System Overview And Technical Data Results And Analysis From HBO’s Field Test Of DVB-S2 And MPEG-4 HD Deployment (2008)

By Andrew Levine, Home Box Office, Inc.

On June 12, 2007, Home Box Office announced it would make all 26 HBO and Cinemax channels available to HBO distributors in high definition using MPEG-4 compression technology by the end of the second quarter of 2008. The HBO engineering team was tasked with finding a system that would meet HBO’s aggressive time frame for deployment. The system would have to be capable of high quality encoding, and robust enough to be able to meet all of HBO’s technical requirements. Taking advantage of the newest MPEG-4 (AVC) compression and DVB-S2 satellite modulation, HBO felt it would be able to deploy an efficient and cost effective way to make the 26 HD feeds available. This paper will describe the technical architecture of the MPEG-4 compression system that HBO has chosen to implement. It will also outline the field test plan that HBO developed for the system, as well as the results of that field testing. The field test results and observations will show that this system is a viable alternative to traditional MPEG-2 compression with QPSK modulation.

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