up pretty quickly.

Edited by DrP, 30 October 2008 - 07:02 AM.


#10 nthnthn

nthnthn

    AV Forum Member

  • Member
  • 55 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 06:58 AM

The fact remains that there is an existing terrestrial network in place and working, fully costed. Why would SC, WIN, Prime et al want to tear up their terrestrial system, which is working quite nicely and reaches a very large percentage of households in their broadcast area, and substitute in a satellite direct system that most of their viewers can't see without purchase of additional equipment?


Remote communities often get ABC, SBS, a single commercial channel and no digital channels. They, ABC, SBS and commercial broadcasters will have to make a huge transition to digital soon. If the additional equipment at the consumer end costs about as much as a new antenna and can be subsidised, encrypted if need be and so on, then why not? Especially since there is no incremental cost for each community any more?

Who is going to lease the transponder space to carry the 30 odd individual transmissions for each broadcast area that the networks operate in (multiply that by the number of networks - 9,7,10 - state based broadcasts,SC,WIN, PRIME etc - multiple broadcast licnece regions within each state and it quickly becomes more than 3 transponders worth*)?


I am aware of that, and it's three transponders for Macquarie alone, for example. Have you even looked at the PDF file?

The only reason ABC and SBS can get away with it is their transmissions are state based - one program per state. Satellite transmission for them makes sense because of this.


Yes, but even now they're still rebroadcasting the same channels, ABC1 HD and ABC2 for example, about 6 times unnecessarily for the eastern states.

I'm quite sure the WIN would be over the hill if 9 set up transmission into Broken Hill and started 'stealing' their advertising base. I'm sure the ACMA would be too. Similarly for SC, PRIME etc. They'd all be thrilled of the originators of their content started transmitting in their turf.


And here's the sticking point. And it's a sticking point that seems to exist in Australia only. I don't support the idea, but if that's the case, then why not encrypt the other programs? Nothing is preventing them from doing that. If they aren't encrypted, then the local news and advertising will still be on your local channel.

It is ludicrous to deny all Channel Ten programs to a vast area of NSW and SA just because it might impact the advertising revenue of another broadcaster.

But what I'm saying is that Channel Nine will be available to them. People living in Broken Hill would still prefer local news and local ads. Plus, the terrestrial market would still be completely owned by WIN.

If you want to reach people that are outside of the current terrestrial coverage then a facility already exists - Aurora. Extend that to carry HD programming for those same people and you'd be on a plan that might have a chance of getting up and running, but for the rest of us, its going to be terrestrial for as long as anyone cares to think FTA will be around.


No. Aurora doesn't have much to do with what I'm describing. I'm also talking about people stuck in - let's say - a blackspot 20 km Townsville that only might get two multiplexes at the moment, fading in and out of the time. That's the sort of situation I'm talking about, and suggesting that Aurora is a viable alternative for these people is not on.

*using your own base figures, 40Mbit/sec per DVB-S2 transponder (that's a bit low, but I'll stick with it), WIN HD in QLD would take out an entire transponder (actually a bit more) by itself. Then there is 7 QLD's HD, SC's HD and we've killed off your three transponders worth in one fell swoop. Now toss in all the other states and their individual broadcast regions HD and then throw in two SD channels per network, per broadcast area and it adds up pretty quickly.


You haven't looked at the list, have you?

Prime HD, for example, doesn't broadcast local content or ads on the HD channel. Tell me one good reason why news and ads in Albury-Wodonga need to be in HD or show me some evidence that they currently are. Ohh - whoops, Prime HD shows Deal or No Deal there while Prime News is on Prime. And there's no other HD channels there at the moment. I think I just smashed that argument.

Edited by quink, 30 October 2008 - 07:46 AM.


#11 DrP

DrP

    AV Forum Member

  • Senior Member
  • 16,740 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 07:06 AM

Yes I have looked at your nice list and the question still begs, who is going to pay for it? You keep saying it'll be cheaper to ditch terrestrial, so please provide your costings to back this statement up. Actually looking at your last post you seem to now be saying there will complete carriage of all terrestrial channels on sat, as well as maintaining the current terrestrial network1. That immediately dispells the potential of any cost savings by moving to an entirely sat based system.

