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TV & SAT TV

DVB-T

The digitization of terrestrial TV - DVB-T/DVB-T2
DVB project
At the end of the nineties, a decision was made about the digitization of terrestrial TV in Europe. It was decided that digital terrestrial TV would be broadcast in accordance with DVB coding and modulation schemes.
Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB), established in September 1993, is a consortium gathering over 200 broadcasters, manufacturers, network operators, software providers and regulatory bodies in over 30 countries, established to develop open standards for delivering digital television, multimedia and data services. The main task of the DVB organization was to"develop and agree specifications which are then passed to the European standards body for media systems, the EBU/CENELEC/ETSI Joint Technical Committee, for approval. The specifications are then formally standardized by either CENELEC or, in the majority of cases, ETSI" (European Telecommunications Standards Institute). The standards include satellite TV ( DVB-S and DVB-S2), cable TV (DVB-C) and terrestrial TV (DVB-T and DVB-T2, generally called DTT - digital terrestrial television).
Poland has adopted DVB-T MPEG-4 (H.264) as the main digital terrestrial television (DTT) standard. However, the final standard in Europe is to be DVB-T2 MPEG-4 (H.264). The first country in Europe that began official emissions in DVB-T2 was the United Kingdom, seven years ago. Since that time there has been a number of European countries which use the most modern system of terrestrial television: Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Russia, Serbia, Sweden, Ukraine. Less or more advanced tests are conducted in the following 8 countries: Belarus, Estonia, France, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland.
Digital terrestrial television (DTT) in the world
(countries that have implemented or adopted DVB-T/ DVB-T2 systems are in blue
Country-specific information for Poland is available at our Polish website.
What are the benefits of digital terrestrial television?
Among many advantages of the new broadcasting method, the two most important are:
  • better and standardized quality of the received image and sound
  • much better bandwidth efficiency resulting in space for additional channels (programs)
Preserving the full quality of analog TV and using the same bandwidth of a physical TV channel, the number of programs in digital version can be increased 8 times.

In practice, the actual multiplier is often below 8 due to introduction of HD channels that need a broader band. HD channels mean a new quality, not available in analog TV broadcasting.

The high bandwidth efficiency results in "digital dividend" - the radio spectrum which is released in the process of digital television transition can be used by other services. Typically, one physical TV channel carries 4-8 digital TV channels (programs) and is called a multiplex (MUX).

DVB-T/T2 can offer additional services such as EPG (Electronic Program Guide), VOD (Video on Demand), selection of the language soundtrack and subtitles.
How to choose a television for DVB-T/T2?
New TV sets:

DVB-T/T2 signals can be received without any additional equipment by televisions equipped with the suitable tuners (actual requirements depend on the country).

Older televisions

Older TVs - mainly CRT, but also LCD and plasma televisions without suitable tuners, have to be connected to appropriate external DVB-T/T2 receivers, usually called STBs (set-top boxes).
What antenna for DVB-T/T2 (UHF band)?
Generally, DTT antenna systems do not force users to employ new types of antennas. Yagi-Uda arrays or even typical broadband antennas can receive digitally modulated signals. Of course, everything depends on the place of reception and the local signal propagation conditions.

