Gerard FARIA Harris Broadcast Communication, France Fabio SCALISE ST Microelectronics, Italy ABSTRACT Interactive Digital TV services are considered nowadays as the key element to introduce digital TV services and to encourage customers to invest in new digital TV appliances. Some time ago, the Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) forum, which already produced a harmonised family of technical standards [1,2,3], decided to engage the work of defining return channels using the same medium than the broadcast “downstream” one. Thus, the cable and the satellite medium have been endowed with their dedicated return channel [4,5]. The last product of this work is called DVB-RCT (Return Channel Terrestrial) [6] and is intended to provide standard specification for interactivity in the UHF/VHF bands. Using the newly defined DVB-RCT standard as a companion of the world-wide proven, recognised and adopted Terrestrial DVB system [3], DVB-T is no longer limited to unidirectional broadcast, it can become a true Terrestrial Wireless Interactive system. The DVB-RCT technical subgroup performed a tremendous work to define the physical layer (RCT-PHY), the Medium Access Control layer (RCT-MAC) and the RF Implementation Guidelines. As a result, the DVB-RCT standard makes use of a Multiple Access OFDM arrangement, to constitute a high bandwidth Wireless Interactive Terrestrial Digital TV system. Officially approved by the DVB forum in April 2001, it will be soon published as an ETSI European standard (EN 301 958). Two European Research projects (WITNESS and IM4DTTV – Integrated Modem for Digital Terrestrial TV) have been set up to support the roll-out of DVB-RCT through extensive field trials and the design of an integrated VLSI solution for the user terminal. Thus, fast and costeffective integration of the DVB-RCT standard in the Terrestrial Digital TV set-top boxes are expected. Following a presentation of the DVB-RCT technical specifications, the two projects dealing with the future of the DVB-RCT standard are presented in this paper. INTRODUCTION Following the selection of the most efficient Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV) standard, the broadcasters are evaluating several business models able to ensure a successful deployment of the Digital Terrestrial TV system. Surveys have been conducted amongst ‘TV viewers’ to ascertain their vision and expectations of digital TV. If the increase of the available programmes (with a maximum of 30) constitutes a major will, the expectations for new services and new thematic programmes constitute the main requirements. Interactivity with new and stimulating content came out top, time and time again. It is now clear that the business model based on ‘Interactive Services’ is the most coherent in regard to the public expectations and therefore, it can provide additional revenues to the broadcasters. The DVB Consortium, aware of this preference, now provides Terrestrial broadcasters additional features in the DVB-T portfolio to implement such interactive services; thus opening a new era for the Terrestrial delivery platform. DVB-RCT constitutes that definitive asset. WHAT IS DVB-RCT? The transition from Analog to Digital broadcasting is today the main topic of interest in the area of TV industry; new standards have appeared for satellite (DVB-S) [1], for terrestrial (DVB-T) [2] and for cable (DVB-C) [3] broadcasting. Those standards are currently being implemented in various countries, not only in Europe, but also around the world. In parallel some new services are booming in interest among the users, e.g. e-mail and Internet and some others are seen as going to boom shortly, e.g. e-commerce and Tele-banking.

the new specifications are planned to become the EN 301 958 ETSI standard before the end of the year. the availability of a high bandwidth. implying data and commands exchange between the users & the Service Providers. as it has been specifically designed to process up to 20. this in each sector of each cell. the DVB-RCT technical subgroup issued the final DVB-RCT specifications for Approval in March 2001.g. up to 65kms radius. This is mostly true for Digital Terrestrial TV. to constitute denser networks of up to 3. low cost. high performance return channel is mandatory to achieve good success for Digital Terrestrial TV deployment. The DVB Technical Module and the DVB Steering Board have approved them in April 2001. internet) or new services having a strong & real-time relationship with the TV programmes (e. ON THE WAY TO INTERACTIVE TV Some new services and features have been recently offered to TV viewers. ! DVB-RCT can serve large cells. Tele-quiz. the DVB-RCT group decided to offer a flexible system.) a low latency. these large cells closely match the downstream coverage area of the Digital Television broadcast signal. ! DVB-RCT can be employed with smaller cells. able to match all the forecasted deployment scenarios of the Terrestrial Digital TV system. etc. In the light of the initial DVB commercial requirements for this new standard (especially the ones concerning the portable and even mobile receivers system suitability). IV and V without interfering with the primary analogue and digital broadcasting services. comparing to the existing analogue one. to implement real bandwidth demanding interactive service (e. real T-Commerce services require full interactivity. which uses the different DVB-T system: 6. Tele-voting.g. providing a typical bit-rate capacity of several kilobits per second. However. Therefore. where the user do not want to spend more money for a pure digital TV broadcasting