Just 25 years ago most UK citizens could receive a somewhat trifling 5 television channels. Today, Sky, Virgin Media and Freeview can offer 10s to 100s of channels. The catalysts of multichannel TV were the establishment of Cable operators and Satellite broadcasting in the ‘80s, but a seismic shift in choice can be attributed to the digitisation and compression of television signals.
Miniaturisation and commoditisation in both H/W and S/W have driven continuous advancements: a Standard Definition (SD) television signal at MPEG4 (compression) will today require less than 1Mb of bandwidth to deliver consumer-grade television pictures, as opposed to requiring 4Mb just 5 years ago!
With the cost of memory (/GB) also falling rapidly, the long-term storage of video content, on a massive scale, has become relatively inexpensive.
These two factors enable operators to store & deliver enormous libraries of high quality video: i.e. the seamless delivery of quality content, Linear and On-demand, across networks of varying capabilities, to any device (TV, Mobile, Laptop, Game Console, etc.) with appropriate user settings, encryption and rights protection.
Whilst nuanced, in many respects Digital TV is now just data and requires the marrying of the knowledge and skills borne from Telecommunications and IT.
Flomatik has been a major partner to Virgin Media in establishing their 300-channel broadcast TV offering and its gradual centralisation. More recently efforts have centred on non-Linear Video-on-Demand IT developments and their expansion to meet adoption and usage gains. This is in parallel with the associated advancements in Middleware & Set-Top-Box devices and the back-office systems that support them.
Our work has included national, Core network upgrades, along with regional and central Headend system upgrades, in addition to transformation programmes to enhance the optical and electrical Radio Frequency (RF) transmission systems that drive the Access network.
Flomatik supports Arqiva in the national Digital Switchover (DSO) programme, which will fully replace the analogue broadcast systems by end 2012. Here Flomatik provides various engineering and cutover support, as well as rolling out the latest High Definition terrestrial multiplexes.