DirecTV Expands Tandberg Relationship

DIRECTV is now using the latest Tandberg MPEG-4 AVC HD encoding solutions for its local high definition (HD) channel expansion. In early 2005 DIRECTV chose Tandberg Television’s first-to-market MPEG-4 AVC HD platform, and became the first North American satellite direct-to-home (DTH) provider to launch HD services.

“We continue to deliver on our goal of providing the best television experience, including the most extensive HD programming in America,” says Hanno Basse, Vice President of Broadcast Systems Engineering, for DIRECTV. “We started our HD MPEG-4 AVC journey with Tandberg Television and consequently, we were the first to market, quickly deploying ahead of our competitors. We are pleased to continue our association with Tandberg Television as we move into the next stage of HD expansion.”

Today, DIRECTV has one of the most comprehensive HD services in the world providing local HD channels to 100 local US markets, representing more than 83% of US TV households. DIRECTV plans to provide local HD broadcast channels in more than 121 cities, representing approximately 88 percent of U.S. TV households, by the end of 2008, and has chosen Tandberg Television’s MPEG-4 AVC encoding platform for the continued expansion.

DIRECTV is using the newly released EN8095 encoders, part of the EN8090 MPEG-4 AVC SD/HD encoding family. New features within the EN8095 include IP statistical multiplexing, 8VSB input and control of up to three different outputs (MPEG-4 AVC HD/SD and MPEG-2 SD). The encoders provide more bandwidth efficiency, the ability to capture and rebroadcast terrestrial HD channels and allow DIRECTV the ability to leverage existing operational efficiencies as well as support future requirements.

“We are extremely proud that our technology continues to play an important part in DIRECTV’s impressive MPEG-4 AVC HD roll-out. We strongly believe that HDTV is a key service differentiator and revenue generator for operators such as DIRECTV, and we are excited that the industry leading performance of our encoding solutions is enabling HD business models around the world,” said Eric Cooney, President of Tandberg Television. “Tandberg Television’s HDTV journey started over 10 years ago when we launched the world’s first MPEG-2 HD encoder, and continues today with DIRECTV’s deployment of the industry’s most advanced MPEG-4 AVC HD compression platform.”

EN8090 encoders enable operators to deliver HD and SD multi-channel and single channel MPEG-4 AVC services across cable, satellite, telco and terrestrial networks. The Tandberg encoders use a comprehensive tool-set of advanced compression video processing features, combined with new pre-processing techniques. The EN8090 encoding family pushes encoding efficiency to the highest levels of excellence, providing the ultimate in best quality pictures at the lowest bit rates. Advanced audio coding options provide equally impressive low bit rate audio performance.

In addition to selecting the EN8095 multiformat AVC encoders for its new local HD MPEG-4 AVC channel expansion project, DIRECTV utilizes several other systems by Tandberg Television including the WatchPoint Workflow System and Xport Producer content production solution.