service.EN 301 958 . . Typically. ! DVB-RCT does not require access to spectrum on a primary basis. for each TV viewer. even at the edge of the coverage area. with no need of return channel back from the user to the Service Provider: Data carrousel or Electronic Programmes Guides (EPG) are examples of such Enhanced TV services which implement a rough type of “Local Interactivity”.5km radius cells. interactive advertising.A general consensus agrees that the main and unique feature that will make Digital TV really appealing to the end users is the provision of interactivity on top of the digital pure broadcasting TV service. ! DVB-RCT can handle very large peaks in traffic. and powerful and provides a flexible Wireless Multiple Access based on well-known OFDM technique that is well suited for transmission in the terrestrial channel. ! DVB-RCT is able to serve portable devices. high-bandwidth return channel technology is mandatory.000 short interactions per second in Tele-polling Mode. bringing interactivity everywhere the Terrestrial Digital broadcast signal is receivable. providing to the user a bit-rate capacity of up to several Megabits per second per user. ISDN or GSM) and the very limited bandwidth. the system has been designed to use any gaps or under-utilised spectrum anywhere in Bands III. which can cope with such long latency connection time. Pay-per-view is an example of services. ETSI . ! DVB-RCT does not require more than 0. DVB-RCT is THE response that offers a wireless interaction channel for these real-time Interactive Digital Terrestrial Television Services: ! DVB-RCT is spectrum efficient. That is the purpose of DVB-RCT as a companion to the DVB-T broadcasting standard. limits considerably the category of possible interactive services and the interest from users. 7 or 8 MHz channels. However. The long connection time needed by existing solutions for return channel based on telecom networks (PSTN. ! DVB-RCT can be used around the world.5W rms transmission power from the User Terminal or Set Top Box to the base station. The major characteristics of this new DVB-RCT standard are commented in the following paragraphs.DVB-RCT: A NEW STANDARD IS BORN After nearly one and half year of work.

as well as immunity against jammers. . " The carriers are frequency-locked and power ranged and the timing of the modulation is synchronised by the Base Station. The bandwidth requests are typically bursty in such type of applications. Programs & Data to User Broadcaster Core Network Set Top Box Broadcast Interface Module Interactive Interface Module Interactive Service Provider Interactive Network Adapter Terrestrial Return Channel from User to Broadcaster f Set Top Unit Home User Figure 1 – DVB-RCT system architecture The DVB-RCT system is governed by the following rules: " Modulation scheme is OFDM for both downstream (fully DVB-T compliant) and upstream. therefore. The DVB-RCT standard specification [6] defines and covers the two basic layers (“Physical” & “MAC”) needed for an interactive session. " Each authorised RCTT transmits one or several low bit rate modulated carriers towards the Base Station. the VHF/UHF return channel is partitioned both in the frequency and time domains. several parallel carriers are available in the upstream to be allocated to different users in different time slots for transmitting their data and commands back to the Base Station. using a FFT process. Each available carrier is allocated to a certain user for a defined time slot (burst). using Frequency Division Multiplex (FDM) and Time Division Multiplex (TDM). this implies that a permanent allocation of a certain carrier to a certain user would be not efficient at all. Therefore.DVB-RCT: THE SYSTEM PRINCIPLES The interactive system consists of a forward interaction channel (downstream) conveyed to the user via a DVB-T compliant terrestrial broadcast network. misalignments in frequency could lead a user terminal transmitting on one carrier to pollute other users transmitting onto neighbouring carriers. A typical DVB-RCT system is illustrated in the Figure 1. the Base Station will control the allocation policy in order to serve a large number of users in parallel and to make an efficient usage of the available spectrum. multiple slot allocation is possible (both on the same carrier and onto different parallel carriers) to cope with bandwidth peak demands. both layers are presented briefly hereafter. DVB-RCT: THE PHYSICAL LAYER To allow access by multiple users. That allows RCTTs to synchronously access the network and then to transmit upstream-synchronised information to the Base Station. This grid of timefrequency slots can be equipped with carriers. When using Nyquist shaping. thus leading to waste of bandwidth. and a return interaction channel based on a Wireless VHF/UHF transmission (upstream) of the same type. the Upstream signal is demodulated. where users can be located well far away one from the others and from the Base Station. The downstream transmission from the Base Station to the Terminals (RCTT) provides also synchronisation and information to all RCTTs. " On the Base Station side. BASIC PARTITIONING To avoid inter-carrier and inter-symbols interference. carrier spectra ar disjointed and misalignments have limited effects onto other users [8]. to provide immunity against both intercarrier and inter-symbol interference. from any RCTT. two types of sub-carrier shaping are provided: " Nyquist shaping: uses in-time Nyquist filtering on each carrier. This configuration is particularly suited for large cells. just like the one performed in a DVB-T receiver.

