Television in Top Quality

Sep 04, 2006
Television in Top Quality
The video converter HiCon is a kind of “translator” which converts films from one standard into another, with as little loss of quality as possible. © Fraunhofer HHI

Whether you are at home or on the move new technologies are bringing TV in good quality on the “small screen”. Fraunhofer researchers will be presenting various systems at the International Broadcast Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam (September 8-12, 2006).

Crystal clear pictures and vivid colours, High Definition TV (HDTV) brings television in the highest quality into the living room. HDTV pictures are composed of pixels arranged in up to 1920 columns and 1080 rows achieving a resolution which is five times higher than conventional TV images. For comparison, the European PAL standard has a resolution of only 720 x 576 pixels.

However, high definition television is only economically viable when the data to be transmitted and stored is highly compressed. This can, for example, be achieved with MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding), the basic principles of which were developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut HHI. On the basis of this technology, engineers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS have brought about the first software-based encoder which can compress HD material in real time and in good quality – a process that was previously only possible with special hardware. A video format converter is necessary to reproduce television from the USA, which has been recorded using the American ATSC standard, on HDTV devices in Europe. This is a kind of “translator” which converts films from one standard into another with as little loss of quality as possible. To this end, researchers at the HHI have developed the HiCon multifunctional video converter. With this device, video and graphics signals can be transformed into a multitude of multimedia formats, including all of the standard digital broadcasting formats such as ATSC in America, DVB in Europe and ARIB in Japan.

Good quality sound is also an indispensable part of a perfect home-cinema evening. MPEG Surround, substantially developed by researchers at the IIS, ensures that you get authentic cinema sound in the living room. MPEG Surround combined with MPEG-4 High Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding (HE-AAC) enables a surround sound experience at 48 kbit/s. In addition, MPEG Surround is not only completely backwards compatible with mono and stereo devices, but can also be combined with the most popular broadcasting formats.

In times of increasing mobility, TV is becoming mobile as well. Digital Video Broadcasting for Handheld (DVB-H) is a new transmission method which offers multimedia reception on a mobile phone or PDA. It employs the transmission technology of digital terrestrial TV (Digital Video Broadcasting Terrestrial, DVB-T). Sharp images and good sound are ensured by the most efficient MPEG-4 audio and video encoding processes: High Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding (HE-AAC) and Advanced Video Coding (AVC). IIS engineers have developed new software components for DVB-H which are available either as stand-alone versions or as a complete media player package. The software can be used on a variety of platforms, whether Linux, Windows or Mac. A system to ensure the secure transmission of media content (ISMACryp) has also been integrated to protect the content from misuse.

DVB-H is, however, not the only technical standard for TV on mobile phones: in Asia, for example, the most widespread standard is Digital Media Broadcasting (DMB). But also Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (MBMS) makes TV images mobile. In the DXB project, which is being coordinated by the HHI, researchers from the HHI, the Institut für Rundfunktechnik IRT, Siemens, Sony, T-Systems and Vodafone have made a start at harmonising the different systems currently in use. Internet Protocol (IP) is at the heart of their efforts. “The result is an extension of the transmission standards of DAB, or extended DAB,” explains Dr. Ralf Schäfer from the HHI. “eDAB has a lot in common with both DVB-H and MBMS.”

Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Explore further: Lockheed Martin advances live, virtual, constructive training in flight test

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US judge fines HP $59 mn for bribing Russian officials

52 minutes ago

A judge on Thursday ordered US computer giant Hewlett-Packard to pay $58.8 million for bribing Russian government officials to win a big-money contract with the prosecutor general's office in that nation.

Solar storm heads Earth's way after double sun blasts

1 hour ago

Two big explosions on the surface of the sun will cause a moderate to strong geomagnetic storm on Earth in the coming days, possibly disrupting radio and satellite communications, scientists said Thursday.

US threatened Yahoo with huge fine over surveillance

2 hours ago

US authorities threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day if it failed to comply with a secret surveillance program requiring it to hand over user data in the name of national security, court documents showed ...

Microbes evolve faster than ocean can disperse them

2 hours ago

Two Northeastern University researchers and their international colleagues have created an advanced model aimed at exploring the role of neutral evolution in the biogeographic distribution of ocean microbes.

Recommended for you

Reducing traffic congestion, remotely

11 hours ago

At the Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress last week, MIT researchers received one of the best-paper awards for a new system, dubbed RoadRunner, that uses GPS-style turn-by-turn directions to ...

How to print your own cell phone microscope for pennies

11 hours ago

At one o'clock in the morning, layers of warm plastic are deposited on the platform of the 3D printer that sits on scientist Rebecca Erikson's desk. A small plastic housing, designed to fit over the end of ...

A spray-on light show on four wheels: Darkside Scientific

Sep 14, 2014

Darkside Scientific recently drew a lot of gazes its way in its video release of a car treated to the company's electroluminescent paint called LumiLor. Electroluminescence (EL) is a characteristic of a material ...

User comments : 0