Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) and Fox have announced that Motorola has been selected to provide the satellite transmission equipment, including compression systems, multiplexors, and radios to enable Fox to transition all its satellite program distribution to 100% High Definition (HD) delivery, a move which will enable Fox viewers to benefit from the compelling clarity of HD content on the company’s broadcast network, national cable channels, regional sports networks, Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. The migration to Motorola technology, will be rolled out commencing Q109.
The transition to all-HD distribution will enable Fox to significantly streamline its distribution infrastructure as it moves from the current mix of SD and HD environments and diverse, multi-vendor technology platforms to a common all HD Motorola architecture. The need for parallel SD storage and distribution will be eliminated since Motorola radios will support the real time conversion of the HD content to the SD format.
“We realized some time ago that it was inevitable that all TV content was going to be produced and delivered in HD form. With this deployment the Fox programming services have taken a major step in that direction.” said Andrew G. Setos, President of Engineering for the Fox Group. He added “The Motorola team immediately understood and embraced our vision and designed a system that not only met our needs but that will establish a new benchmark for quality and reliability.”
“We are extremely pleased to be working with Fox’s programming services on this key initiative that no doubt will become a model for future programming distribution in our industry,” said Kevin Wirick, VP Marketing with Motorola’s IP Video Solutions business. “Ongoing collaboration between Motorola engineers and the Fox design team has resulted in an HD distribution project that leverages all of the significant advancements that Motorola has made in HD compression, professional satellite radio development, and sophisticated network control.”
As part of the migration, Fox will provide its affiliates with Motorola’s DSR-6000 commercial digital satellite radio that include the capability to derive an SD version of the HD content transmitted by Fox. The Motorola radios will read the standardized Active Format Descriptor information carried with the HD content that specifies the appropriate image composition for 3×4 aspect ratio SD TV sets.
Fox will be able to manage these radios using Motorola’s powerful Broadcast Network Control System(SM). This will give the company the ability to ‘health check’ both uplink and downlink paths, ensuring that all radios are online and functioning at maximum efficiency. In addition this will enable Fox to manage complex functions such as sports retunes, time zone selection, and restorals.
Fox will utilize Motorola’s SE-3000 high quality HD encoders to distribute its programming via satellite. Their functionality includes statistical multiplexing – to enable Fox to effectively combine individual HD streams into multiplexes operating with payloads as high as 73 Mb/s. The DSR-6000 radio will convert the appropriate HD stream to the properly formatted SD signal as well as passing the HD signal as ASI or IP. Both the DSR-6000 and the SE-3000 will employ DVB-S2 modulation, enabling the efficient and robust delivery of high quality content via satellite.
Availability and choice in HD content continues to grow in importance to consumer audiences. In a recent study, Motorola found that the majority of Millennial generation users (young adults 16-27) with HDTV access “love” current HD programming, while 35% are looking forward to having a broader selection of HD programming offered in the future.