Aside from UHF band, some countries may utilize VHF band (channels 6-12, 174-230 MHz).
Indoor DVB-T Antenna with Amplifier: Signal DA
Signal DA antenna is designed for indoor operation and dedicated for use in locations with very good reception conditions. The device has built-in high quality low noise amplifier. The antenna is very easy to install and can receive signals with vertical and horizontal polarization.
Outdoor DVB-T Antenna with Amplifier: Signal HDA-5000
Signal HDA-5000 A6040 antenna is designed to work outdoors. Due to special design and application of high-quality low-noise amplifier it provides very good results in receiving digital terrestrial television in areas with good and medium reception conditions (up to 20-30 km from transmitters). The antenna comes with a set of accessories allowing to mount it on a pole, balcony, or building facade.
Family of broadband antennas can be used in cities and outside them. The antennas are usually mounted on balconies or roofs. Without an amplifier (only with a balun) such an antenna can be sufficient at a distance up to 30 km from the transmitter, with an amplifier the reception distance can reach even 60 km.
UHF TV Antenna: DIPOL 16/21-60 DVB-T
DIPOL 16/21-60 DVB-T ( A1610 ) and DIPOL 16/21-60 with LNA-177 amplifier ( A1615 ) are among the most popular DVB-T/T2 antennas in Europe. The directional antennas decrease the level of interference and unwanted signals and are easy to mount on any roof. The former model can be used at distances up to 40 km from the transmitter, the latter one within 30-60 km range.
UHF TV antenna: DIPOL 19/21-60 DIGITAL
DIPOL 19/21-60 DVB-T A1911 is a very directional antenna decreasing the level of interference and unwanted signals, designed for mounting on roofs and recommended for distances up to 45 km from transmitters.
UHF TV Antenna: DIPOL 44/21-69 Tri Digit w. amp
DIPOL 44/21-60 Tri Digit ( A2670 ) and DIPOL 44/21-60 Tri Digit with amplifier ( A2675 ) are advanced directional antennas decreasing the level of interference and unwanted signals, to be mounted on roofs, with reception range up to 60/120 km, respectively.
What antenna for DVB-T/T2 (VHF band)?
Antennas for VHF band (174-230 MHz) used for DTT are identical with that used for reception of digital DAB+ radio. However, DVB-T/T2 signals in an area can be broadcast with different polarization (H/V) than the DAB+ signals. The universal construction of the offered VHF antennas allows for adjustment to any polarization.
Offered antennas for VHF band(174-230 MHz):
 CodeNameGain [dBi]
A0110DIPOL-1/5-121
A0140DIPOL-4/5-126
Directional combo DVB-T antennas with changeable polarization (VHF+UHF)
The Yagi-Uda or Yagi antenna is one of the most popular antenna designs, due to a comparatively simple construction and high gain. Yagi-Uda antennas can operate in the HF to UHF bands (3 MHz to 3 GHz), but often within a limited bandwidth around the center frequency. In the case of DVB-T bands, the parameters are chosen so as to maintain the balance between the range of channels that can be received and the average gain within the frequency band. Another aspect is the polarization of the transmitted signals. The antenna elements (directors, dipole, reflector) have to operate in accordance with the polarization of the signals, otherwise the gain of the antenna would disappear. Usually, all transmitters in an area operate with the same polarization in one band (UHF or VHF), but the polarization of the broadcasts in the UHF and VHF bands can be different. Such a situation is in Poland, where the new MUX-8 is transmitted in the VHF band with vertical or horizontal polarization, depending on the area. The appropriate polarization of the receiving antenna is essential for the proper reception of the DVB-T broadcasts.
DIPOL is the first company that manufactures Professional VHF and UHF DVB-T Antenna Sets (H/V). Thanks to a universal construction, the VHF and UHF antenna segments can be independently set to the vertical (V) or horizontal (H) polarization of the received signals. We offer two versions specially designed for receiving DVB-T broadcasts with different polarizations in VHF and UHF bands: DIPOL 28/5-12/21-60 A2810 and DIPOL 28/5-12/21-60 DVB-T with LNA-177 amplifier, A2850. The both antenna sets are equipped with diplexers combining signals from the VHF and UHF bands.
View of the professional VHF and UHF DVB-T antenna set
(both segments operating with horizontal polarization)
View of the professional VHF and UHF DVB-T antenna set
(VHF segment operating with vertical and UHF with horizontal polarization)
In this configuration, the U-bolt has to be mounted at the end of the antenna carrier
The DIPOL 28/5-12/21-60 A2810 and A2850 professional DVB-T antenna sets have been designed for reception of TV broadcasts in VHF (174-230 MHz) and UHF (470-790 MHz) bands. They provide an effective solution for the reception of DVB-T broadcasts with various combinations of polarizations in the VHF and UHF bands.

Combining FM, DAB+, DVB-T/T2 signals
The variety of the received signals (FM, DAB/DAB+, DVB-T/T2 (VHF band), DVB-T/T2 (UHF band)) can be combined by antenna multiplexers (combiners) with the suitable band inputs.
 CodeNameCombined signals
C0340ZA 4MsFM, DAB+/DVB-T(VHF), DVB-T(UHF)
C0342C0342ZA-204MsFM, DAB+/DVB-T(VHF), DVB-T(UHF)
C0364ZA 6DAB+/DVB-T(VHF), DVB-T(UHF)
C0370ZA-11MsFM, DVB-T(UHF), DVB-T(UHF)
C0384C0384ZA-206MsFM, DVB-T(UHF)
R902042MM-307FM+DAB+/DVB-T(VHF), DVB-T(UHF), DVB-T(UHF)
R902044MM-407FM, DAB+/DVB-T(VHF), DVB-T(UHF), DVB-T(UHF)
R82018R82018DC015LVHFI/II+FM,
DAB+/DVB-T(VHF), DVB-T(UHF)

 

Amplifiers in DTT antenna systems
Small antenna systems (up to 10 or so outlets)
During the implementation of digital terrestrial television there were questions for "amplifiers for DTT." The typical answer is that such special amplifiers are in fact not needed, as the amplifiers used so far in analog systems can be successfully used in DVB-T/T2 installations. There may be problems only with very old amplifiers with high noise levels which can influence the quality of digital signals. The noise issue is more important in the case of digital signals due lower levels of DVB-T/T2 signals compared with analog TV signals. Currently, most amplifiers available on the market, designed for small antenna systems, feature 3-5 dB noise figure.