ABC and SBS have to maintain separate programs for their broadcast regions for legal compliance (ie, judge orders program off air in NSW, but not QLD or Vic) as well as local time differences.

You bring up encrypting the content as a way of protecting advertising revenue. Who is going to pay for the encryption equipment? Who is going to pay to administer the control and distribution of subscription cards?

The simple fact is that while the regional FTAs are not currently broadcasting advertising per market that is where they are heading. They appear to all be tooling up to do it. SC being the most prominent example since they appear to not want to carry any of 10's breakaway HD content until they can do local advertising. This will become more obvious as more people watch the HD broadcasts. Commercial FTA is funded by advertising.

Aurora's very purpose is to provide coverage for remote viewers and those in black spots.

1But what I'm saying is that Channel Nine will be available to them. People living in Broken Hill would still prefer local news and local ads. Plus, the terrestrial market would still be completely owned by WIN.


Edited by DrP, 30 October 2008 - 07:30 AM.


#12 nthnthn

nthnthn

    AV Forum Member

  • Member
  • 55 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 07:36 AM

Yes I have looked at your nice list and the question still begs, who is going to pay for it? You keep saying it'll be cheaper to ditch terrestrial, so please provide your costings to back this statement up.


I'm not saying cheaper, I'm saying easier and not much more expensive if at all. It might cost Macquarie $3 million to rent 3 transponders for a year. Surely the total cost of providing low power retransmission sites over all of Australia for their channels must be more than that and if less, then it's not going to be much less. And each individual channel, such as Imparja can still have a single or two transmitters in places like Tennant Creek and Alice Springs. What I'm saying is that any retransmissions they would have can be on satellite instead now and providing an equal better unencrypted level of service to remote communities that currently exists. Furthermore, I'm not saying that all low-power transmitters should be abandoned either, it just makes more sense to have ABC, SBS and three other channels in low quality on a single multiplex and the entire TV spectrum of Australia available at a cost not much greater over satellite.

You bring up encrypting the content as a way of protecting advertising revenue. Who is going to pay for the encryption equipment? Who is going to pay to administer the control and distribution of subscription cards?


It's a possibility. I even said that I wouldn't approve of it and that it wouldn't make much sense. But that's something that the broadcasters should decide individually and it makes no sense for the government to be pushing regulation like making sure that no broadcaster may reach more than 75% of the population. Any such thing would be considered draconian in every other country. And like I said, people in Broken Hill will still rather watch WIN than Nine if it has local news, programs and ads - and thus a more compelling reason for regional broadcasters to provide local content!

The simple fact is that while the regional FTAs are not currently broadcasting advertising per market that is where they are heading. They are all tooling up to do it. SC being the most prominent example since they appear to not want to carry any of 10's breakaway HD content until they can do local advertising. This will become more obvious as more people watch the HD broadcasts. Commercial FTA is funded by advertising.


Something tells me that Southern Cross will not do local advertising for the Spencer Gulf region on Ten HD. It makes sense for them to do Southern Cross HD, but not with local advertising. The costs for that would be prohibitive.

Aurora's very purpose is to provide coverage for remote viewers and those in black spots.


Not the people in black spots. Tell me why you think that someone living in a black spot near Townsville should consider Imparja and Southern Cross all in SD a viable alternative to Seven Queensland, WIN and Southern Cross Ten, including some HD.

And here's the big thing: It would make the introduction of new channels so, so much easier. Ten is not able to do Ten HD, One HD, Ten SD and Ten HD. If they can move one of these channels to satellites for metro areas, then everyone will be better off. Except Southern Cross Ten, who'll just have to recognise the imperative to become a more regional station instead.

Edited by quink, 30 October 2008 - 07:41 AM.


#13 DrP

DrP

    AV Forum Member

  • Senior Member
  • 16,740 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 07:47 AM

OK, so if its not cheaper, then why would the networks do it?

