Crawford’s MPEG-4 Platform to Unveil at Satellite 2008

Start getting ready!

Next week brings us the SATELLITE 2008 conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. On the schedule: a hockey game that may prove to be a conference highlight.

(No word yet on whether the press releases emanating from the conference will be any better this year. But we digress.)

Of course, what makes SATELLITE 2008 truly interesting for satcom buffs and worker bees is the unveiling of new technologies. Among the "must see satellite technologies" that will be introduced to the marketplace is Crawford Satellite Services’ MPEG-4 HD platform, which will utilize SES AMERICOM’s satellite AMC-18 for domestic distribution into cable and DBS (digital broadcast system) providers:

With its HD launch on December 31, 2007, cable television network Tennis Channel utilized Crawford’s MPEG-4 service to allow satellite partner DIRECTV to access the signal…

Crawford has selected Motorola’s MCPC (multiple channel per carrier) MPEG-4 HD platform with redundant encoding and multiplexing (mux) as its video compression system. With this state-of-the-art equipment, the Company is able to employ DVB S2 advanced modulation and MPEG-4 compression technology which better utilizes satellite bandwidth.

DVB S2 allows for the distribution of a greater number of channels on a single transponder. The MPEG-4 technology compresses an HD channel so that it uses less than half of the bandwidth required as compared to an MPEG-2 HD signal. The result of the combined technologies gives Crawford the capacity to deliver seven to eight HD channels per transponder while maintaining outstanding HD quality.

Crawford got in on SES-AMERICOM’s AMC-18 capacity before it recently sold out, though they also have C-band platforms on AMC-10 and Galaxy-11

The Tennis Channel HD also includes a new production studio in Culver City. "The new multiple-studio, master control and post production facility is the home to the only 24-hour channel dedicated to the sport of Tennis," according to the press release from the company. 

The Tennis Channel is certainly breaking new ground in the use of MPEG-4 compression. As for programming, we recommend running old footage of McEnroe from when he played competitive tennis. No one’s ever made the sport more interesting: