Terrestrial HDTV at Turin Olympics

10 February 2006

DVB members ADB and RAI announced today that they will cooperate in a public broadcast pilot to provide live high-definition television (HDTV) coverage of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, Torino, Italy. Following RAI’s first HDTV MPEG2 based experiment, during the Italia ’90 Football World Cup, this new initiative will see HDTV distributed using MPEG4 encoding, to set-top boxes located in various public locations throughout the City of Turin and the Olympic Mountain.

Dr. Alberto Morello, Director of the Centre for Research and Technical Innovation at RAI commented, ‘This is a great opportunity to demonstrate RAI’s ability to embrace new technology in this world-first coverage of Winter Olympic Events in MPEG4 high-definition format’. Dr Morello added, ‘We look forward to the future launch of commercial MPEG4 based HDTV services throughout Italy’.

This initiative will see RAI utilise the latest Advanced Video Coding (AVC) techniques to meet the higher bandwidth requirements of HDTV. Pictures will be encrypted and distributed to MPEG4 enabled set-top boxes, required to access the demonstration, on RAI’s digital terrestrial television network and Eutelsat’s satellite system. People will be able to watch the action in crystal-clear pictures at many public viewing locations throughout Turin including the central station, council offices, a number of hotels and at RAI’s own production facility.

The pilot will use ADB’s 6800STX digital set-top boxes incorporating DVB-T and DVB-S2 tuners and MGEG4/AVC decoding for the reception of high-bandwidth HDTV services. ST, Comteck Video Enterprise, Panasonic and Tandberg will also supply technology for the demonstration.