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F.B.I. Is Said to Be Investigating College Admissions Practices at T.M. Landry

By Katie Benner and Erica L. Green

The private school in Louisiana, once celebrated for helping underprivileged and minority students attend elite colleges, is now under federal investigation over its college applications.

Fox, NBCUniversal, and Viacom unveil OpenAP 2.0

By Robert Briel

Fox, NBCUniversal, and Viacom have unveiled OpenAP 2.0, expanding the advanced audience platform into a centralised premium video marketplace with workflow automation for national linear and long-form digital video, developed in collaboration with Accenture and FreeWheel.

This development will go live in time for Fall 2019 campaigns.

“We’re thrilled to bring to market our latest iteration of OpenAP, which fundamentally transforms the way that advertisers can transact to deliver holistic advanced audience campaigns from start to finish on both linear and long-form digital platforms, in collaboration with Accenture and FreeWheel. OpenAP was the TV industry’s first open platform for cross-publisher audience targeting and independent third-party posting, and this is a major step in furthering our mission to bring the industry together to make audience buying more transparent, consistent, and effective,” said Meredith Brace, Executive Vice President of Client Solutions and Portfolio Marketing, Fox; Krishan Bhatia, Executive Vice President of Business Operations and Strategy, NBCUniversal; and John Halley, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Ad Solutions, Viacom, in a joint statement.

With OpenAP 2.0, buyers will now be able to build consistent, cross-publisher audience segments for both national linear and long-form digital video, and submit orders to activate these segments through a centralized cross-publisher marketplace. Built in collaboration with Accenture and FreeWheel, OpenAP 2.0 will be accessible at OpenAP.tv and via APIs for agency planning systems and approved DSPs. In addition, OpenAP 2.0 will provide cross-publisher analytics for a unified view of advanced audience campaigns, with comprehensive pre-campaign performance projections and post-campaign delivery metrics, including total unduplicated reach, overall tCPM, and total audience impressions.

“Advanced targeting, transparency and simplicity are critical to our clients. OpenAP enables advertisers access to advanced audiences at scale with the highest quality TV content available across screens. FOX and the other members of OpenAP are committed to driving open standards that are essential to the success of our brand and agency partners,” said Marianne Gambelli, President, Advertising Sales, FOX.

“With competition rising in every industry, marketers need new ways to define their audience and engage viewers across all platforms. Expanding OpenAP can help turn that vision into a reality. Krishan Bhatia and a group of industry leaders are creating solutions that will benefit the entire advertising ecosystem, and that should be commended,” said Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising and Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal.

“We’re incredibly proud of the pioneering work that our team and OpenAP partners have accomplished in unifying and standardizing the television business. OpenAP’s evolution into a transactional platform is intended to simplify activation for our brand and agency partners, which we believe will significantly impact the scale of advanced advertising moving forward. We couldn’t be more excited,” said Sean Moran, Head of Ad Solutions, Viacom.

Launched in 2017, OpenAP was founded to make it easier for advertisers to reach unified custom audience segments across TV publishers by delivering consistency and standardization with secure segment sharing and independent measurement. Members of OpenAP include FOX, NBCUniversal, Viacom, and Univision.

NAB 2019: Rohde & Schwarz presents 5G Broadcast

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German technology company Rohde & Schwarz will present a solution for the future transmission of media content with 5G Broadcast at NAB 2019.

Broadcasters will be able to reach smartphone users directly by using a high-power high-tower (HPHT) network topology as an overlay for mobile networks.

As a part of the Bavarian research project 5G Today, Rohde & Schwarz is investigating large-scale TV broadcasts over an HPHT 5G Broadcast field trial near Munich. The project is also supported by Kathrein, Telefónica Germany and Bavarian public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk, who is providing two HPHT sites for the field trial.

Using the HPHT concept will allow broadcasters to distribute video over 5G networks with all the advantages of classic broadcasting like high quality levels as known from HDTV broadcasting, low latency live content as well as enormous spectrum efficiency and wide coverage, according to Rohde & Schwarz. This will enable broadcasters to bring their assets for efficient distribution of high-quality video into the future 5G ecosystem.

With a cell radius of more than 60 km in each transmission area, 5G Broadcast offers broad coverage for transmitting media content, even in rural areas. This reduces necessary infrastructure investments since large areas can be covered with just a few transmitters.

The company will highlight the advantages of this technology at the Rohde & Schwarz booth and will demonstrate the first end-to-end solution for LTE/5G Broadcast.

