DVB-S2X Garners Market Momentum

Almost immediately following the approval of DVB-S2X by the DVB Steering Board last February, all relevant providers of professional satellite transmit and receive equipment announced their support for the new specification. DVB-S2X is an extension of the DVB-S2 specification that provides additional technologies and features. S2X offers improved performance and features for the core applications of DVB-S2, including Direct to Home (DTH), contribution, VSAT and DSNG.

Alberto Morello, Chairman DVB TM-S2, Director Rai R&D

Newtec has announced that their 6000 series products (modulators, demodulators) are all software upgradeable to S2X. Customers have been able to order DVB-S2X equipment since NAB2014, and product shipments are expected this month. The company reports that they have two customers integrating the new modem board (72 MH capable, and integrating DVB-CID functionalities), with video codecs for SNG infrastructure. The modems will be software upgradeable to DVB-S2X in September 2014. Also, they have been approached by almost all video infrastructure providers to build an IRD DVB-S2X front-end, especially to increase efficiency in primary content distribution networks to head-ends and towers.

In a press release, Novelsat stated that “it is committed to supporting all standards including the DVB-S2X standard”.

Ericsson’s view on DVB-S2X is that adoption of this standard has certain similarities with the launch of DVB-S2 ten years ago. They believe that “at the launch of DVB-S2 there were good proprietary systems in existence but the video broadcast industry quickly realized the benefits of an open standard (DVB-S2) with good performance to be a significantly stronger proposition. Fast-forward to 2014 and again there are good proprietary systems in existence and the video broadcast industry is again showing much interest in the up-coming standards-based DVB-S2X.”

Today, Ericsson is seeing significant interest in DVB-S2X for professional video applications: “the efficiencies that DVB-S2X offers Contribution and Distribution operators are tangible: these operators have a high degree of control, if not direct ownership, of both transmission and reception equipment and because the benefits can be realized in monetary terms, a strong justification can be made to migrate to DVB-S2X”. Therefore, Ericsson has already announced it will be fulfilling this need with professional broadcast equipment, such as the M6100 Broadcast Satellite Modulator, AVP3000 Voyager and RX8200 Advanced Modular Receiver.

Work Microwave plans to implement DVB-S2X for both their Broadcast Modulator SDM2, and professional IP Modem, SK-IP. The company will also introduce DVB-S2X products at IBC in September. These two device families make use of the broadcast profile and the professional profile.

Comtech EF Data have said “Our commitment to the broadcast community is to offer the products in a timeline that makes sense with the overall community.  We have indicated to our customers that we will support DVB-S2X and we will do this in conjunction with the availability of consumer and commercial IRDs”.

Appear TV has said: “As a provider of DVB equipment to the professional market, we can confirm that we are developing technology for our products that enables S2X for both the modulation and demodulation domain. Firm dates of launch have not yet been set, but we will probably aim for late 2014 or early 2015.”

DekTec has a full implementation of DVB-S2X available now for its test modulator DTA-2115. It has in development an L-Band receiver card for PCI Express with support for DVB-S2X. This card is expected to be available in the market by the end of this year.

DVB-S2X has been introduced at the same time as the new efficient HEVC video coding scheme. It is expected that new satellite receivers will combine these two technologies to make the delivery of HD and especially UHD services more efficient.

The consumer silicon manufacturers are already setting their strategy for the implementation of ICs. AltoBeam, a leading demodulator chip supplier, has revealed that it is fully committed to S2X and the chip supporting S2X will be available early next year.

Creonic, an IP core provider that licenses the chip design to ASIC and FPGA implementers is currently working on an S2X design. They confirmed that the FEC part is ready and are now putting their efforts into the demodulator. They also note that with great interest in S2X, “some people are afraid that their competitors will support it and so they too will decide to implement it in order not to lose market share in the future”.

Other silicon manufacturers such as ST-Microelectronics, Broadcom and Sony are monitoring the market development. Broadcom says “we are evaluating the S2X requirements. We will then put a plan together when we have identified the features required”. Sony is taking a similar position:“we are currently engaged with several satellite operators and broadcasters to determine their requirements and their timing for the use of S2X for the DTH market. As this process is still ongoing we have not yet defined the specification or schedule for our DVB-S/S2/S2X IC development. We should be in a position to make further comments towards the end of 2014”.

Commenting on the DTH market, Ericsson states the following: “compared to the launch of DVB-S2, satellite DTH is different this time around. Because of the millions of STBs already deployed across DTH platforms, any change to the STB is incredibly costly for the DTH platform owner. Even rolling out an additional tier of STB is costly. There has to be a very strong consumer pull to justify a STB technology change. Last time around, this consumer pull factor was, for many operators, the launch of HD services. This pull was timed with the launch of DVB-S2. Ericsson expects a second wave of interest in DVB-S2X when UHDTV becomes a consumer pull factor – combining the technologies of DVB-S2, HEVC and audio enhancements, but at the moment the complete UHDTV content chain is not mature enough for commercial DTH deployment. This second wave, linked to consumer DTH deployments, is likely to delay professional deployments but when the time comes DVB-S2X will undoubtedly be a key technology.”

Long-time DVB contributor Teamcast has strongly supported the development and specification of DVB-S2X and its Vyper Satellite Modulator supports multiple standards including DVB-S, S2, and S2X.

To learn more about how S2X works, please refer to the DVB-S2X specification, articles and Fact Sheet on the DVB-S2X page.