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New MHEG-based Emergency Warning Broadcast System

20 June 2011
New MHEG-based Emergency Warning Broadcast System

The recent catastrophic events in Japan have highlighted the value of EWBS (Emergency Warning Broadcast System), says Strategy & Technology (S&T), which will demonstrate how MHEG middleware can be used to implement EWBS solutions.

The ABU Technical Committee issued a declaration in 2010 supporting the introduction of EBWS and the ABU General Assembly has also declared that “as a matter of urgency, ABU members consider the introduction of such EWBS systems.”

The launch of new broadcast digital TV platforms in Asia Pacific provides the opportunity to implement EWBS on broadcast TV at low cost using industry-standard technology. It is expected that other forms of EWBS will also be deployed to achieve multiple alert mechanisms.

When an alert is triggered, the MHEG EWBS implementation provides immediate interruption of normal TV programming, with an audio alert and the display of both text and graphical information. Easy navigation to news or information services can also be included. The alert trigger will typically be initiated from the national coordination centre via links to the broadcaster’s head-end. Alerts could also be delivered to specific broadcast transmitters.

MHEG-5 offers an EWBS implementation using an established standard. The advantages of this approach are many and include MHEG’s low technology cost, no IPR license fees, and a short time to market as MHEG is already included in most manufacturers’ receiver designs. In addition, the receiver conformance test for MHEG is said to be straightforward and simple for broadcasters to implement using standard head-end equipment.

Colin Prior, director of international sales at S&T, commented: “The use of market-proven MHEG technology to implement EWBS offers broadcasters the ability to provide this vital service at very small incremental cost when deploying digital TV networks.”

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