Afro Emojis Don’t Exist. These Women Want to Change That.

By SANDRA E. GARCIA

“I want to create a space where we can bring that big-hair energy and celebrate our roots in digital spaces,” said one of the women behind a petition to add the emoji.

TV broadcasting via 5G trial launches in Germany

By JΓΆrn Krieger

A transmitter from German technology company Rohde & Schwarz successfully went into operation at the Wendelstein transmitter site of Bavarian public broadcaster BR on December 4, 2018 as part of the 5G Today research project.

In addition, fellow project partner Kathrein completed an antenna test operation at BR’s transmitter site in Ismaning near Munich.

The introduction of 5G will open up a worldwide market with millions of smartphones and tablets acting as potential TV receivers able to combine live TV, catch-up and on-demand services, social networks and other media application, according to the project partners.

“With 5G Broadcast, a new, very efficient distribution method is currently being created to provide stationary and, above all, mobile users with high-quality linear and hybrid channels and services,” said Helwin Lesch, head of BR’s distribution and controlling department. “BR is particularly interested in the possibility of broadcasting radio and TV channels via 5G. The 5G-HTHP technology allows widescale distribution of content in the existing broadcast frequency range. No additional frequency spectrum is required for this.”

LTE Broadcast, also known as FeMBMS (Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service), was specified in 3GPP Release 14 in June 2017. It defines new options for broadcasting to LTE-enabled mobile user equipment such as smartphones and tablets. For the first time, the upgraded standard allows high-power high-tower (HPHT) applications in downlink only mode while utilising the full signal bandwidth for multicast/broadcast applications. Moreover, 3GPP Release 14 defines an extended cyclic prefix (guard interval) and modes to enable operation without SIM cards, which is necessary for broadcast applications.

The R&S THU9evo high-power transmitter with a transmission power of 5 kW (100 kW ERP) and the specially developed antenna from German technology company Kathrein are part of the LTE Broadcast test transmission. The Rohde & Schwarz FeMBMS transmission addresses broadcast applications for video and IP data in HPHT topologies with bandwidths of 5 MHz and 10 MHz. The transmitter receives the reference and configuration data via 3GPP-conform protocols from an LTE EPC (Evolved Packet Core). The research project uses the Rohde & Schwarz broadcast service and control centre R&S BSCC that contains all necessary EPC functions. The broadcast services are provided by BR and transferred to the R&S BSCC via an R&S AVHE100 headend.

The transmitters in Ismaning and on the Wendelstein mountain form a Single Frequency Network (SFN), which is to enable mobile and portable reception in the greater Munich area as well as on the main traffic routes between Munich and Salzburg. Kathrein developed a special antenna for the transmission of diversity signals for the transmitter station in Ismaning. 12 UHF antenna fields were installed at a height of 200 meters. The project also included the installation of a 370-metre long, arm-thick HF transmission cable. Another Rohde & Schwarz high-power transmitter with 7 kW output power for 100 kW ERP is to be connected to the antenna at the end of January 2019. The test broadcasting network will then be prepared for the measurements.

The 5G field trial is established in Germany as part of the Bavarian research project 5G Today. The project is funded by the Bavarian Research Foundation. Under the leadership of the Institute for Broadcast Technology (IRT), project partners Kathrein and Rohde & Schwarz are investigating large-scale TV broadcasts in the FeMBMS mode over 5G broadcast networks. The project is supported by Telefónica Germany and ARD’s Bavarian affiliate BR, who is providing two HPHT sites near Munich for this field trial.

Ukraine eyes local DVB-T2 channels

By Chris Dziadul

The Ukrainian regulator National Council, in cooperation with other government bodies, is looking into the possibility of local TV channels employing the DVB-T2 standard.

They would be launched following the final switch off of analogue broadcasting on May 1, 2019 and cover both areas in which digital reception is possible and ‘white spots’ where there is no digital signal.

In a statement, the National Council says it has produced step-by-step instructions for broadcasters with analogue licences and not currently represented in digital multiplexes.

They are invited to submit documentation to the regulator by November 30.

Rohde & Schwarz sets up TV broadcasting over 5G trial

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German technology company Rohde & Schwarz has initiated the world’s first dynamic single-frequency network (SFN) with FeMBMS signals in the lab.

The trial takes place within the framework of the 5G Today research project and in cooperation with the Institute for Communications Technology of the Braunschweig Technical University.

