D-Book gets smart to improve retuning

Kate Macefield, Broadcast Director, Digital UK

D-Book gets smart to improve retuning

by Kate Macefield, Broadcast Director, Digital UK

posted on April 1st, 2015

Digital TV Group (DTG), the UK members' association for digital television, last week published an updated version of its D-Book, the industry guide that sets out the technical specifications for Freeview TVs and set-top boxes in the UK.

We have worked closely with the DTG and Freeview on this latest edition to deliver some key developments that lay the foundations for the new Freeview Play connected TV service, and also aim to make the retuning equipment easier for viewers. Below is a summary of the headlines changes:

Freeview Play: D-Book 8 forms part of the new technical standard for the Freeview Play product specification, providing the basis for Freeview's new connected TV service.

Smart retunes:
These allow viewers to retune their TV or box without losing any scheduled recordings, favourites settings and reminders they've set, or their choice of region. Smart retunes should play a key role in helping to minimise viewer disruption during changes to the TV network, including events such as the future clearance of Freeview signals from airwaves in the 700MHz band.

Support for HEVC services: D-Book 8 now references the new High Efficiency Video Coding compression standard, future-proofing receivers that adopt the new technology. In the longer term HEVC could potentially be used by broadcasters to provide extra channels or programming in the new Ultra HD format.

Signal strength and quality: The D-Book now specifies an industry-agreed method for calculating signal strength and quality. This will ensure TVs and boxes place channels with the best reception in their region at primary LCNs in the programme guide.

Identification of broadcast changes: All of the changes that might take place on the broadcast network are now specified in the D-Book, along with clear indications of how TVs and boxes can spot them. Receivers will now be required to update automatically to take these changes into account within 24 hours of the change taking place.  

Notifying viewers of software updates: Many manufacturers now provide software updates to equipment via the internet due to large file sizes. Unfortunately, not every TV or box is permanently connected. D-Book 8 specifies a mechanism for alerting non-connected viewers that an update is available if they connect their TV or box.  

All of the changes above will be present in receivers on sale from spring 2016, helping to ensure DTT equipment continues to evolve with the development of Freeview and our viewers have the best possible experience.

The D-Book is available to DTG members. Click here for more information.

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