Jul 25, 2015

digital terrestrial television: why & when in Turkey?

I have been writing on Digital Terrestrial Television, in Turkish, for a while. I have been blogging since 2004 and have posted more then 1200, 80+ are on DTT. It seems that I have to keep posting. This time I will try something different. I will post in English. Hope this post will help the progress of DTT. 

FTA Satellite is the market leader

First of all I want to discuss about the need of DTT. Because as the DTT progress fails, people had to choose other ways of TV reception, mainly DTH satellite. Nowadays if you ignore the presence of digital cable and IPTV, which of both add up just 10%, people in Turkey are watching the TV signal which they receive over satellite. As I have posted on previously the FTA is another dominant of the TV market in Turkey. PayTV is just 27%, if we take the total number of houses as 20M, which may be more than 20M. People tend to think this FTA offers will last forever. So they believe that there is no need to build a new DTT network, which would offer much less, in terms of total number of TV channels, when compared with FTA satellite. 

There are garbage channels in FTA satellite

If you talk with people you will easily find out that although they have plenty of choice, they tend to watch 10-15 mainstream TV channels. This is, actually, quite obvious. Because the duration of daily tv reception is limited. Hence, it is impossible to, even just, zapping of the all FTA satellite channels in one night. One another reason of people's limited choice is that although there are more then 500 channels, most of them are just "garbage" channels. Some of which are build to sell a specific product, some of which are local content. So the comparison of DTT and FTA satellite, in terms of total number of channels does not make sense. 

DTT In door mobile reception

DTT, is the only technology that gives you the chance to have in door mobile reception. With choosing right parameters it is possible to receive the TV signal with a small antenna on your portable device in your room. It is, I believe, one of the most important advantage of the DTT. It would be possible to watch TV in kitchen without the need of cable mass. You would be able to take your tablet and walk out to balcony with your favorite show on your mobile device. 

Energy saving on transmitter sites

Although it is being claimed that no one is receiving TV through the analog terrestrial television (the traditional roof top antenna solution), the broadcasters keep operating the analog tv transmitters, which consume electricity. With Analogue Switch Off, there will be great amount of electricity cost saving, as many channels would be transmitted with just one transmitter and as the devices are brand new with high efficient technology. The investment of DTT network will pay itself in time. I did not make a calculation on the duration of this payment, but I believe it is not more then 10 years. 

A new option for IPTV: DTT + OTT

With the availability of robust DTT, it would be possible for IPTV to offer the most of linear TVs through DTT and non-linear TVs and some linears through OTT. By that the total need for the bandwidth of IPTV, will decrease. Also the need for high capacity servers would decrease. Hence the cost of operation of each customer would decrease. Then, the IPTV solution may become cheaper. 

Frequency wars: 800+ is for 4G, what about 700+

Analogue TV is being broadcasted over UHF band frequencies. The upper portion of the band is very valuable for mobile operators. When they can take the use of the 700+ band, their total cost of operation would decrease and service options would vary. This is one another important factor of DTT transition. By the way it is quite important to note that 700+ band is not left to telecom sector all over the world. Recently in Korea it was announced that the 700+ band would be used for UHD 4K DTT transmission. That is also an important answer to the ones that claim DTT is an old fashioned offer which can not support UHD 4K. Personally I believe UHD 4K over DTT is not so meaningful. But technologically it is possible and Korea showed that. 

Consumer Electronics (CE) Manufacturers

There are some important player in CE sector in Turkey: Vestel, Beko, Neta. They will have chance to offer DVB-T2 HEVC sets, which I believe, will be the new standard for DTT in Turkey. It is the announced standard for the new DTT network of Germany and would be the standard for the new comers and new upgrades. This lateness of Turkey would open a window of opportunity for the local CE manufacturers. 

Legally it is possible to re-tender for DTT frequencies

After the unsuccessful attempts, it is legally possible to re-tender for the DTT frequencies. If the Supreme Council (RTUK) decides to change the standard from DVB-T2 MPEG 4 to DVB-T2 HEVC, the total number of channels in each MUX would increase, hence this will may decrease the licencee fee for each TV channel. Another option is to upgrade the broadcast quality from SD to HD for all channels in the DTT, which sounds quite meaningful with some government support for the receivers & TV sets. 

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