First DTH service using DVB-S2X launched

Kiwisat, an operator based on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, has launched the world’s first DTH pay TV service that uses DVB-S2X. Using the SES-10 satellite and HEVC video coding, the service offer includes 130 programmes of which 90 are HD.

When published in 2014, the DVB-S2X specification was quickly embraced by providers of professional satellite equipment. It is already widely used in several B2B contexts including cellular backhaul by mobile operators, primary distribution to DVB-T2 transmission sites and maritime networks for cruise ships. The new Kiwisat service is the first DTH and B2C service that we are aware of using the specification. Kiwisat is using a DVB-S2X modulator from DVB Member WORK Microwave.

S2X benefits

DVB-S2X extended DVB-S2 with new features offering improved performance. It supports significantly improved spectral efficiency for the carrier to noise ratios typical of professional applications such as contribution links or IP-trunking. It also supports very low C/N, down to -10 dB, for mobile applications (e.g. maritime, aeronautical, trains, etc.).

While the need for a new receiver means that wide use of DVB-S2X in consumer applications is likely to come more slowly, the rollout of UHD services in the years ahead will be a driver to increase the availability of receivers. The necessary system-on-chip (SoC) implementations are already available. Channel bonding of up to three transponders, another of the features included in DVB-S2X, results in an overall data rate sufficiently high to allow statistical multiplexing for UHD services.

Patent pool

In accordance with its IPR policy, DVB has fostered the creation of a patent pool for DVB-S2X. Administered by Sisvel, the pool is currently in formation. It is anticipated that the existence of a such a patent pool should bring welcome clarity for those who implement the specification.


Photo: Launch of the SES-10 satellite on the SpaceX Falcon 9, March 2018