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What is Digital Video Broadcasting?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 16, 2024
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Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) is the protocol that is set in place to define how digital broadcasting will take place making use of various types of audio and video communication networks. As such, it has to do with the way that broadcasting takes place using a mixture of cable, satellite, and terrestrial network infrastructures. This protocol is used in many parts of the world, with Australia, many parts of Europe and Asia, and countries located on the African continent all employing it as the broadcasting standard. The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) endorses the use of the technology.

The origins of DVB can be traced back to the early years of the 1990s. During this period, a number of European entities involved with general television broadcasting formed an organization known as the European Launching Group. The membership included a wide range of equipment manufacturers, broadcasting entities, and various government bodies charged with regulating television transmissions throughout countries within Europe. Over time, this group expanded to include other locations as well and renamed itself the DVB Project. At present, this group represents in excess of 200 different organizations that are located in just under 30 nations around the world.

One of the main purposes for DVB is to set the standards for uniform signal transmissions that will be secure. In establishing these standards, the protocols help to prevent the occurrence of transmission piracy. That is, in order to carry or receive the signals, the equipment must be manufactured within specific standards and be configured to specified frequencies. In order to carry the transmission, the standards also involve the use of carefully configured compression processes that allow the signal to be carried from a point of origin to a point of termination easily. At the receiving end, the equipment decompresses the received data and allows the broadcast to complete.

One advantage of using DVB as the protocol of choice in digital media broadcasting is the fact that it represents an open broadcasting system as opposed to a closed one. A closed system is usually content provider specific, can only be used with television broadcasts, and is usually fixed rather than expandable. DVB can provide all the functionality of a closed system, and allows the end user to make use of different content providers. It will also make it possible for personal computers and televisions to interact as a cohesive unit.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including EasyTechJunkie, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By SkyWhisperer — On Nov 11, 2011

@everetra - I think you nailed it. Open standards will do a lot towards providing more competition in the satellite and cable provider arena.

While I still think DVB is more popular overseas than in the United States, I think DVB will pave the way for new satellite providers in the United States to emerge and deliver high quality content to more end users.

Perhaps with increased competition satellite subscriptions fees will begin to drop or end users will have the choice to have “a la carte” offerings, instead of forcing us to buy bundles with channels we don’t want.

By everetra — On Nov 10, 2011

DVB brings meaning to the word “convergence.” Now you can watch satellite TV on your computer, in high definition, through the use of a DVB card.

The cards are still a few hundred dollars so I’ll wait awhile until the prices come down. But I predict that computer monitor technology will improve in quality until they are eventually comparable to high end plasma flat panel TVs.

When that happens, watching satellite TV on your computer will be as gratifying as watching the big screen flat panel in your living room. It’s the “open” nature of the DVB standard that will make that all possible.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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