EC opens public consultation on UHF band

The UHF band is a key band for expanding mobile internet services in the future. It is used today in many countries for DTT services. The question is: how / when to migrate the services. The EU has opened a consultation on the topic.

The provision of a free TV medium may be important in many countries. But providing BB internet services to all homes may be more important these days. It is a reasonable hypothesis that the internet could carry basic TV services for free by 2020/2022 in most countries, certainly in western Europe. Would that be a basis for shutting down DTT? Is there a case for a LTE / 5G compatible broadcast mode for mobile reception that can also provide basic TV distribution for stationary purposes.

These are very interesting times. Hopefully the EBU will do some serious soul searching on more forward looking strategies to the occupation of spectrum and the distribution of public TV in the future. Put full emphasis on 2nd screen and VOD, do not get stuck in the past of linear channels:  these will serve a purpose in 10 years from now but a gradually decreasing one, and rather than more there will be fewer true broadcast channels. VOD will be more than 70% of all viewing.

The only other thing we should hope for is some more space for license free applications (wifi etc.).

BBTVnews: EC opens public consultation on UHF band.

Posted in DTT

Children show VOD is the future

The time of normal TV is coming to an end; it may take a few generations but kids are viewing on-demand at a much higher rate than adults. A study of Norwegian NRK shows that kids watch linear streaming 4 times less than adults. It goes to show the real potential of online TV, and why linear TV (be it broadcast or online) may become less and less important in the future.

92% of kids app viewing is on-demand at Norway’s NRK | VideoNet.

Posted in OTT

Dutch DTT future

The Dutch spectrum is used at the moment for the cheapest basic TV service in the country using a (partial) SFN network. The network (Digitenne) was created 10 years ago and is using DVB-T/MPEG-2 (Generation 1 DTT). The service is gradually loosing subscribers as its owner KPN is luring the customers to IPTV/Fiber services and has increased the price to a still the cheapest (cheaper than analog cable) but not all that cheap level of 10 euro/month. There may be a place for a cheap and cheerful TV service in the Netherlands, but the service will need a technology upgrade in the future. It is questionable whether its current owner KPN is willing to invest in new network and settop box technology (based on presumably HEVC and DVB-T2 or LTE-broadcast technology).

The Dutch government has decided that the 700MHz band should go to mobile applications by 2019; in the light of the above this seems in the general interest; misusing the precious bandwidth for a commercial service of low value is not a good return for the public. But on the other hand: there is a case for a cheap and cheerful TV distribution technology for a new era: LTE-broadcast or IP  “straight-up”?

CSI Magazine: Spectrum blow for Dutch DTT.

Posted in DTT

Bhaalu has to stop cloud PVR

Cloud PVR remains a tricky topic. Belgium courts had twice ruled in favour of Baahu, a cloud PVR service apparatently receiving its signal from the M7 satellite. Now another court has decided to kill the company by ordering it to stop within a month. The lawsuit was filed by the original broadcasters (free to air public and commercial).


Bhaalu allows users to select programs to record and streams to mobiles, PCs and TVs via an HDMI stick or a Bhaalu box.

In the two previous lawsuits it was deemed that Bhaalu is a product and not a service. This may be awkward as commercial FTA TV in Belgium is never unscrambled; so how could the signal be legally acquired. The court has ruled an illegal copy is made permitting 3’rd parties to breach copyrights (guess that’s the end user). That seems to contradict the view that Bhaalu is a product. Some more in-depth analysis is still sought.

There may be an appeal since this was not a higher court ruling.

Here are some links:

BroadbandTVNews: Belgian court rules Bhaalu has to stop cloud PVR service.

Metro (Dutch): Omroepen reageren positief op stopzetting Bhaalu (Dutch): Belgische rechter verbiedt Bhaalu-recorder

De Standaard (Dutch): Rechter trekt stekker uit Bhaalu

The actual verdict: