WGBH Boston Installs Grass Valley Mobile Video System

WGBH Boston, has installed a new Thomson mobile video transmission system from Grass Valley, based on the ATSC A/153 standard. WGBH’s mobile video service was launched in late 2009 with additional channels added in 2010.

In addition to its main HDTV channel, the station is simulcasting two Mobile DTV channels: its primary signal plus the ‘GBH Kids channel. WGBH is also rebroadcasting its radio services 89.7 WGBH and 99.5 All Classical in mobile as part of its 6 MHz of digital television spectrum.

“We’re very excited to be the first in our market to offer Mobile DTV services to our audience,” says Joe Igoe, WGBH CTO. “We see Mobile DTV as a way to expand our ability to deliver services such as our 99.5 All Classical to a broader geographic area on a wider range of devices.”

Igoe says Grass Valley’s statistical multiplexing for Mobile DTV allows WGBH to offer more educational services at a higher quality than would be otherwise possible.

“Unlike standard ATSC Mobile DTV encoders, the ViBE line offers scalable video coding and unique region of interest encoding algorithms that automatically detect the visually interesting area of a picture and processes them accordingly,” explains Christophe Delahousse, Grass Valley, Senior Vice President of the Headend and Transmissions business units. “This allows broadcasters to cost-effectively re-purpose ‘large screen’ content for smaller displays associated with mobile and other handheld devices, further enhancing the user’s experience with the mobile content. Once receiver chips hit the market, we expect WGBH to be successful in the mobile video space, as they have been in other areas of broadcasting; including HDTV.”

The WGBH order includes a new Thomson Adapt IV Exciter with mobility software, a NetProcessor 9030, a Jade electronic services guide (ESG) server, two new ViBE mobility encoders in a statistical multiplexing mode, two ViBE audio encoders, and an Amethyst smart switch for redundancy. Grass Valley engineers handled all equipment installation and commissioning.

Thomson ATSC Mobile DTV Terrestrial Broadcast Technology from Grass Valley is backward compatible with legacy ATSC transmission systems, enabling stations to use their existing DTV channel and the mandated ATSC 8-VSB modulation scheme. The technology offers several significant technological advantages over other systems, including the use of M/H Block Coding to provide maximum capability for signal reception.

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