however. Each value implies a given maximum transmission cell size. This organisation of the different carriers is depicted in Figure 2. this greatly eases the problem of access to the spectrum (this is the main problem when trying to re-use UHF/VHF bands. Such scheme is more sensitive to misalignments and is well suited for small cells in dense networks. the orthogonality conditions among carriers allows for correct demodulation and separation of each transmitted data. whose specra are allowed to overlap. Band Segmentation can be used to determine the final bandwidth of a specific return channel segment. taboo channels and other interference). it can be roughly 1 MHz. as well as combating multipath propagation effects. The elementary segment for return channel is 1 MHz. inserted between modulated symbols. The three DVB-RCT inter-carrier spacing values are defined in Table 1. that are highly congested in some countries due to analog services. This is the typical shaping used in DVB-T standard as well and makes use of orthogonal carriers. to provide immunity against inter-carrier and inter-symbol interference." Rectangular shaping: makes use of an orthogonal arrangement of the carriers and of a Guard Interval. Nyquist shaping time Rectangular shaping time frequency frequency Figure 2 – DVB-RCT RF channel organisation TRANSMISSION MODES DVB-RCT standard provides six transmissions modes [6] characterised by a dedicated combination of the maximum number of carriers offered and their inter-carrier distance. Carrier Spacing (CS) and symbol duration CS1 CS2 CS3 ~ 1 KHz ~ 2 KHz ~ 4 KHz symbol duration of ~ 1 000 µs symbol duration of ~ symbol duration of ~ 500 µs 250 µs Table 1: DVB-RCT approximate targeted inter-carrier spacing for 8 MHz channel The inter-carrier distance governs the robustness of the system in regard to the possible synchronisation misalignment of any RCTT. The DVB-RCT final bandwidth is a function of the number of carriers used (1K or 2K) and of the Carrier Spacing defined. In addition to that. Each combination has a specific trade-off between frequency diversity and time diversity. . and a given resistance to the Doppler shift experienced when the RCTT is in motion. and then between coverage range and portability capability. 2MHz or 4 MHz.

Ranging Symbols. more suited for large cells. A key commercial advantage of this Band Segmentation is that different Interactive TV Service Providers can be assigned their own 1MHz of spectrum and can thereby remain independent of one another.: synchronisation. Several Ranging symbols to allow the RCTT to request access to the DVB-RCT channel.e. Transmission Frame 1 organises the channel in the Time domain whilst Transmission Frame 2 organises it in the Frequency domain.e.Basically. it is not necessary to allocate an entire 8 MHz channel (or 7/6 MHz outside Europe) to establish a DVB-RCT service.: a set of sub-carriers). TRANSMISSION FRAMES The collection of physical slots (time partition of each available carrier). Transmission frame 2 (TF2) The second type of transmission frame (TF2) carries only general-purpose symbols. ranging and data transmission. Figure 3 depicts the organisation of TF1 frame in the time domain. is organised to carry suitable data and commands to implement special protocol functions related to the various activities of the RCTTs in the system (i. where TF2 is optimised for small cells with higher bandwidth. then each sub-channel is granted for a dedicated activity. in the timedomain. This is particularly important as long as analogue terrestrial transmissions will continue. either Rectangular shaping or Nyquist shaping is used. which constitutes the basic bandwidth partitioning. a range of complete OFDM symbols is used for each dedicated activity. in which Null Symbol. Several User Symbols during which several RCTTs transmit their data bursts using the Bursts Structures. In short. ranging. Using TF2.e. Transmission frame 1 (TF1) The first type of transmission frame (TF1) carries three categories of symbols: " " " One Null Symbol: during which no transmission occur to allow the Base Station to detect jammers. in general. instead. whilst in the ranging part only the Rectangular shaping is used. the concept is that any 1MHz segment of spectrum can be used. every OFDM symbols is divided in subchannels (i. no specialisation of OFDM symbol is used. the transmission frames provide a repetitive structure. Time Transmission Frame Type 1 Frequency Ranging Symbols User Symbols carrying or BS1 or BS2 (not simultaneously) Null Symbol Ranging Carrier User Symbols Figure 3 – TF1 – Time domain organisation In the User part of TF1.: they “start” at the same . data transmission). TF1 is. Data Symbols and Pilot Symbols (for Channel Estimation purposes at base Station) are embedded to provide resources for synchronisation. Nevertheless. groups of six symbols are organised to make sub-channels synchronised (i. This can be accomplished through two alternative types of transmission frames TF1 & TF2 [6]: " " Using TF1. According to these definitions. made up of a set of timefrequency slots.

