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Technical Review | January-March 2012

Combination of MPEG-4 & MPeg-2 on MCPC Mode

was done by having a combination of MPEG-4 and MPEG- 2 encoders, multiplexed and transmitted in MCPC mode. It enabled BBS to include one more TV channel and 4 radio channels within the bandwidth previously available for MPEG-2 transmissions

The new system can be operated on DVB-S2 mode but because there are many DVB-S receivers used for FM radio stations all over the country, the modulators are still operated in DVB-S mode. This has enabled BBS to use existing MPEG-2 receivers for its radio stations. Presently BBS satellite signal carries two TV channels and four radio channels.

Though BBS has only one radio channel now, provision for two radio channels is available in the satellite up-linking system. BBS is planning to start a new radio channel in another six months. BBS satellite facilities are also used by Kuzoo FM station that transmits programs focused on youth in two channels, one in English and other in the national language Dzongkha.

Studio Facilities in BBS 2

Since it takes few months to set up a fully automated studio for the new channel, a temporary set-up for automated play-out was arranged. This uses software capable of scheduling programmes for long hours. The software is used with two computers, one for ingest and one for play-out. In the meantime installation of the new studio facilities is in progress. The new studio will have automated play-out facilities using three main components namely a video server, graphics and automation system. Installation and commissioning of the new studio facilities for channel 2 is expected to be complete by the end of March 2012. Meanwhile BBS 2 is transmitting programs throughout 24 hours using the temporary studio set-up.

Future Plans and Challenges ahead

The immediate plan for BBS is to start a new radio channel which will be fully dedicated to promote the national language (Dzongkha). The channel will operate on FM, alongside existing radio channels.

Block diagram of automation system for 2nd channel

With Bhutan having mountainous and rugged terrain, BBS faces a lot of challenges in its terrestrial transmissions for both Radio and TV. Though satellite signals can be tapped for setting up a terrestrial station, there are several constraints because terrestrial transmitting stations have to be located strategically to cover more of the population. Strategic locations in most cases do not have facilities such as power supply, access roads etc. Currently BBS is exploring the possibilities of using fibre lines for reaching remote locations as the backbone. With the initiative from Ministry of Information and Communication, fibre cables are reaching all 20 district head offices and 206 village centres. This is expected to help BBS to increase its coverage terrestrially. However challenges still remain to having 100% coverage terrestrially as the terrain is such that, in some places, even a single village will require at least three transmitters.

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