DIPOL Weekly Review - TV and SAT TV, CCTV, WLAN

No. 20/2008 (May 26, 2008)
Trends in television in Olympic year - Anga 2008. The next Anga Cable in Cologne is taking place from May 27 to 29, 2008. This exhibition and conference is dedicated to cable television, broadband networks, and satellite broadcasting. There will be 369 exhibitors from 28 countries. The organizers are expecting about 10 000 visitors.
ANGA Cable has become the most important trade exhibition of TV technology and related areas in Europe.

Great sporting events are very important for television market - they generate demand for new services, can be a breakthrough in introducing new technologies to the public.
This year the technology that has a chance for popularization due to sports transmissions is HDTV.
The first step was free HDTV transmissions on the British Freesat platform, which began in May. It has created demand for suitable receivers, adaptation of existing antenna systems to new requirements, multiswitch installations.
On the one hand it seems that there is a market opportunity for DVB-T receivers with MPEG-4 decoders. Practically all European countries plan to introduce the system enabling terrestrial HD transmissions. On the other hand, only several countries have adopted this standard, so the manufacturers cannot take advantage of mass production.

Last year Motorola presented a system delivering cable TV signals to households directly via optic fiber - fiber to the home - FTTH. Such networks will solve the problem of limited capacity of existing cable systems.

Don't hide CCTV cameras away. The camera seen in the picture below is placed on one of the most famous buildings in the world. Every day it is noticed by thousands of tourists. The designer has arranged it this way on purpose, additionally exhibiting the detail by its color that strongly differs from the facade.
The camera operates in the country where CCTV installations have a long tradition, so the experience of the designers and installers cannot be ignored.
To tell the truth, the basic function of a CCTV system is not recording of the events, but being a deterrent against potential offenders. They should be aware that their actions can be observed and recorded - the visible cameras do not allow them to forget about the eye of the big brother.
The camera seen in the picture is placed on one of the most famous buildings in the world. Where is it? - The answer you can find at the end of this issue.
Euro 2008 on satellite platforms. The most pleasant surprise for the soccer fans (unfortunately only those in Great Britain) is being prepared by the new Freesat platform that announces free HD transmissions. Because of directional beam, reception of the broadcasts in Central and Eastern Europe will require suitably larger satellite dishes. Additionally, the transmissions will be protected against receiving with typical FTA equipment (hardware protection). But the opinions in discussion forums say that these problems can be overcome.
German ZDF and ARD stations will transmit all Euro 2008 matches (the transmissions will be divided between the two broadcasters).
To receive ARD and ZDF programs the fan should buy any satellite receiver, and get access to the signal from Astra satellite.
TV schedules (for ZDF and ARD) are available on ZDF website.
In Poland, HD transmissions will be available on Polsat platform (digital satellite pay TV).

Satellite IF amplifier. Small multiswich systems usually do not require using an amplifier between QUATRO LNB and the multiswitch. But in the case of longer distances (80m or more) attenuation of the cable reaches 25 or more decibels. The total attenuation of the path is even larger (attenuation of the outlet, connectors, multiswitch). In the effect - the input signal at the RF input of the receiver is below 45 dBuV, which is unacceptable because of technical reasons.
The problem can be solved by using AI-414 amplifier. The amplifier should be placed between the multiswitch and the receiver. It amplifies both satellite and terrestrial signals, and passes control signals to the multiswitch.
SAT/TV Apartment Amplifier AI-414  (1-input, 4-output, DC path) - ALCAD
AI-414 R904075 amplifier for using with multiswitches
Megapixel lenses. The key issue in CCTV systems is resolution of the images. This parameter is directly determined by the resolution of the cameras. Megapixel cameras create new quality standards - their images can be digitally enlarged still meeting quality expectations. One-megapixel camera (1Mpix - 1,000,000 pixels) provides over twice the pixels than standard PAL camera (704 x 576 = 405 504 pixels). 5Mpix cameras offer 2592 x 1944 resolution (12.5 times more pixels than PAL and 2.5 times more than HDTV images).
So high resolutions of the sensors require using adequate lenses. Low-quality lenses would spoil the resultant images.
For megapixel cameras there are used specially marked "megapixel" lenses. These high quality lenses exhibit substantially reduced geometric distortions and lower deformation of light waves passing through their optical lenses. The deformation is described by MTF parameter - Modulation Transfer Function. This parameter is essential for sharpness of the images, deciding on the identification capability of megapixel CCTV systems. Choosing a lens one has to take into consideration its exact specification for the specific group of megapixel cameras (e.g. up to 2Mpix etc).
We offer a megapixel lens (4-8 mm, F1.4) - M2233.