the Bursts Structure. Among the available carriers. Time Transmission Frame Type 2 User Symbols carrying one Burst Structure 2 Null Symbols Frequency User Symbols carrying eight Burst Structure 3 Null Symbol Ranging Symbol User Symbols Ranging Sub-Channel User Sub-Channel Figure 4 – TF2 . the 2K mode uses only 1712 carriers and the 1K mode offers 842 carriers. i. this is accomplished through a dedicated data structure for the elementary burst. however. . as any OFDM system. Three Burst Structures are defined in DVB-RCT. This is depicted in Figure 5: DVB-RCT channel bandwidth Guard Band DC carrier (not used) Guard Band 1K mode 91 Unused sub-carriers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 0 8 5 0 0 8 5 1 0 8 5 2 0 8 5 3 0 8 5 4 0 8 5 5 0 8 5 6 0 8 5 7 0 8 5 8 0 8 5 9 0 8 6 0 0 8 6 1 0 8 6 2 8 8 8 8 8 8 3 3 3 3 4 4 6 7 8 9 0 1 1 7 0 6 1 7 0 7 1 7 0 8 1 7 0 9 1 7 1 0 1 7 1 1 91 Unused sub-carriers 2K mode 168 Unused sub-carriers 168 Unused sub-carriers Figure 5 – TF’s organisation in the frequency domain The unused carriers.Time Domain organisation TF2 frame makes only use of the Rectangular shaping. the Burst Structures are symbolised regarding their duration and not regarding their occupancy in the frequency domain. Note that in Figure 4. TF’s organisation in the frequency domain Previous figures depict the organisation of TFs in the time domain. Both Transmission frames provide these guard bands and this carrier organisation. the sub-channels occurring during that period can be dedicated either for Ranging functions or to carry the RCTT’s data bursts. as described later in this paper. provide a guard band to protect adjacent channels. Figure 4 depicts the organisation of TF2 frame in the time domain. for carrying information. a dedicated organisation is needed in the frequemcy domain as well.instant). Accordingly.e. Then. eight consecutive groups implement a field for Ranging. located on each edge of the channel.

e. BS3: 29 carriers Identical payload : . a collection of Pilot Data are spread to allow coherent demodulation in the Base Station. having their own characteristics. among the time-frequency axes. Shorter burst duration is more robust against interference but requires more than one carrier to be allocated in parallel to a single user for a single bandwidth request. the RCTT will be able to exchange with the Base Station in a .BURST STRUCTURES Each RCTT transmits bursts of data based on an integer number of ATM cells. Then. using only one carrier. Burst Structure 2 spread its payload over 4 carriers. each Burst Structure provides dedicated characteristic in regard to its robustness. constitute various trade-off between burst duration and frequency diversity they provide. as represented on the Figure 7. as illustrated in Figure 6.e. in regard to the partitioning. which constitute the data payload. BS2 and BS3.144 data modulated symbols . Whatever the protection coding rate and the physical modulation.: modulation constellation & coding rate). DVB-RCT defines three Burst Structures BS1. Among this data payload. The three Bursts Structures [6].36 pilot modulated symbols " " Figure 6 – Illustration of the Burst Structures Accordingly. Due to the limitation of the transmission power. then to the radius of the cell it cover. the data bursts are made up of 144 modulated symbols.1km 0 4 8 12 OTP power dBm 16 BS2 BS1 20 24 Figure 7 – Burst Structure Coverage BITRATE CAPACITY The bit-rate capacity of the DVB-RCT channel depends on the transmission mode (i. " Frequency Time BS1: 1carrier BS2: 4 carriers Burst Structure 1 carries its payload on consecutive symbols.: carrier spacing implies the duration of the modulated symbol) and on the robustness of the chosen coded modulation (i. 100 km 10 km 1 km BS3 0. each Burst Structure has its own maximum coverage distance. of the data bursts and the pilots. in relation with the modulation/coding rate. Burst Structure 3 spread its payload over 29 carriers.