Their operations are already highly centralised, all you are talking about it chopping the RF broadcast network off and replacing it with sat... but not really. From the quote I referenced, you are suggesting the terrestrial network will be maintained. That will be mean a significant cost increase. Now I don't know how much it costs to lease a sat transponder, nor do I know how much it would cost to occupy an entire satellite but for you to be making these claims you must have some concept of how much it is, so would you reveal your costings and compare them with the costs for the current terrestrial system?

Aurora's very purpose is remote and black spot coverage. It is precisely why it was established. Sure it may not carry local broadcasts for those in black spots, but that does not lessen nor alter the reason for its existence.

Edited by DrP, 30 October 2008 - 07:49 AM.


#14 nthnthn

nthnthn

    AV Forum Member

  • Member
  • 55 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 08:18 AM

OK, so if its not cheaper, then why would the networks do it?

Their operations are already highly centralised, all you are talking about it chopping the RF broadcast network off and replacing it with sat... but not really. From the quote I referenced, you are suggesting the terrestrial network will be maintained. That will be mean a significant cost increase. Now I don't know how much it costs to lease a sat transponder, nor do I know how much it would cost to occupy an entire satellite but for you to be making these claims you must have some concept of how much it is, so would you reveal your costings and compare them with the costs for the current terrestrial system?


OK. I am not an broadcast engineer, so I may be way off here. And that's the reason for why I can't do a detailed costing. But this is my line of thinking:

Let's say that we're talking about NBN, who would need less than a single transponder and would be one of the parties who'd have the least to gain from this. It just sounds to me that spending less than $1 million a year sounds like a ridiculously good deal to do all these things:
  • Push from 90% coverage of your market to 100%
  • Be able to turn off about a dozen retransmission sites
  • Be able to provide one or two new channels at hardly any incremental cost
  • Be available in the capital city
  • Not have to provide the signal to transmitters any more over relay networks - they can just retransmit from the satellite
  • Have some spare capacity on the transponder here and there for other usage
  • Provide every viewer with the option of getting a perfect high quality signal of their local station, regardless of where they are

The big reason why this would fail is if viewers would decide to not buy a satellite dish and STB if they have had analogue transmission before. For that, any additional channels such as One HD and Ten HD on satellite, which would be the case, would make this a done deal, however. Or Prime could introduce a news channel. All of these things are hard to do with the limitations on DVB-T and Analogue Terrestrial. Over satellite, Prime could introduce such a new channel with transmission costs to the consumer on the order of $100,000. Surely that would have to be compelling enough in addition to the above bullet points.

And the deal gets more competitive for remote communities, who would have high costs for each retransmission. Furthermore, Imparja would just need to switch platforms - they already provide SD over satellite albeit encrypted.

I've just noticed that I've taken out Prime HD and a the other regional HD channels while I was doing a revision. I'll have to put them back in :)

Aurora's very purpose is remote and black spot coverage. It is precisely why it was established. Sure it may not carry local broadcasts for those in black spots, but that does not lessen nor alter the reason for its existence.


Black spot coverage only came to Aurora's mission later on. It was and is still primarily intended for remote communities, which is why it sucks for anything else and isn't a viable alternative in the scenario I previously mentioned.

Edited by quink, 30 October 2008 - 08:24 AM.


#15 DrP

DrP

    AV Forum Member

  • Senior Member
  • 16,740 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 08:27 AM

Can you provide the costings that you are basing all this on or not? How many broadcast licence areas does NBN cover? This would determine just how many HD programs would be broadcast to provide each with separate local advertising. What about all of NBN's main SD broadcasts? What about the 2nd SD channel (presumably this too would carry locallised advertising). How much would the sat capacity to carry all of that be? Would your $1 million / year figure cover all that capacity?

You've bought up another figure, $100,000 to add another channel via sat. Can you provide the costings for this too? With all these figures being thrown around, its clear that you must have an understanding of the sat carriage and broadcast TV industry, so do us all a favour and post your costings with supporting info so we can all get a clearer picture* of what you are proposing and how the FTAs would fund it.

