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Monday, January 31, 2005

DTT - Begin The New Revolution In Old TV

Strategy +Business writes, Digital terrestrial television uses analog technology to deliver digital programming, may soon affect everything from home entertainment to mobile communications. Digital terrestrial television (DTT), which uses the analog infrastructure of traditional broadcast television to deliver digital programming, has the potential to bring interactive TV, multichannel capabilities, and TV-based online shopping, banking, and other services to the hundreds of millions of people who don’t have access to cable or satellite systems. In the process, DTT will create an array of new business opportunities that could affect everything from home entertainment to mobile communications. Excerpts with edits from an interesting article:

DTT is either already making inroads in several countries or poised to do so, because of regulatory agency mandates that will require broadcasters to switch from analog to digital terrestrial TV by around 2010. Because consumers can use conventional TV sets to access DTT and usually don’t have to pay a subscription fee to view basic stations, adoption of DTT is generally very rapid in almost every country where it is introduced. In the United Kingdom, more than 4 million households use DTT after only two years in the market. Initially, DTT will have its greatest effect in the pay-TV sector, which is, thus far, controlled by cable and satellite companies. A comparable cable/satellite offering would require a monthly subscription for basic service plus digital or some other premium service. The content provider would have to maintain complex bookkeeping and customer management systems as well as its vast TV distribution network.

Cellular operators also have something to fear from digital terrestrial TV. Using DTT platforms, media companies will be able to deliver entertainment or information on new dual-mode handsets that recognize both mobile phone and DTT technical standards. In effect, these handsets will let media companies bypass traditional mobile technology. DTT is a far more efficient transmission protocol for mobile entertainment than cellular networks, because it is capable of delivering content to millions of individual connections at once without network interference or overload. For instance, tens of thousands of people in a football stadium could simultaneously and reliably access DTT-provided data or entertainment through a mobile device, whereas a cellular network would be too congested to handle a load even 1/1000th that size. DTT’s most intriguing impact could be on interactive or two-way advertising campaigns, DTT is a more universal delivery system than cable or satellite, it has the potential to make interactive advertising more common. The future of DTT comes down to numbers. The terrestrial open platform provides a strong enough signal to reach everyone without the need for a satellite dish or cable lines, and it can potentially offer more than 50 free digital channels, depending on a country’s geography and available terrestrial frequencies. Cable and satellite are more powerful — most cable TV systems offer about 150 channels, and satellite TV delivers 500 or more channels — but they are based on proprietary platforms and monthly subscription fees. Perhaps the more important numbers have to do with investments of time and money. It will be a lot quicker and, over time, a lot less expensive for small content providers to offer high-quality, Internet-age, in-home and mobile programming and applications on DTT than on any other medium. That may just be enough to begin the new revolution in old TV.”

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