. This feature called “Dynamically-assignable Adaptive Modulation” enables the Service Provider to control the level of interference from a given cell into neighbouring co-channel cells while. BS3 could be used from 0. using BS1. as described hereafter. to transmit back to the Base Station. When all carriers are used. lowest curve). they will cause less interference into the other co-channel cells. For instance. over a large radius cell whilst the weakest modes offer the largest bit-rate over a small radius cell. the strongest protection 4QAM. users nearer to the center of the cell can be assigned less robust modulation (e. 4QAM 1/2 rate) can be assigned to users near the outer boundary of the cell allowing them to use the minimum possible amount of power to transmit back to the Base Station.g. highest curve) and the range of power. DYNAMICALLY-ASSIGNABLE ADAPTIVE MODULATION DVB-RCT supports within the same cell the simultaneous use of different types of modulation from 4QAM (1/2 rate) to 64 QAM (3/4 rate). will use more power to enjoy higher data throughput. at the same time making maximum use of the allocated spectrum. the most robust form of modulation (e.g. using 64QAM. Conversely. close to the center of a cell. as they are further away from other cells. In addition to these structural definitions. at the expense of more power. the DVB-RCT system offers a net bit-rate per carrier ranging from 0. 1/16.6 Kbps to 15 Kbps.: 64QAM. 1 6 K bps 1 4 K bps 1 2 K bps 1 0 K bps 8 Kbps 6 Kbps 4 Kbps 2 Kbps 0 Kbps 1 /2 3 /4 1 /2 3 /4 1 /2 3 /4 1 /2 3 /4 1 /2 3 /4 1 /2 3 /4 1 /2 3 /4 1 /2 3 /4 1 /2 3 /4 4QAM 16Q AM 64Q AM 4QAM 16Q AM 64Q AM 4QAM 16Q AM 64Q AM Figure 8 – Bitrate per Carrier Globally. 1/2 (lowest bitrate. Values are given for the three modes (i. 1/8.5 km from the Base Station. 3/4). Figure 8 shows the range of available bit-rate when using BS1 or BS2 and the Rectangular shaping [6]. 3/4 modulation (highest bitrate. in typical applications. For instance. Even the users. Obviously the most robust modes offer the lowest bit-rate. the DVB-RCT standard provides several innovative features. Small variations represented in each case come from the four possible durations of the Guard Interval (1/4. 1/32 of the useful symbol duration) in the case of Rectangular Shaping.e.6 km to 1. Conversely.: carrier spacing) as a function of the coded modulation.range of distance depending on the power it uses. the Base Station is able to collect up to 1 Mbbs to 26 Mbps of user data in the DVB-RCT channel. the RCTT could perform exchanges with the Base Station in a range of 30 km to 60 km.

frequency selective fading. . POWER RANGING DVB-RCT uses a Power Ranging system. As a conclusion. thus dramatically reducing the need for new installations. based on iterative decoding algorithms (such as Turbo Codes) that allow. The coding produced in the first stage.55. DVB-RCT authorises the usage of both Concatenated Coding and Turbo Coding (alternatively).55. multipath. It uses a Double Binary Circular Recursive Systematic Convolutional (DB-CRSC) code. cell radius and transmitter placement). the transmitting power can be decreased. A dedicated puncturing law is used to generate rate ½ and ¾ codes. This ensures that the coverage area of the Multiple Access OFDM signals can be designed to closely match the service area of Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting. As a result. A Pseudo Random Binary Sequence (PRBS) is used to build a Random Interleaver. a Concatenated Coding scheme is possible. from the technical point of view. similar to the one used in Cellular phones. by deleting some of the parity symbols from the end of the block at the transmission side (in the RCTT) and then using erasures at the receiver side (in the Base Station). The constituent codes for the Turbo Encoder block are depicted in Figure 9. For instance.5dB or more. for a given network topology (i. can give at least an additional 5dB improvement against the Impulsive Interference (the actual figure depends on the repetition rate of the interference). although based upon the systematic RS(63. performed through adequate data mapping onto the Bursts Structures. Vice versa. because. Both constituent codes in the concatenation can be punctured to generate a total puncturing rate for the concatenation of. Such feature is very important for network planning. a larger cell radius can be achieved. less interference and less pollution. The Convolutional Encoder has constraint length 9 and uses mother codes: G1=561oct for X and G1=753oct for Y. DVB-T standard adopted a concatenated channel-coding