LTE Broadcast, also known as Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (FeMBMS), was specified in 3GPP Release 14 in mid-2017. The upgraded standard defines new options for broadcasting to LTE-enabled mobile user equipment such as smartphones and tablets. For the first time, it allows high power high tower (HPHT) applications in downlink only mode.

The new features make it possible to utilise the full signal bandwidth for multicast/broadcast applications. Moreover, 3GPP Release 14 defines an extended cyclic prefix (corresponding to the guard interval in DVB-T/T2) and modes to enable operation without SIM cards, which is necessary for the broadcast application.

The Rohde & Schwarz FeMBMS transmission addresses broadcast applications for video and IP data in HPHT topologies with bandwidths of 5 MHz and 10 MHz. With the trial set-up, the company wants to demonstrate the potential held by 5G Broadcast for applications such as TV services delivered to mobile user equipment and connected cars, and for IoT applications.

Like all SFN networks, the Rohde & Schwarz LTE Broadcast SFN network requires synchronisation information, which is made available to each FeMBMS transmitter via the M1 application protocol. The sync information is generated by an Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and completed by an incoming IP-based video data stream, which is either generated or encoded and multiplexed by a headend. SYNC timestamps are inserted into the data stream to generate the M1 user plane data. This data is routed via IP networks to the FeMBMS transmitters, which transmit the signal simultaneously. The FeMBMS signal is received by a software defined radio (SDR).

Currently, a major European 5G field trial is being established in Germany as part of the 5G Today Bavarian research project. Under the leadership of the Institute for Broadcast Technology (IRT), project partners Kathrein and Rohde & Schwarz are investigating large-scale TV broadcast transmissions in FeMBMS mode over 5G Broadcast networks. The project is supported by Telefónica Germany and Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), the Bavarian affiliate of German public broadcaster ARD. BR is providing two HPHT sites near Munich for the field trial.

KPN’s Digitenne starts DVB-T2 transition

By Chris Dziadul

KPN has begun the transition of its DTT platform Digitenne to the DVB-T2 standard.

In a statement, it says that preparations for the process will start this month.

The transition will be undertaken step by step on a regional basis, with North East Netherlands being the first on October 2 and other regions following in 2019.

Customers have been informed about the need to change old Digitenne equipment for a new TV receiver. The transition will be completed by January 1, 2020 at the latest.

KPN also says that alongside the transition to DVB-T2 it is improving Digitenne as a product.

While the number of channels will remain the same, they will be offered in HD rather than SD.

Last jury, KPN outlined the timeline for the switchover of its Digitenne terrestrial pay TV platform to DVB-T2/HEVC.

Unitymedia to roll out Gigabit internet in Frankfurt

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German cable operator Unitymedia will offer 1Gbps internet access in Frankfurt from October 2018.

The move will turn Frankfurt into Unitymedia’s second Gigabit city following the rollout in Bochum; the deployment in further cities is to be announced shortly.

The Gigabit connection will be available across Unitymedia’s entire coverage area in Frankfurt and can be accessed by around 380,000 households, corresponding with 90% of all Frankfurt households.

For the high-speed upgrade, Unitymedia is equipping its fibre-optic-based cable network with gigabit-capable network elements and introducing the new cable standard DOCSIS 3.1. The service will provide a data rate of up to 1,000Mbps for downloads and up to 50Mbps for uploads.

For new customers, the Gigabit tariff will cost €99.99 per month with a minimum contract term of 24 months. In Bochum, Unitymedia currently offers 1Gbps access for just €49.99 per month. This is a temporary special price in the first Gigabit city, a Unitymedia spokesperson told Broadband TV News.

Frankfurt’s upgrade to become the first metropolitan area in German federal state Hesse with city-wide Gigabit coverage is part of the Europe-wide GIGAWorld initiative of Unitymedia’s parent group Liberty Global. The company will soon announce its Gigabit expansion plans based on DOCSIS 3.1 for other European countries.

Unitymedia starts Gigabit internet rollout

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German cable operator Unitymedia has launched its first commercial 1Gbps internet service in the town Bochum on May 7, 2018.

170,000 households – corresponding with around 90% of all households in Bochum – can sign up for the high-speed service Unitymedia introduced in cooperation with the City of Bochum and local public utilities company Stadtwerke Bochum.

The Gigabit tariff 2play FLY 1000, which comprises up to 1Gbps download speed and up to 50Mbps upload speed as well as a telephone line with unlimited calls to German fixed-line numbers, is currently offered to end-customers for €49.99 per month. The minimum contract term is 24 months.

Afterwards, the regular price of €109.99 per month will be charged. The introductory offer ends on July 31, 2018. From the middle of the year, Unitymedia wants to offer a Gigabit tariff for business customers.

In recent months, the Liberty Global subsidiary has equipped its fibre-optic-based cable network in Bochum with Gigabit-capable network elements. The high-speed service is based on DOCSIS 3.1. Unitymedia is the first German cable operator that has implemented and activated the new cable standard for its customers.

The company wants to provide further towns and regions with Gigabit access by the end of the year.

Deutsche Telekom to axe analogue cable TV

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Deutsche Telekom will terminate the distribution of analogue TV and radio channels as part of its wholesale cable TV supply service for the housing industry, a spokesman of the German telco confirmed to Broadband TV News.

The channels will then only be provided in digital. The digital line-up comprises more than 135 unencrypted TV channels including 25 channels in HD resolution, more than 35 foreign-language channels, pay-TV packages and radio stations.

In April 2018, Telekom will conduct an analogue switch-off trial in federal states Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, said the spokesman. The gradual analogue switch-off across the whole of Germany will commence after the FIFA Football World Championship in August and take until the end of 2018.

On a dedicated website, cable customers are informed about analogue switch-off. Telekom also wants to insert scrolling text messages into analogue channels and offer a telephone hotline.

With the move, the telco is in line with the other German cable players planning analogue switch-off at the end of 2018. As part of the initiative Digitales Kabel, Telekom supports the project office coordinating analogue switch-off together with the media authorities, industry associations, TV broadcasters and cable operators.

Germany rolls out TV broadcasting via 5G trial

By JΓΆrn Krieger

A test site for TV broadcasting over 5G networks is being set up in the Bavarian Oberland region as part of research project 5G Today.

Under the leadership of the German Institute for Broadcast Technology (IRT), project partners Kathrein and Rohde & Schwarz are investigating large-scale TV broadcasts in the Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (FeMBMS) mode over 5G networks.

The project is supported by associated partners Telefónica Germany and Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR), the Bavarian affiliate of German public broadcaster ARD. BR is operating the 5G FeMBMS broadcast network as a test site at its transmitter locations.

The introduction of 5G could open up a worldwide market with millions of smartphones and tablets acting as potential TV receivers able to combine live TV services, media libraries, social networks and many other media services, according to the project partners. With the cooperation of European broadcasters and industry players, international standardisation work to enable efficient broadcasting in large 4G and 5G networks was completed in June 2017.

“Together with EBU, BBC, RAI and SWR and industry partners, we have defined the broadcasting requirements for 5G and successfully incorporated them in the international standard,” said Jochen Mezger, General Manager, Business Area Network Technologies at IRT. “Requirements include a 100% broadcasting mode and increased channel spacing. We are pleased that the 5G Today project allows us to implement and evaluate standardisation results at a test site.”

Large and smaller transmitter cells are combined to create a large coverage area. The first test broadcasts using TV signals are expected to take place at the end of 2018. They will be simultaneously broadcast on channel 56 from the BR’s Wendelstein transmitter site (pictured above) and other locations in the Munich area. Until then, components for transmission and reception will be developed and installed, and theoretical studies and preliminary investigations will take place.

Professor Birgit Spanner-Ulmer, Director Production and Technology at BR, said: “With the development of 5G, the standard approaches the classic parameters of a broadcasting system which will enable widespread and economic distribution of television channels. We welcome the opportunity offered by the 5G Today project to test the network of the future with our existing broadcasting infrastructure.”

Jaime Lluch, Director Radio Access Network at Telefónica Germany, added: “As a global network operator and a member of the Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN) Alliance, we want to support testing of media content distribution over modern and converged 5G networks. That’s why, if needed, we will give 5G Today another 700 MHz spectrum, one of the 5G frequency bands prioritised by the EU Commission.”

Manfred Reitmeier, Senior Director of R&D Transmitter Systems at Rohde & Schwarz, explained: “The 5G standard offers a unique opportunity to intelligently link the strengths of broadcasting transmission with the extensive opportunities in mobile communications. We are actively involved in this groundbreaking research project, contributing our leading technological expertise in terrestrial transmitter technology and mobile communications T&M technology in order to create the basis for efficiently transmitting media content to mobile and portable devices.”

