Adtec Digital’s 32APSK Scores with Sports Networks

Adtec Digital’s EN-81 encoder/modulator and RD-60 decoder for 32APSK (Amplitude and Phase-Shift Keying) modulation are providing companies up to 30% more data throughput utilizing the same satellite bandwidth as the established 8PSK MODCOD method, while delivering a better quality picture.

In partnership with Adtec Digital, Toronto-based TV2Go, a satellite transmission company for international broadcasters, has been testing 32APSK for the past year, along with such companies as TNT and Encompass in the US;  UK-based IMG Media, the world’s largest independent producer and distributor of sports programming; and global television network Sky Broadcaster.

One of the most significant tests came during the 2010 professional football season when TV2Go and IMG Media successfully sent a 32APSK modulation test across the Atlantic for International Distribution with a data rate of 30 megabits per second (Mbps) using a 9 megahertz (MHz) carrier.

32APSK is a digital modulation scheme that conveys data by changing, or modulating, both the amplitude and phase of the carrier wave. In combination with digital television broadcast standard DVB-S2, specification permits the use of 16APSK and 32APSK modes, allowing 16 and 32 different symbols respectively or 16 or 32 nodules of energy.

“32APSK technology is needed because of the limited capacity of bandwidth on satellites,” explains Adrian Hepes, technical director at TV2Go.

Satellites have 500 MHz of bandwidth with each bandwidth divided into 36 MHz transponders.  Each transponder can be divided into a multiple of three MHz slots, each with a monetary value attached.

“Adtec focuses on innovation and value,” says Kevin Ancelin, senior vice president of sales for Adtec Digital. “The combination of our high performance AVC 4:2:2 video, sixteen channels of perfectly phase aligned audio and 32APSK all converge to deliver unparalleled contribution quality and reliability for Satellite based services.”

IMG Media also understands how 32APSK can help its company and its customers.  “32APSK fits the needs we have,” says Richard Bagnall, head of live operations at IMG Media. “Satellite space is premium. Especially for us in the sports industry, where most sports kick off on a Saturday afternoon across Europe, we are competing for the same space with a number of suppliers and broadcasting. We would effectively satisfy the need for content that is high quality delivered at a bandwidth that is economically viable. We would be able to supply a high video bit rate and multiple audio channels.”

Currently, IMG Media has three RD60s and hopes to get more soon.  “One of the exciting things is [a RD60] allows all 16 channels of audio to be decoded off the transport stream,” said Bagnall. “We’re very happy with them.”

“They are not complacent,” says Susanna Mantello, president and owner of Sm2 Sports Media Solutions, a satellite delivery company for broadcasters that delivers globally for the NFL, of Adtec Digital. “They are always looking at the next best thing, as well as working with industry professionals to find out their needs,” she adds.

Sm2 Sports Media Solutions leases 18 megahertz of bandwidth on the NSS-7 satellite to deliver North American sports events in high definition to Europe. IMG Media is one of their receiving partners. “It is extremely exciting to be able to deliver about 30% more bit rates per second on our current transmissions.”