scheme based on Convolutional Codes and Reed-Solomon Codes separated by an interleaver. etc. in particular.t=4) encoder and are then passed to a tail biting Convolutional Encoder. DVB-RCT is built around the most recent developments in algorithms and techniques for digital transmission and it constitutes the first system in the world using Multiple Access OFDM technique to provide a Wireless Interactive Terrestrial channel. transmission in the wireless environment suffers from impairments due to several issues (e. in some cases. some Modulation Modes of DVB-RCT require a C/N of only 4dB.e.t=4). This provides a powerful feature to reduce interference and to increase spectrum efficiency of the system.). for an improvement of BER for a given C/N level. Systematic part A B Permutation (k/2) N=k/2 couples of data Π 2 A S1 S2 S3 1 codeword B Y1 or 2 puncturing Y Redundancy part Figure 9 – Constituent Code for Turbo Coding in DVB-RCT Alternatively. this choice can give a further reduction in the required C/N ratio of 1. All these elements contribute to produce a high error rate (BER) that has to be dealt with to provide a reliable system. Less parity symbols can be used. can be varied by the number of parity symbols sent. However. ½ and ¾. again. to ensure that the lowest power is used by the RCT Terminals at all times. the data shall first enter a RS(63.TURBO OR CONCATENATED CODING Channel Coding is a key element to define the performances of a transmission system. for a given transmitting power level. alternative schemes have been proposed in the last years.g. TIME INTERLEAVING Time Interleaving. that means.

Such scenario is suited for a limited number of users per cell. DVB-RCT MAC layer can be considered as a superset of the Cable MAC layer. in time & frequency) onto the physical layer. because all traffic has to be managed by one single upstream/downstream channel. Accordingly. giving to it a wireless system to cover the last mile to the users. among RCTTs.e. as illustrated in Figure 10. Such scenario is seen as very attractive to speed-up the rollout of DVB-RCT system and a dedicated annex to the DVB-RCT specification is currently under finalisation by the DVB-RCT group. It will be also possible to enlarge the cable system capabilities. The main issue here is to control efficiently the contention access to the return channel in order to allocate the available bandwidth (i. This is illustrated in the Figure 11. a small urban cell or a large rural cell. This can be applied to the service introductory phase. using different DVB-RCT frequencies. a subset of it. DVB-RCT has defined a MAC layer with the objective to re-use as much as possible of the MAC specification designed for the cable return channel [4]. this could provide an easy way to use the Cable MAC to control the RCT Physical layer (RCTPHY) or. it would be possible to introduce DVB-RCT boxes using the cable infrastructure. then to insure a smooth transition from cable to terrestrial. DVB-RCT: DEPLOYMENT SCENARIOS The DVB-RCT group performed a deep analysis of the possible deployment scenarios to cope with constraints derived from the existing broadcasting allocation and frequency planning in various countries. of the bi-dimensional data bursts (i. it is possible to sectorise the upstream cell. At a certain extent. the carriers) to the largest number of contending users and to handle their various traffic types (depending on the supported application). several DVB-RCT upstream channels can be implemented on the same area. In this specific scenario (that is meant as an extension of the DVB-RCT specification). " Several omnidirectional DVB-RCT channels: To increase the collection capacity inside a single DVB-T downstream cell (more bit-rate to the users). Cell 1 using RF 1 Cell 3 using RF 3 Cell 2 using RF 2 Cell 1 using RF 1 Figure 10 – One RCT upstream in one DVB-T cell " Sectorisation Figure 11 – Several RCT upstream in one DVB-T cell To further increase the upstream capacity. . Real life scenarios can be derived from these basic examples reported hereafter. " One omni directional DVB-RCT channel: The basic configuration is to use one single DVB-RCT upstream channel to cover the whole DVB-T downstream cell. The MAC layer implements all the functions needed to allow the Base Station to optimise the repartition. It can be also considered to protect against ‘jammers’ and to prevent interference in the coverage area. better.DVB-RCT: THE MAC LAYER The DVB-RCT MAC layer [6] is built over the physical layer to provide a reliable and shared transmission link between the RCTTs and the Base Station.e.