Interference

Multiple signals applied to the input of a broadband amplifier cause intermodulation effects. There is a risk that the intermodulation products will disrupt the reception of digital multiplexes. Due to comparatively low signal levels of the multiplexes, it may even result in no reception. So, broadband amplifiers should be selected and adjusted carefully, close to a minimum gain ensuring stable reception.

Power supplying

In analog TV antenna systems the typical supply voltage is 12 VDC. In individual DVB-T antenna systems the standard voltage is 5 VDC. DVB-T receivers/tuners can supply the voltage from their antenna inputs, eliminating the need for external power supplies.
The best choice is the application of amplifiers with both power options (5/12 VDC), such as LNA-101 15dB 5V/12V B4007 designed to be mounted just in antenna box.

Basic requirements for DVB-T antenna amplifiers
  • low noise
  • limited and adjustable gain - the maximum level of DVB-T/T2 signals in any outlet should not exceed 74 dBuV
A well known European manufacturer of RF equipment, TERRA company, offers the ABxxx series of masthead amplifiers that belong to the top-class products in their segment. The noise level is between 0.8...1 dB. They can be powered from 12 VDC power supplies, or directly from the tuner of the DVB-T receiver or television (5 VDC). One of them has 3 outputs, so can directly feed signals to 3 televisions/STBs. All TERRA products are covered by a 4-year warranty.
Mast-mounted preamplifiers

The use of a mast-mounted (pre)amplifier is the optimal solution in the case of weak signals and long sections of cables between the antenna and televisions. In such situations, the amplifier located near the antenna ensures increased signal that guarantees a safe margin to the minimum level required by an indoor amplifier or the televisions, despite the attenuation of the antenna cable(s). The advantage of the majority of masthead amplifiers, compared to preamplifiers mounted directly in antenna boxes, is the possibility of gain control. Some amplifiers also have more than one output.
When buying a mast amplifier, the user should pay special attention to the noise figure. The application of an amplifier with a significant level of internal noise is pointless - the result (BER and the reception quality and stability) may be worse than without such amplifier. The noise figure should not exceed 3 dB, but the best amplifiers giving a real chance to improve TV reception in unfavorable conditions have this parameter at levels below 1 dB.
 R82022R82023R82024
NameMA080MA082MA081
CodeR82022R82024R82023
Operating frequency range
FM, VHFIII, UHF
Gain [dB]FM (88-108 MHz)20
20
 

20
 
VHFIII (174-230 MHz) 20
UHF (470-790 MHz)  30 2x30
Number of inputs
3 2 3
Number of outputs
1
Noise figure [dB]VHF 5 dB; UHF 3 dB
Max. output level IMD3=60 dB (DIN45004B)[dBuV]108
Interstage gain control [dB]VHF 0 ... -12; UHF 0 ... -15
Return loss [dB]> 10
Power consumption [V x mA]12 x 60
Operating temperature range [°C]-20...+50
Dimensions/Weight [mm / kg]89x107x43 / 0.18

 

Shared / master antenna systems (MATV)
Signals in large antenna systems have to be amplified by channel amplifiers - the same applies to DVB-T/T2 installations. However, the spectrum of a DVB-T/T2 multiplex fundamentally differs from the spectrum of a single analog channel. Due to steep slopes and the use of subcarriers in the whole width of the digital channel (multiplex), the key parameters of the amplifier become selectivity and flat gain characteristic across the channel.
DIPOL recommends to use renown TERRA channel amplifiers. Terra at440 R82511 is a four-channel highly selective tunable RF amplifier capable of filtering, amplifying and equalizing four DTT multiplexes broadcast in the UHF band. The automatic gain control of the amplifier ensures automatic equalization of signal levels to 82 dBμV (for input levels within 50-75 dBuV range). This function eliminates the need for manual adjustments of signal levels at the installation and maintenance stages. The equalization of signal levels in different channels and perfect selectivity allows for operation even in adjacent channels.

Channel amplifiers

Theory and use of channel amplifiers
Measurement of digital terrestrial TV signals
The issue has been thoroughly described in the Measurements and amplification of DTT (DVB-T) signals article.
DVB-T Signal Meter: Digiair PRO
DVB-T and analog TV signals analyzer Digiair PRO R10510

Home DVB-T antenna systems
UHF TV Antenna: DIPOL 44/21-60 Tri DigitDAB / DVB-T Antenna: DIPOL-4/5-121-12/21-69 Antenna Diplexer - ZA 6
Antenna system for reception of DVB-T/T2 broadcasts in UHF and VHF bands

Antenna system for areas
with high signal intensity (up to 20 km
from high- and medium-power DVB-T/T2 transmitters)
Antenna system for areas within a 20-40 km
distance from the transmitter,
with signal distribution to 4 televisions
Antenna system for areas over 40 km
away from the transmitter,
with signal distribution to 4 televisions
Antenna system for receiving
DVB-T/T2 broadcasts from two transmitters
Antenna system combining satellite
and DVB-T/T2 signals, with distribution to 4 outlets
 
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