First DVB-T2 “Plug Fest” successfully completed

18 March 2009

The DVB-T2 Validation and Verification (V&V) group, coordinated by the Technical Module TM-T2 working group, completed a very successful Plug Fest at the RAI Research Centre in Turin last week. DVB-T2, currently available as DVB BlueBook A122r1, will be published as a formal standard by ETSI later this year.  The aim of the Plug Fest was to validate the DVB-T2 specification through the interoperability of independent hardware implementations – and this goal was certainly achieved.

In the Plug Fest there were 6 DVB-T2 Modulators (DekTec, Rhode&Schwarz, ENENSYS Technologies, TeamCast, BBC, SSBT) and 5 Demodulators (DekTec, SIDSA, Panasonic, Sony, BBC).  Interoperability was tested for several modes of the DVB-T2 specification.

For the seven ‘Ofcom’ modes, which are single-PLP modes to be tested in UK trials leading up to the UK launch at the end of 2009, virtually all of the modulators and demodulators were fully interoperable.  Tests were also done with more complex modes, such as those involving multiple PLPs, but not all equipment had yet implemented these modes.  Where these modes had been implemented, there was generally very good interoperability demonstrated.

RAI is currently transmitting test DVB-T2 signals from a tower 5km distant from the RAI Research Centre.  The test signals carry 4 HD streams in a single-PLP mode (256QAM, rate 3/4 FEC) at a total bit rate of 45Mbit/s.  These T2 transmissions were successfully received by four demodulators/receivers.

These successful interoperability trials represent a significant milestone in progress since the first DVB-T2 hardware demonstrations at IBC last September.  The participating companies have had to focus a considerable amount of effort in order to complete equipment in time for these tests.  Also, many companies have been contributing to the work of the Validation and Verification subgroup which has organised the Plug Fest.  Without the excellent initial V&V work of preparing very many test bitstreams, these tests could not have achieved a successful conclusion.  Also, RAI provided important facilities and highly professional and experienced support that enabled the tests to run smoothly.