DVB-I capabilities tested in proof of concept at Ireland’s RTÉ

In developing a future strategy for its popular DTT (digital terrestrial television) platform, Saorview, Ireland’s national broadcaster RTÉ decided to test the capabilities of DVB-I. With customers increasingly expressing a wish to view Saorview content on smartphones, tablets and laptops, DVB-I was an obvious candidate to explore. A proof of concept (PoC) allowed RTÉ to test several features that would allow the broadcaster to extend the Saorview offer to all connected devices.

Speaking during a recent EBU webinar on DVB-I, Saorview’s business development manager Jim Higgins said the need to ensure they can continue to reach audiences was an important driver for the PoC, as well as the wish to leverage increased IP-based content distribution and also general pressures on UHF spectrum that may have longer-term implications for DTT platforms.

RTÉ Player directly in EPG

RTÉ used the reference application created for the DVB Project by Sofia Digital to create the PoC. The electronic programme guide (EPG) included linear television and radio services delivered over terrestrial (DVB-T) broadcast and over broadband IP. The RTÉ Player, the station’s catch-up and on-demand platform, was given its own spot in the EPG, which would allow viewers to jump straight to the player without leaving the EPG.

Screenshot of the PoC service list combining broadcast and IP services

The PoC allowed RTÉ to confirm that DVB-I has many strengths including:

  • enabling a familiar EPG interface;
  • being an open technical standard;
  • providing a migration path to a hybrid DTT/IP future;
  • support for public media service prominence;
  • and the fact that DVB-I integrates with and complements HbbTV.

Alongside plans to enhance the PoC with further DVB-I features, including a catch-up TV guide, restart functions, and DRM features, RTÉ is carefully following developments in the trials under way in Germany and Italy with a view to potentially launching its own trial in due course.

“We need locally to engage with our department and regulators,” said Jim Higgins during the EBU webinar, “and, in the fullness of time, we are considering the launch of a small-scale pilot, to move beyond where we are now, which is a proof of concept, and to add some actual interaction with people who would test the service for us and report back.”

Find more information on the RTÉ/Saorview DVB-I Proof of Concept on the DVB-I website.