Production of high quality lenses is still a technological challenge. The best lenses have been manufactured by German and Swedish companies, but now the elite club is also open for Japanese producers. The picture below shows parts of the lens from Japanese company Spacecom.
Trends in IP video transmission. The main problems in transmission of video data is size of the files and sensitivity of video streams to time delays. Currently and in the foreseeable future, H.264 algorithms ensure the best results - the lowest bandwidth and disc space requirements, the shortest download time. The parameters are about 30% better than in the case of MPEG-4 ASP compression. The newest codec is used by the most technologically advanced companies using mainly Texas Instruments platform (DaVinci).
Market research shows that in 2011 H.264 will catch up with MPEG-4 and then become the undisputed leader.
The tendencies were the subject of ACTi lecture at IFSEC in Birmingham.
Download time for different compressions
Predictions for the future - the market share of the three compressions used in CCTV systems
Video server ULTINET-701 H.264. ULTINET-701 K2140 has been launched just recently. The server belongs to the newest generation of IP devices based on H.264 codec. The bandwidth needed for transmitting video data stream is considerably lower than in the case of MPEG-4 ASP compression, with the same image parameters (4CIF at 25 fps - PAL).
The server can be configured via Internet browser or with the included ULTIMAX Client software package. The software can be also used for control of analog PTZ cameras and for cooperation with other devices from ULTISYSTEM family - ULTIMAX DVRs, ULTICAM IP cameras, ULTINET video servers..
Video Server: ULTINET-701 (H.264)
The ULTINET-701 K2140 video server
Operational requirements for CCTV systems - part 2. The next important issue in design process (after defining the optimum resolution) is archiving of the video data. One has to define the scope of interest and determine the technical requirements for this purpose:
  • the archiving system has to be physically protected against unauthorized access,
  • the system has to be equipped with electronic protection (passwords) that allows for configuration and access to the archives,
  • the system must ensure continuous operation - there is needed an Uninterruptible Power Supply,
  • the capacity of storage media has to be adequate to the required time of data preservation.
New firmware for Aphelion devices - more functions and better stability. Trunk networks using unlicensed bands usually utilize IEEE802.11a devices operating in 5GHz band.
Aphelion is a family of wireless devices suitable for professional purposes: 500AG N2411 (one transceiver), 600AG N2412 (two transceivers), and 3300AG N2413 (three transceivers).
The devices use unlicensed 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands (no additional requirements for practical implementations) and can be employed as independent access points for any client devices.
The newest software version marked V0_992 features additional functions. One of them is possibility of isolating wireless clients.
Another new functionality is limitation of the maximum number of clients capable of connecting to access point, saving accepted operational parameters of the WLAN.
The new firmware can be downloaded from our download section.
Access Point: Aphelion 500AG
Access Point: Aphelion 600AG (two transceivers)
Access Point: Aphelion 3300AG (3 transceivers)
Aphelion 500AG (one transceiver) - N2411
Aphelion 600AG (two transceivers) - N2412
Aphelion 3300AG (three tranceivers) - N2413
The main changes in the new firmware:
  • improved functionality of Bandwidth Control,
  • more efficient and stable TRUNK connections,
  • possibility of isolating wireless clients (option available via command line - menu 45),
  • limitation of the maximum number of clients capable of connecting to access point,
  • new options in SNMP protocol (e.g. possibility of exporting to MIB file),
  • new functions of command line.
A full description of the changes in the firmware is available here.
SAT KRAK 2008 exhibition. SAT KRAK exhibition of digital television will take place in Krakow from October 16th to 18th, 2008. Poland is one of the biggest satellite and digital television markets in Europe. The organizers want to make this event the biggest trade fair in Eastern Europe. You can find more information on the event at SAT KRAK.
CCTV camera on Parliament Building in London. Great Britain is a leader in using CCTV systems in protection of buildings and cities. Cameras are exposed to the public and have priority even over aesthetics of historical buildings. Additionally there are deployed numerous boards informing on CCTV monitoring. More on video surveillance systems in London in Surveillance of London.
National Gallery in London - another example of open surveillance
We have written about:

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