As we settle into the new year, let’s take a moment to review the 2013 Digital Readiness Campaign to make sure your organisation is aware and ready for what the government has planned for our industry with the digital switchover.
The digital dividend is the term used to describe the re-allocation of radio frequencies within the 700MHz band, as a result of the switch off of analog television. This combined with the reallocation of licenses for ENG (Electronic News Gathering) equipment in the 2.5Ghz band, is being implemented by the government to accommodate the growth in wireless broadband technology. This is happening around the globe but is happening in Australia in the near term. This process is due to be complete by the end of 2014, with many elements phased in progressively from 2012/13. The auction for these newly cleared frequencies is slated for April 2013. Please visit the DBCDE or ACMA website for more information.
There are a few main areas where this will affect AV systems.
TV Channel Re-stacking
Analogue TV broadcasts will cease in Adelaide and Perth in April, Brisbane in May, Melbourne and Sydney in December. Only digital broadcasting will remain by the end of 2013. In fact much of Australia is already in the digital TV domain which began switchover from 2010. Digital tuners are required for accessing free-to-air tv channels. Once the analog switch off is complete, the second step in the digital dividend process is the restacking of the digital channels operating on 52 – 69 by shifting them to 51 or below.
CHECK POINT 1: The building Master Antenna system or MATV head end should be checked to ensure compatibility with digital signals, as should any televisions or TV tuners throughout your building. Any programs generated or regenerated at your head end should be shifted to Ch 51 or below.
Rutledge AV employs or engages antenna installers who have been endorsed under the Australian Government’s Antenna Installer Endorsement Scheme. For more information about upgrading your antenna for digital TV, ask us.
Current frequency bands are being re-allocated and therefore any new units will need to operate in the appropriate band. More information is available on the ACMA website.
CHECK POINT 2: Any microphone system above 694MHz will not be able to be used (or be legal to use!). All wireless microphones will need to operate solely in the 520MHz to 694MHz band outside of TV stations’ allocated frequencies.
Some older RF remote controls or touch panels may be affected.
CHECK POINT 3: Any RF remote controls or touch panels may not work as required, or may not be legal to use. If you are unsure or would like your systems to be audited please get in contact with any of our offices.
'The Analogue Sunset' - What Does It Really Mean?
The Analogue Sunset is a general term used to describe the replacement of legacy analogue video with digital video formats. In most ways this is a natural progression to accommodate new resolutions and other features. And thus in the near future all signals will have migrated to a digital format.
However the Analogue Sunset also refers to a binding agreement taken up by device manufacturers and some content owners. This is due to ability of digital formats to provide encryption and digital rights management (DRM). All devices playing back protected content must be output via a compliant digital signal or only via analogue on extremely low resolutions such composite video, S-video, 480i component video, and 576i video. And by the end of 2013 there will no high resolution analogue outputs available. In addition to the more obvious devices such as Blu-ray players and Foxtel, PC and laptop manufacturers for the most part will no longer provide analogue outputs on their devices.
This means that the presentation infrastructure in the majority of corporate environments, which are based on CV, YC, YUV, RGBHV, or VGA (HD15) connections will become redundant. Of course in the short term venues must cater for both technologies as presenters will come with both legacy analogue and digital format presentations. The best path forward at this time is to provide a hybrid system allowing analogue content to be scaled into the digital domain. A digital backbone is required as it is not legal to strip the digital rights management and scale the digital signal back to analogue.
Examples of analogue and digital connectors
Composite Video (BNC, RCA)
S-Video, YV (4-pin din)
Component Video YUV (BNC)
RGBHV, RBGS, RGB (BNC)