For most pay-TV operators there has been a natural progression from analogue transmission, to MPEG2 and now using MPEG4/H.264 compression for (mostly) HDTV broadcasts. India, and broadcasters in some other key markets are leapfrogging MPEG2 and going straight to MPEG4.

Tandberg’s Noel Matthews (VP business development), speaking at Rapid TV News’ recent Round Table of Compression & Distribution, said: “The same is happening in Central and Eastern Europe. What we are seeing is that there has always been some infrastructure available for news and contribution of material and this tends to follow the model that we are discussing. But in what we would refer to as ‘green field deployments’ – and these can be terrestrial or satellite – there is a straight move directly to Mpeg 4 in either SD or HDTV. In India we are seeing significant satellite deployments taking place with Mpeg 4 employed from the beginning and some of them are adopting Mpeg 4, DVB-S2, as well as statistical multiplexing of their signals which, together with good pre-correction technology, means that the transponder savings are pretty significant. We are seeing green field sites absolutely selecting Mpeg 4 for SD or HD.”

Harris Corp’s John Mailhot (GM, video networking grp) says in any market where there are new set top deployments taking place and they are not constrained by legacy boxes H.264 is the clear winner. “It is almost impossible to buy silicon anymore than only handles Mpeg 2. It is not being made, or recommended for new designs. So as people build out their new DTH deployments, they are all strongly considering using H.264 for their market. But even in older established markets like the US, there’s a trend to do much more in H.264. For example, HD – even running alongside Mpeg 2 Standard Definition – is being played out in H.264.”

Tim Sheppard, (Snr business & solutions development manager, at Cisco) said the ‘trend’ is even taking place within Western Europe. To give you an example, Cisco recently won a new piece of business in Denmark where they are playing out terrestrially an existing multiplex in Mpeg 2 and we are going to extend that work with four new multiplexes together and they will all be Mpeg 4. In the UK, they are going to add an HD mux quite soon where the operator, in addition to using DVB-T2 will almost certainly be employing H.264 as well for its HD, so there will be a mix of the two standards side by side across Europe. But the trend is towards Mpeg 4.

New players jump straight to MPEG4 - Rapid TV News