Ultimately the death knell to this concept came out of your own posts. It may not be cheaper for the FTAs to do it. If its going to cost more than their existing terrestrial system, not to mention that they all appear to be happy with the existing terrestrial arrangments, why would they do it? Increased costs would definitely appear to be on the menu if, as indicated in your prior posts, the terrestrial network is maintained and the duplication of all channels on sat is performed.

OK, so we've established that part of Aurora's purpose is indeed to provide blackspot coverage.

A point I'd like to make: If ditching terrestrial carriage and switching to a wholely sat delivered system is cheaper, why isn't the whole FTA terrestrial broadcast industry in Australia already moving in that direction? IIRC Imparja has recently switched some of its sat distribution to terrestrial fibre. If sat is cheaper, what could be the motivation for Imparja to do that?


*no pun intended

Edited by DrP, 30 October 2008 - 08:37 AM.


#16 nthnthn

nthnthn

    AV Forum Member

  • Member
  • 55 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 09:37 AM

ACMA says that NBN has 47 transmitters.

9 of these have more than 5k ERP or more.

That means that 38 transmitters are there 'just to fill the gaps', i.e. bring the market coverage from probably typical 65% to 80% in terms of population of the licence area. Another 10% are sort of able to get it with crappy reception, despite trying very hard. They can only marginally be considered the target market.

http://www.abc.net.a...elp_howmuch.htm

This ABC Website indicates that a typical cost for all these transmitters to be established is $40,000 each. A typical yearly running/replacement cost would thus be $4,000. The cost of the signal to these towers is on a similar order of magnitude. Thus, the money saved by merely abandoning these transmitters is marginal. However, there's a lot of space between these transmitters that is in effect stolen by Imparja or not watching TV, and NBN would like this market.

Thus, it may be assumed that these towers cost NBN around $300,000 to run and increase the share by 15%.

----

NBN currently has local news and ads for Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Central Coast, Tamworth and the Gold Coast. NBN HD merely upconverts the SD signal when the content is not native. Furthermore, all of the ads and news are from NBN SD Newcastle. Furthermore, NBN does not have any plans to upconvert the local news services to HD as doing so would be pointless and ridiculously expensive.

NBN would like the other 20% of the potential market they have. So they rent a Ku transponder on a satellite at a typical cost of $700k - $1.5 million a year. This transponder may carry up to 45 Mbit/s. They already have their programs encoded in MPEG-2 format, so for the time being they don't want to change to MPEG-4 or H.264. They already have the equipment to cheaply transmit programs to satellites.

So, for each of the markets they figure 5 Mbit/s for their Newcastle SD, 4 Mbit/s for their other SD channels (Ten thinks it's enough once they have One HD) and add 13 Mbit/s for their HD channel. This fits in nicely into the transponder they have. They have 7 Mbit/s to spare, which they sell on with markup or put to other uses.

So, the total cost of the transponder is close to $700k / year. The cost of getting the signal to the towers decreases about ten-fold at this point in time, saving them $150,000.

In effect, getting an extra 20% cost them probably $550,000. The rebroadcasting over small terrestrial towers is slightly more cost-effective at this point, but can be abandoned if they want to, making the entire thing around-about cost neutral from this perspective alone.

----

But then they are able to provide new channels if they want to, can claim to have 100% coverage, provide a perfect quality signal and can provide new programming, especially once they lower the bitrate.

NBN is the broadcaster who I intuitively feel would have the least to gain from all of this. And they at least don't come off this change much worse based on my rudimentary costing.

#17 DrP

DrP

    AV Forum Member

  • Senior Member
  • 16,740 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 09:53 AM

Where do you get the transponder costs from? Why are you assuming NBN won't do local advertising on their HD service once it become more popular? How are you determining NBN's terrestrial network distribution costs? You claim a significant reduction in NBN's distribution network to terrestrial TXs by using sat direct feeds to those TXs. How do you determine that figure? Are all of NBN's TXs fed by terrestrial land lines or are some of them translators fed from a master TX via RF?

