Pace plc, a developer of digital TV technologies, has made the first set-top box capable of receiving and displaying DVB-T2 HD content.

The prototype consists of the world’s first DVB-T2 front-end (the silicon tuner TDA18211 and a prototype of the forthcoming demodulator TDA10055) from NXP Semiconductors and a Pace high definition terrestrial set-top box.

It will receive a live MPEG-4 HD stream from an Enensys DVB-T2 Modulator based at the DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting) stand at the IBC 2008 show in Amsterdam, which begins on Friday.

DVB-T2 brings efficiencies of between 30-50 per cent in its use of spectrum compared to DVB-T and is expected to be a key enabler to the roll out of high definition TV in the UK over Freeview.

Earlier this month, the BBC succesfully received high def pictures compliant to the DVB-T2 standard using a real-time demodulator during test transmissions.

As a set-top box developer, Pace has been involved in the creation of the DVB-T2 draft standard, focusing on key technical aspects that add to the improvement and robustness of the standard, which was only confirmed in June this year.

Darren Fawcett, chief technologist for Wireless Systems at Pace plc said the take up of high definition services within mature TV markets was picking up speed.

He said it was expected to grow substantially over the next five years. “But this HD content is currently in the cable and satellite domains,” he said.

“To enable terrestrial services to compete effectively with the other platforms, DVB-T2 is an essential move.

“As we saw with the shift to the DVB-S2 standard for satellite services, the extra efficiencies in the use of the spectrum will make the option of delivering HD via DTT viable.”

With DVB-T2 the DVB Project offers broadcasters a means of using that spectrum in the most efficient ways possible using state of the art technology.

The first country to deploy DVB-T2 is likely to be the UK, where ASO is already under way.

The regulator there, Ofcom, has stated its intention to convert one nationwide multiplex to DVB-T2 with the first transmissions of multichannel HDTV set to begin at the end of 2009.

Test transmissions began immediately after the approval of the standard in June 2008.

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