Rohde & Schwarz has released an all-in-one system that it claims cost-effectively extends ATSC network coverage, particularly in areas with challenging geography.

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Rohde & Schwarz: Transmitter translators simplify extension of ATSC network

The new ATSC translator and re-transmitter unit for its TLx9 and TMx9evo low-power TV transmitters has been developed to enhance transmission coverage in areas such as steep-sided valleys. It receives the data input from a parent transmitter over the air and then rebroadcasts it on a separate channel to extend coverage into these difficult to access areas.

The all-in-one translator simplifies coverage extension within ATSC networks, keeping deployment efforts low. Existing R&S transmitters can be easily upgraded with the new option. In combination with ASI (Asynchronous Serial Interface) and TSoIP (Transport Stream Over IP) feeds, the new translator can also be used to establish input redundancy.

It also has other enhanced features that should make operators’ lives easier, such as a PSIP (Program and System Information Protocol) edit option. The system has real-time detection and display of the original TSID and PSIP information, and, if desired, the translator can modify the contents of the PSIP table including channel number, short name, major channel and minor channel of the input stream. It can also pass through all Dynamic PSIP Guide information without corrupting any data. With this feature, no additional external device is needed for PSIP editing and deployment is made easier.

In the event of the loss of ASI or RF Tuner input a static picture can be displayed. With the failure of all inputs it will continuously loop a fully compliant Transport Stream. The static picture feature can provide a viewer message instead of blue screen. This enables a fall-back mode to stay on air, even without an input signal, helping operators to keep and inform their viewers in case of an input signal loss.

The translator also supports ASI Loop Through. This means the transmitter can demodulate the RF input signal and it allows the operator to monitor the incoming signal on ASI baseband level. Via the ASI output port, an ASI test system or ASI transport stream reader can also analyse the decoded RF input signal. This helps to simplify the system design of Translator Stations and provides better information about the origin of potential problems.

“This new product answers a clear market need and demonstrates the depth of our transmitter development capabilities,” said Manfred Reitmeier, VP of broadcast and amplifier systems at Rohde & Schwarz. “R&S ATSC translators simplify the extension of ATSC coverage significantly by making the need for a costly TS feeding infrastructure to the LPTV transmitter station obsolete and providing an all-in-one solution for easy deployment.”