. the frequency C1 is not available on the whole covering area. thus minimizing investment risks. to increase bit-rate available in some sectors (i. the ability of the system to cope with different scenarios allows for tuning the investment to the real ramp of number of users (no big initial investment for a new network).3 C1. Several features. Thanks to the fact that the same terrestrial network is used for both broadcasting and return channel. the cost has been estimated in a few percents more than conventional pure broadcasting terrestrial Set-top Boxes. a C3 frequency is used instead.e. C1. Other sector could be created using a C2 frequency. network cost per user (Base Station cost and network installation cost).e. could coexist as it has been illustrated in Figure 11.2 C2 C1 jammer C2 C3 C1. 59 interactions from different subscribers can be processed at a rate up to 600 every second! According to complexity estimation performed by the members of the DVB-RCT group. XDSL.For instance. Furthermore. The reason why DVB-RCT is so cost effective is that a single low-cost receiving system (DVB-RCT Receiver and MAC Machine) at the Base Station can process up to 20. if an upstream channel is not available for use within the complete DVB-T cell coverage. as polluted by jammers. For instance.e. large and flexible collection of operational modes (i. of course. Such cost includes user terminal cost (for an integrated VLSI solution in mass production). In the Figure 12.1 Figure 12 – Sectoring DVB-RCT cells in one DVB-T DVB-RCT has been designed with a lot of flexibility. in the 2K mode. including RF engineering (i. adaptive modulation. using additional frequencies. GSM or UMTS. etc. it is possible to configure the cell with several upstream channels each covering a sector of the cell.: antennas sectorisation). the cost of the backhaul linking network from the Base Stations to Service Provider’s main hub – although this is normally already in place for any existing broadcasting network. In that sector.000 short interactions per second. cell radius. Finally. There is also. code robustness. COSTS OF DVB-RCT The overall costs of the DVB-RCT system is made up of the User Terminal Costs and the Base Station Costs. to cover several deployment scenarios to reduce and cope with RF spectrum congestion.) have been incorporated to provide the best system configuration even in the (highly) congested UHF/VHF bands. DVBRCT can be deployed for a small fraction of the cost of any competing system – for example PSTN.: the ones with more population) several upstream channels.

e. Even if works remains.: RCTT) and broadcast side (i. MEDEA+ “IM4DTTV” PROJET IM4DTTV project (2001-2003) [10]. Interactive TV applications. and validate equipment and planning algorithms to aid in the standardisation of digital terrestrial TV return channel (DVB-RCT). providing fast access from the TV set to Internet.e. where a first solution for terrestrial interactivity was developed and demonstrated. the DVB-RCT constitutes a real asset for a successful deployment of the interactive terrestrial digital TV worldwide. among others. some world-wide leading silicon manufacturers (Philips. including both user terminal side (i. from now. Set-top Box manufacturers (Philips). IM4DTTV will provide a 1G-silicon solution and a complete hardware validation platform covering all aspects of the DVB-RCT system. aims at validating DVB-RCT specification. Two European broadcasters (France Telecom and RTE) will allow the consortium to test the system in the real environment. as well as to support all necessary investigations and tests needed to assess the DVB-RCT specification towards the ETSI standardisation process. to implement the new DVB-RCT standard for the first time ever.: Base Station). test. concretely. Regulation policies remain to be addressed in regard to the use of the UHF/VHF bands for Interactive DTV service. " " " The DVB-RCT standard has been presented for the first time to the public during NAB2001 Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas in April 2001. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Authors would like to thank their colleagues and partners of the WITNESS and IM4DDTV European Projects. To design and manufacture low-cost integrated interactive terminals for DVB-RCT technology by making use of dedicated silicon solution (both BB and RF parts) designed and developed within the project itself. developing a prototype VLSI solution for the DVB-RCT terminal. DVB-RCT will become soon a commercial reality. STMicroelectronics).DVB-RCT: TWO RESEARCH PROGRAMMES DVB-RCT largely benefits from the experience established by the European-funded research project iTTi (“interactive Terrestrial TV integration” – 1997-1999). The issue is already in the agenda of forthcoming meetings of ITU-T. Two new projects have recently been set up to support DVB-RCT implementation: WITNESS (“Wireless Interactive Terrestrial Network System and Service”) and IM4DTTV (“Integrated Modem fo(u)r Digital Terrestrial TV) which are briefly presented hereafter. To test and validate in realistic conditions the integrated prototype platform. then to develop spectrum planning and frequency usage recommendations for Terrestrial TV services. CONCLUSIONS This paper has highlighted the work performed by DVB to provide terrestrial broadcasters with a flexible wireless return channel for interactive DVB-T Services. E-commerce and. ITIS). analysis and finalisation of the DVB-RCT standard presented here. More than a technical standard. . WITNESS main mission is to validate the operation of a Terrestrial Return Channel service by deploying up-graded interactive wireless terminals in the two test sites of Ireland (Dublin) and France (Rennes). Both field experimentation and public demonstrations have been performed by iTTi consortium and have been already reported [8]. head-end equipment manufacturers (Thomcast. EBU and other similar bodies and will be dealt with in the next months. Main objectives are the following: " To add seamless interaction capabilities to the DVB Digital Terrestrial TV system (DVB-T). as well as the members of the DVB-RCT Technical Working Group of the DVB Forum. who contributed to the discussions. IST “WITNESS” PROJET WITNESS (2000-2002) [9] aims to upgrade. A White Paper [7] has been also distributed to the visitors of DVB booth gathering very high interest. IM4DTTV consortium comprises. Canal+ Technologies will support software development for DVB-RCT set-top boxes.

NAB 2001.SUMMARY OF DVB-RCT PHYSICAL PARAMETERS Downstream Channel (DS) Return Interaction Channel Forward Interaction Channel (US) OFDM Carrier set OFDM Carrier spacing (CS) Transmission modes Carrier shaping Guard Interval Transmission Frames Data randomization Modulation Encoding rates Useful data payload per burst Channel codes Interleaving Burst Structures Frequency hopping Medium Access Schemes Net Bit rate /carrier (range) Maximum nb carrier per user Service range Channelisation OFDM.Scalise et.org [10] see at: www. Sofer E. “DVB Interaction Channel for Cable Distribution Systems” – EN 200 800 DVB-RCC standard.¾ 18. 1/16. April 01. 2001 [7] DVB-RCT group. Channel Coding and Modulation for Digital Terrestrial Television” . BS2. 16QAM.com) . Framing Structure. DVB-TM document TM2361r3. Proceedings of SMPTE 1999 Conference. Sydney Australia. ~2KHz. “White paper on DVB-RCT”. MAS2. 2000 [6] DVB Project.ETS 300 744 DVB-T standard. compliant with ETS 300 744 (DVB-T) 1024 (1K). March 2001 and ETSI. 36. EN 301 958 DVB-RCT standard. MacAvock P. “Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB). 1996 [3] DVB Project.. ETSI: “Digital Broadcasting System for Television. Faria G. July 1999 [9] see at : www.scalise@st. 7. “DVB Interaction Channel for Satellite Distribution Systems” – ETS xxx xxx DVB-RCS standard. Channel Coding and Modulation for 11/12 GHz Satellite Services” . Sound and Data Services. 27. BS3 for BS1 only (optional) MAS1.medea. Rectangular 1/4. Alt. Las Vegas (USA) [8] F. “A New Solution for Wireless Interactive TV Based on DVB-T Standard and SFDMA Technique”. 1/32 (for Rectangular shaping only) TF1.com) (fabio. Branagan P. Framing Structure.6 Kbps – 15 Kbps (depending on the mode) No limit (in the case of Rectangular Shaping) Up to 65 km (cell radius) 6. 1993 [2] DVB Project. Channel Coding and Modulation for Cable Systems” . ETSI: “Digital Broadcasting System for Television.EN 300 421 DVB-S standard. TF2 14 15 PRBS with polynomial: 1+X +x QPSK. 81 bytes (1 burst = 144 modulated symbols) Turbo or concatenated (Reed-Solomon + Convolutional) 3 10 Random Interleaver – PRBS with polynomial: 1+X +x BS1. 1/8. 64QAM ½. Reservation access Supported (derived from EN 200 800) REFERENCES [1] DVB Project. Contention access. ETSI: “Digital Broadcasting System for Television. 2048 (2K) ~1KHz. Scalise F. ETS 300 744 (DVB-T) compliant Multiple Access OFDM (MA-OFDM) Embedded in DS.org Gerard FARIA – Harris Broadcast Communications Fabio SCALISE – STMicroelectronics (gfaria@harris. 8 MHz channels are supported PROTOCOLS incorporated in DVB-RCT Medium Access Control (MAC) Access options Security Specifications mostly derived from EN 200 800 Fixed rate access. Interaction channel for Digital Terrestrial Television (DVB-RCT) incorporating Multiple Access OFDM”.EN 300 429 DVB-C standard. 2000 [5] DVB Project. 1993 [4] DVB Project. Sound and Data Services.wireless-interactive. ~4KHz 6 modes (as combination of 3 CS and 2 Carrier set) Nyquist. MAS3 (as combinations of BS and TF) 0. Framing Structure. Sound and Data Services. 54.

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