STN launches first ever HEVC channel over Africa

by Clayton Vallabhan | May 21st, 2015

stnSTN (Satellite Telecommunications Network) has successfully launched and is now broadcasting since May 1st 2015 the first ever channel over Africa in the new HEVC (h.265) codec. High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is a video compression standard, a successor to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (Advanced Video Coding), which was jointly developed by the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 29/WG 11 Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and ITU-T SG16/Q.6 Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) as ISO/IEC 23008-2 MPEG-H Part 2 and ITU-T H.265.

The new subscription DTH channels for an African broadcaster have opted for latest compression technology HEVC/H.265, which will allow them to deliver greater number channels with the top quality over the existing capacity. HEVC is capable of doubling the data compression ratio compared to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC at the same level of video quality. It can alternatively be used to provide substantially improved video quality at the same bit rate and can support 8K UHD and resolutions up to 8192×4320.

In tests STN have found that they can use a data rate of 800kbps, against 1.4Mbps for an equivalent H.264 channel. HEVC compression will allow a 50% saving in the transponder costs for each channel.

HEVC is often thought of as the enabler for UHD, but the more efficient compression also shows extreme promise to/for some DTH operators to start thinking of deploying this technology in line to save costly satellite capacity on one site and deliver bigger number of channels to its subscribers on the other while maintaining or even raising the video quality and viewing experience. As the space on satellites is limited and on popular orbital position difficult to come by this new compression technology is and also will be the future of the satellite transmission.

STN is using Elemental Live video processing platform component that provides real-time video and audio encoding for linear TV broadcast coupled with Ericsson iSIS8000 system head-end. With HEVC decoder chips already in production, the broadcaster can roll-out set-top boxes in a short timescale.

As a market leader, this is just another example of how STN is always at pace with the latest in technology innovation

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