If I understand you correctly, you are claiming NBN's tranmission sites (does that include carriage to the main TX sites?) costs about $300,000 a year. Would the realised increase in viewer numbers justify the additional $500,000 to $1,000,000 dollar operating costs to add on satellite carriage (and this assumes only one global HD program, not separate HD programs for each broadcast region which would eventually be the case). Multiple HD programs (ie local advertising), which will happen, would throw this costing model out the window.

ABC delivers a 'pre-rolled' transport stream for each state. If NBN was to adopt a sat delivered system direct to each terrestrial TX site additional equipment (ie cost) would be needed to drop the PIDs for content not intended to be delivered from that TX to reduce the mux down to something that would fit in the terrestrial transmission.

Finally, a killer... if this transmission model you propose is either cost neutral or infact an improvement on the existing setup, you'd imagine NBN (and all the other FTAs) would be in the process of implementing it.....

Edited by DrP, 30 October 2008 - 10:02 AM.


#18 nthnthn

nthnthn

    AV Forum Member

  • Member
  • 55 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 10:13 AM

Where do you get the transponder costs from? Why are you assuming NBN won't do local advertising on their HD service once it become more popular? How are you determining NBN's terrestrial network distribution costs? You claim a significant reduction in NBN's distribution network to terrestrial TXs by using sat direct feeds to those TXs. How do you determine that figure? Are all of NBN's TXs fed by terrestrial land lines or are some of them translators fed from a master TX via RF?


I'm assuming retransmitter costs as per the linked ABC website. Next question - see below.

Any method to reliably carry 7 Mbit/s across a rural area would cost at least that much a year. I'd expect them to be fed with fibre and/or microwave. Both of these can be replaced via satellite, as is currently happening all over the country with Imparja and Southern Cross. The reason it's not happening is because broadcasters find it a bit cheaper to rely on terrestrial methods rather than satellite at the current point in time because they can't transmit them in the open over satellite. Others like the ABC and Imparja don't have a choice but you don't see them going under due to high costs of satellite transmissions.

If I understand you correctly, you are claiming NBN's tranmission sites (does that include carriage to the main TX sites?) costs about $300,000 a year.


It's probably more due to me not including or excluding unknown factors here and there. I'd expect it to be not too far off. But I don't work for them. See my previous post to find out if that includes carriage.

Would the realised increase in viewer numbers justify the additional $500,000 to $1,000,000 dollar operating costs to add on satellite carriage (and this assumes only one global HD program, not separate HD programs for each broadcast region which would eventually be the case). Multiple HD programs, which will happen, would throw this costing model out the window.


No, that's not the additional operating cost. If you would have followed along, you'd see that the increased cost might be on the order of $200,000, which could be offset by the resale of the transponder capacity, especially if NBN changes to H.264. Let's now assume that they want to broadcast all their six channels in HD, while keeping SD, right? 45 Mbits / 6 ~ 7 Mbit per second. With proper encoding they can do about 2 Mbit for each channel in SD and have 5 left over for H.264 "HD". Which wouldn't look all that bad - it's not far below ABC would call HD. And that's talking about HD for regional bulletins for markets with probably 100,000 potential viewers. Which I'd severely doubt they'd do.

Furthermore if they did that, the majority in the expense would be in moving terrestrial distribution to HD - they'd have to free up to 11 Mbits in reliable fibre or microwave capacity to 40-some transmitters. That is not cheap. When they could easily do it with satellite.

Finally, a killer... if this transmission model you propose is either cost neutral or infact an improvement on the existing setup, you'd imagine NBN (and all the other FTAs) would be in the process of implementing it.....


Like I said: The reasons for not broadcasting all the Australian FTA channels on satellite are legislative only.

To clarify: Each broadcaster can only legally transmit to 75% of the population. It's no coincidence that the ownership situation in Australia is a direct result of that. Feel free to check it out - Seven, Nine and Ten have stations that transmit to between 60 to 75 percent of the population. It's ludicrous and it's one of the big reasons why FTA TV sucks and the media ownership situation is one of the crappiest in the world.

BTW, if you think that satellite transmission is prohibitively expensive, then this waste of taxpayer money should shock you. And that's poor old ABC and SBS affording it.

#19 nthnthn

nthnthn

    AV Forum Member

  • Member
  • 55 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 10:41 AM

*using your own base figures, 40Mbit/sec per DVB-S2 transponder (that's a bit low, but I'll stick with it), WIN HD in QLD would take out an entire transponder (actually a bit more) by itself. Then there is 7 QLD's HD, SC's HD and we've killed off your three transponders worth in one fell swoop. Now toss in all the other states and their individual broadcast regions HD and then throw in two SD channels per network, per broadcast area and it adds up pretty quickly.


Oh no! All of Australian FTA TV might need to be on two satellites if SC Ten suddenly decides that the Mildura news have to be in HD!

  • By the time it's all said and done, even assuming a worst case scenario, won't cost more than $20 million a year to run in transmission costs, launch costs and so on. That makes it a shockingly high $2 for every Australian every year in transmission costs and the possibility of a few hundred channels with perfect reception - if the market cares to support it. If it doesn't, we've still made the digital migration a lot easier, especially for remote areas.
  • And the equipment cost for that would be about $200 per household. The average terrestrial HD STBs is about $100 and any decreases in cost there will also decrease the cost of FTA satellite.


#20 DrP

DrP

    AV Forum Member

  • Senior Member
  • 16,740 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 01:18 PM

Like I said: The reasons for not broadcasting all the Australian FTA channels on satellite are legislative only.

There is no legislation in operation that prevents global transmission in the manner that you suggest. It any FTA network felt it was a worthwhile thing to do right now it could. Steps would have be to taken to prevent out of area reception, but that could be covered by your encryption suggestion.


So why aren't the FTAs already doing it if its such a good idea and is as cost saving (or at least cost neutral) as you suggest? Are they deliberately holding back to incur additional costs just to spite their balance sheets?

What happens in 5 years time when HD programming (may) have become more popular and is now the main focus of FTA viewing? Under your system the FTAs would have to increase their expenditure by adding additional sat capacity to carry separate HD programming for each broadcast area. Right now their systems are capable of carrying separate HD into each broadcast area as it is.

I'm assuming retransmitter costs as per the linked ABC website. Next question - see below.

There's a big flaw in your thinking then. The ABC's retransmission figures you provided are based on reception of the existing ABC sat distribution, not a terrestrial system that may or may not be relying upon translators.

And the equipment cost for that would be about $200 per household. The average terrestrial HD STBs is about $100 and any decreases in cost there will also decrease the cost of FTA satellite.

Who is paying for the installation? The terrestrial system is set up to incurr minimal costs to the viewers, ie purchase a STB / TV and plug it into the existing FTA terrestrial antenna. You are proposing that not only does all existing equipment need to be tossed out and new equipment purchased for '$200', each premises has to be recabled for sat reception which may involve multiple dual runs of coax.

Edited by DrP, 30 October 2008 - 01:42 PM.


#21 alanh

alanh

    AV Forum Member

  • Senior Member
  • 12,590 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 01:41 PM

All,
The allocation of LCNs is not the problem
Consider this;
The satellites were once controlled by the Australian Government (Aussat) but are along with new satellites by a foreign power (Optus is owned by the Singapore Government)

What do you do if there is a satellite failure? This happened to New Zealand last year. Fortunately around 75 % of their population had TV coverage by terrestrial means.

All high powered TV transmitters have digital equivalents except for 1 x Upper Namoi NSW, 1 x Central Western Slopes, 2 x SW WA, 2 x Great Southern WA and 2 x Central Agricultural WA.
Note there is only 2 commercial networks in regional WA.

So nearly all of the most expensive transmitters are already operating along with their feed systems. Lots of lower powered repeaters are fed off air from the high powered parent. So your suggestion is too late.

It is important to the regions to get specific programs particularly news for their area and for the buyers of advertising that they only target the audience they want and are prepared to pay for.

Remote areas are already covered by Aurora satellite using MPEG2. Unfortunately they only have 2 commercial programs per foot print.

