We are still on the verge of transforming from analog to digital TV broadcasting and new information shows that there is still more stones left unturned. According to a recent Wireless Industry CTIA report, it is possible for broadcasters to share channels and this could in the long run help regulators decide whether to sell more airwaves in their respective countries.
Such an exercise would give more spectrum to regulators like UCC here in Uganda, hence more television broadcasters/players or even reaffirm this spectrum to other broadband technologies. If two TV broadcasters enter some sort of agreement to share channels, this would mean a lot of savings for both parties, they could potentially air their programs on digital streams using the same channel.
Chance for more spectrum even after the Digital Migration
The trial was carried out in the US, where two LA stations found that it was possible for two stations to combine their video streams and continue to broadcast without viewers seeing any difference, according to the report.
The current digital migration is just step one and a piece of the puzzle, and since and when the exercise is complete before 2015 as UCC promised it will be possible for TV stations to transmit multiple channels into the space they once needed to air one channel. Most of our local stations only air in Standard-Definition (360p-480p) leaving HD broadcasting for only satellite broadcasters. But all that will change after the digital migration, as we expect to start airing more local content in HD. Many local stations now air a combination of high-definition and standard-definition channels.
It is technically feasible to combine two HD streams
The report further explains the different test scenarios the engineers had to use, defining how they might be able to combine their HD or standard-definition streams into one channel without affecting the quality of their TV programming. To top it all off they discovered that it was technically feasible to combine two HD streams into one channel along with a couple of standard-definition streams.
While the tests suggested broadcasters could share channels using various combinations of HD and standard-definition streams, it’s still a scary possibility for station owners who aren’t sure if such sharing will keep them on the air. The study is part of a buttonholing campaign by CTIA, the wireless industry’s lobbying arm, to convince TV stations to sell or share their airwaves in the US.
This all backs on the hopes that after, the digital migration is done, and this channel sharing trial has proved to be successful, regulators like UCC can sell this extra spectrum to the wireless companies for LTE wireless broadband use.