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Advanced MPEG-4 trial for Winter Games

16 February 2006

Interactive TV supplier Advanced Digital Broadcast is participating in a public broadcast pilot by RAI (www.rai.it) to provide live high definition television coverage of the Winter Olympic Games, writes Fergal Ringrose.

Following RAI’s first HDTV MPEG-2 based experiment during the Italia ’90 Football World Cup, this new initiative sees HDTV distributed using MPEG-4 encoding, to ADB set-top boxes located in various public locations throughout the City of Turin and the Olympic Mountain. Comteck Video Enterprise, Panasonic and Tandberg are also supplying technology to this demonstration.

Dr. Alberto Morello, Director of the Centre for Research and Technical Innovation at RAI commented, "This is a great opportunity to demonstrate RAI’s ability to embrace new technology in this world-first coverage of Winter Olympic Events in MPEG-4 high definition format. We look forward to the future launch of commercial MPEG-4 based HDTV services throughout Italy."

Pictures are encrypted and distributed to MPEG-4 enabled set-top boxes, required to access the demonstration, on RAI’s digital terrestrial television network and Eutelsat’s satellite system. People are able to watch the action in crystal-clear pictures at many public viewing locations throughout Turin including the central station, council offices, a number of hotels and at RAI’s own production facility.

The pilot uses ADB’s 6800STX digital set-top boxes incorporating DVB-T and DVB-S2 tuners and MGEG-4/AVC decoding for the reception of high-bandwidth HDTV services. Equipped with ST Microelectronics’ (www.st.com) STi7100 chipset, ADBs x800 series units will be shipped to ADB customers in the first half of 2006.

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