The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy have had a discussion paper on remote TV where they propose limiting terrestrial retransmission to populations of <500 people.
This must be the break even point between the cost of domestic satellite installations compared to a single satellite receiver and very low powered DTV transmitters.

The ABC has stated it wants upto 6 TV channels in the future. SBS wants 3 channels.

I do not think radio should be multiplexed with TV programs because they cannot be received by portable equipment. DAB+ radio starts 1st May next year using band 3 channels. For Australia wide coverage HF DRM from a high powered transmitter site in the centre of Australia has advantages. Terrain does not affect the signal, it can be received in moving vehicles and on kitchen radios. It is an alternative to satellite for reliability reasons.

I do agree however that I would like to see a conversion to MPEG4 H264 in 2013 of all programs. It should be 1920 x 1080 coded progressive at 25 frame/s. The existing main SD channel should go to HD at that time. This will then allow a pair of HD channels and an SD channel using an 7 MHz TV channel. This is sent at DVB-T. I do not recommend DVB-T2 because a power increase in all transmitters will be required to give the same level of reliability.

The problem now is that the viewer has better equipment than the broadcasters can send hence the wish for Full HD signals. The Australian Government must mandate that all new receivers must be able to decode these signals from 1st July next year.

AlanH

#22 digitalj

digitalj

    AV Forum Member

  • Senior Member
  • 12,945 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 02:16 PM

It should be 1920 x 1080 coded progressive at 25 frame/s.


1920x1080p25 is well able to be carried as 1920x1080i50 and with the consumer using weave de-interlacing for film sources will reproduce the originally 1920x1080p25.

#23 DrP

DrP

    AV Forum Member

  • Senior Member
  • 16,740 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 02:24 PM

Not only that, forcing 25p immediately makes transmission of interlaced 50 field content impossible with out de-interlacing thereby significantly reducing spacial and temporal resolution. There is no significant advantage to 25p, especially in the domain that alanh as suggested - bitrates.

Edited by DrP, 30 October 2008 - 02:26 PM.


#24 viewer

viewer

    AV Forum Member

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 834 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 03:57 PM

Aurora's very purpose is remote and black spot coverage. It is precisely why it was established. Sure it may not carry local broadcasts for those in black spots, but that does not lessen nor alter the reason for its existence.


Hi,

I'd like to "buy" into this too.

It is important to note that blackspot areas are no longer guaranteed their right to now receive commercial coverage on Aurora from the likes of Imparja etc. The old rule of out of area reception/authorisation for black spot viewers is now in jeopardy, as on the Imparja web page, it says they will not now authorise any new cards that are out of their licensing area, even if they are blackspot.

This opens up a whole can of worms for persons like me, whom even though digital terrestrial has been progressed, still receive marginal digi terrestrial, suffering dropouts etc, due to our locations. No antenna persons can gain us a better signal, and analogue is also to be turned off. When all these things combine, I then have nothing but ABC and SBS via Aurora to watch. Is that fair?

Many moons ago, pre Aurora and back in the analogue satellite days, all the commercial channels uplinked via satellite, and local translaters simply inserted the local ads. We used to watch those feeds to see tv, and when the ads came on, we got a blank screen for 3 minutes, then the feed recommenced. Why couldn't that still be done via digital Ku satellite, and then no advertising is lost, as those viewers couldn't see their terrestrial station anyhow, so no advertising costs lost?

So, can the poor suckers that get nothing have something?

#25 DrP

DrP

    AV Forum Member

  • Senior Member
  • 16,740 posts

Posted 30 October 2008 - 04:23 PM

Imparja's actions are taken supposedly on a financial basis, not a legal nor technological basis. Essentially they claim that their service has become so popular and there are 'so many' requests for activations coming through that its costing them 'lots' to do it. Solution: levee a small activation fee, say $10 and use that to form the wages of a single employee dedicated to the task.

As for your local advertising insertion point, that would simply be modifying how the terrestrial transmission is distributed, not switching everyone to a sat service as has been proposed.