Like most of the MyBroadBand members, I am a gadget person. Not so much in the form of cellphones or an Ipad or a BlackBerry – I class those as serious appliances way beyond the concept of a gadget. When Multichoice Mobile launched their R599 Drifta TV decoder I thought “Here is a neat gadget to play with during the holiday period.”
Wrong! It is much more than just a gadget; it is a serious mobile TV decoder.
I must admit that I have always been of the opinion that the concept of mobile TV is crazy. Who wants to watch TV on a small screen?
I do now. It is great to log onto the news channel and have it sitting at the bottom of a notebook screen. At home I have it running on a larger LCD monitor. The greatest thing is that it does not chew up the bandwidth for which I still have to fork out a considerable amount each month. There are the sport channels too – it is great to watch cricket while working away on the keyboard.
For the technocrats, Multichoice has done a great job in picking the right technology to deliver a good signal over a wide geographical area. My mobile TV signal using Drifta, with its small telescopic antenna, is better than the terrestrial SABC TV signals.
DStv Mobile deployed a network of synchronized transmitter stations all radiating identical signals on the same frequency. In a single frequency network (SFN) the Drifta receiver gets signals from the various transmitters located at high sites in the coverage area. Under normal circumstances these signals would interfere with each other as they arrive at different times at the receiver because of propagation path delays.
By utilising clocked transmissions and Time- and Frequency Synchronisation as well as the provision of a Guard Interval, signals that arrive within the guard interval are considered as constructive and add to the received signal strength. Signals outside the guard interval are discarded.
It can be likened to diversity reception used with shortwave services. Receive antennas were spaced a short distance apart to reduce fading and to ensure a better reception. The diversity principal was used at the Olifantsfontein radio station which in the early days provided telephony to overseas locations long before satellites and submarine cables were a reality.
The DVB-H Mobile TV technology is not to be confused with the recently launched DStv Mobile streaming service that utilises the mobile network operators’ 3G networks. The independent Mobile TV broadcast network allows users unlimited access to the channels available on the service without the payment of data charges.
DStv Mobile can be accessed on a DVB-H enabled cellphone or via Drifta. The DVB-H enabled cellphones currently available in the South African market are the Nokia 5330, Nokia N96 and ZTE F900. Drifta, receives the DStv Mobile broadcast signal and relays it over WiFi to a range of WiFi-capable laptops, PCs, tablets and smartphones.
Network coverage is available in the major centres of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto, CapeTown, Port Elizabeth, Polokwane, Mbombela, Rustenburg, Bloemfontein and Durban.
The frequency spectrum allocated to mobile broadcasting currently enables 15 channels via DVB-H technology. This spectrum was licensed to both MultiChoice (60%) and e.tv (40%) who will be offering pay and free-to-air services respectively.
The channel line-up on the DStv Mobile bouquet will initially include a selection of SuperSport channels (1, 2, 3 and Blitz), Africa Magic, Cartoon Network, Trace and a DStv Events Channel. The e.Mobile bouquet contains the eNews channel and Channel O. More channels on both services are expected to be announced soon.
What I like most about it is that we can play with if for free during the trial period. From 1 April 2011 the DStv Mobile bouquet will cost subscribers R36 per month. MultiChoice is also looking at some combo packages with their DStv offerings.
The pleasant surprise of mobile TV << Comments and views