VSB Translators Extend DTV Coverage

According to Zenith, the orginator of the VSB digital transmission system behind over-the-air broadcast of DTV and HDTV, "there will be no urban-rural 'digital divide' in the delivery of digital television (DTV) service." The company says that this is thanks in large part to ATSC VSB translators that it has developed.

Terrestrial translators are often required to extend the range of DTV signals and maximize a broadcaster's coverage area, and they represent a "top priority" says Zenith, which adds that in recent months it has forged alliances with a broad range of agricultural and other predominately rural interests to ensure that "these Americans are an integral part of the digital television revolution."

Partnering with a group of Utah TV broadcasters, for example, Zenith says it is helping to test and implement a strategy of linking a number of rural, and in some cases geographically remote, stations with their more urban counterparts. The company states that "this in turn should help guarantee that viewers living beyond the range of major media markets receive a robust signal and enjoy the full benefits of both DTV and digital HDTV."

According to Zenith, its ATSC PSIP Enhanced VSB Translator offers the ability to coexist with adjacent channels present in the current FCC channel allotment. "By using a high-quality VSB front-end processor, the translator can be tuned to any terrestrial broadcast channel. Adjacent channels are rejected and in-band noise is removed by the translator, producing a clean baseband MPEG stream." The company adds that baseband processing enables the manipulation of the PSIP information to reflect the new channel assignment transmitted by the terrestrial translator system, and the enhanced signal is then modulated for retransmission through digital low-power terrestrial transmitters.

Zenith says that the PSIP enhanced process also alters the Virtual Channel Table to reflect the new physical channels for both the DTV signal and the analog signal when available in the PSIP stream. "This means that consumers' televisions are able to navigate properly using PSIP and that broadcasters have the ability to retain their branding and original channel identity," says the company.