Ralf Exler, Head of Innovation Management at Kathrein, feels that this project plays an important role in the convergence of broadcasting and mobile communications: “Young people in particular want to receive broadcast content on all user devices. The new standard brings the convergent network a little bit closer.” Customers do not have to worry about how they receive the content they use. “In 5G Today, we will be optimising the antennas and network parameters in the field and conducting test drives in order to be able to offer innovative technology to our automotive customers.”

The 5G Today research project will be funded by the Bavarian Research Foundation over the course of 28 months.

Germany evaluates TV broadcasting via 5G

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German broadcast technology institute IRT wants to examine through a research project to what extend the new mobile network standard 5G is suitable for the large-scale transmission of TV channels.

The 5G broadcast mode FeMBMS (Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service), a further development of eMBMS, will be employed at the project 5G Today for which a test field is currently set up in the Bavarian Oberland region.

The partners are technology companies Kathrein and Rohde & Schwarz; associated partners are mobile network operator Telefónica Deutschland and Bavarian public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) which will operate the 5G-FeMBMS broadcast network at its transmitter sites.

With the introduction of 5G, a global market could emerge with millions of smartphones and tablets as potential TV reception devices using live TV, catch-up services, social networks and other media services through 5G networks.

“Together with EBU, BBC, RAI and SWR as well as industry partners, we have defined the broadcasting requirements for 5G and successfully submitted them to international standardisation. These include, among other things, a 100% broadcast mode and increased space between transmitter sites. We are pleased that we are now able to implement and evaluate the standardisation results in a test field in the 5G Today project,” said Jochen Mezger, Head of the Network Technology Department at IRT.

The research project, which has a duration of 28 months, combines the far-reaching distribution of TV signals through the major BR transmitter site Wendelstein with smaller BR transmitter locations in the Munich area. The first transmissions are scheduled to begin at the end of 2018.

Professor Birgit Spanner-Ulmer, Director of Production and Technology at BR, explained: “The developments in 5G bring the standard closer to the classic parameters of a broadcasting system. This will enable widespread and economic transmission of TV channels. We welcome the opportunity in the 5G Today project to test the network of the future using our existing broadcast infrastructure.”

German cable players unite for analogue switch-off

By JΓΆrn Krieger

The German media authorities have jointly with industry associations, cable operators and TV broadcasters founded the initiative Digitales Kabel to accompany the transition to sole digital TV distribution on German cable networks.

A jointly financed project office which has now commenced its work has been set up to coordinate and support the move. The project office wants to provide cable customers with information and assistance and encourage a regionally coordinated switchover involving the housing industry, retailers and hardware manufacturers.

The members of the initiative Digitales Kabel are the media authorities, cable association ANGA, network operators Vodafone Deutschland, Telekom Deutschland and PŸUR, commercial broadcaster association VPRT and broadcast groups ARD, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland and ProSiebenSat.1. Consultancy and research group Goldmedia has been commissioned to operate the project office.

With the creation of a joint project office, the parties involved have chosen a procedure that has proven to be successful during technical conversions in the past, most recently the switchover on DTT from DVB-T to DVB-T2 and analogue switch-off on Astra (19.2° East).

The removal of the analogue TV channels on cable networks makes room for further digital and HD channels as well as high-speed internet access in the Gigabit range.

Unitymedia was the first German cable operator to have completed analogue switch-off in July 2017. Vodafone initially conducted a pilot project in the Bavarian region Landshut and Dingolfing on January 9, 2018 with a second one to follow in Nuremberg and surrounding towns on May 15, 2018 before commencing large-scale analogue switch-off across its whole footprint in summer 2018.

Regional cable operators wilhelm.tel and NetCologne also announced analogue switch-off.

In federal states Bavaria and Saxony, analogue switch-off on cable is mandated by the local media law for December 31, 2018 at the latest; there is no comparable regulation in the other 14 federal states. The project office expects the full digitisation of the TV line-up on German cable networks to be completed in early 2019.

TV broadcast delivery improved on 4G and 5G networks

By Robert Briel

Efficient and cost-effective broadcasting of TV programmes to smartphones and tablets has come a step closer to reality.

In June 2017, the 3G Partnership Project (3GPP) international standardisation body finalised Release 14, which supports critical prerequisites for broadcast content delivery in large-cell 4G and 5G networks. At their third conference in Munich, the 5G Media Initiative, a special-interest group made up of leading corporations and organizations, announced that with these enhancements, Release 14 offers characteristics that approximate those enjoyed with classical terrestrial broadcast methods.

With Release 14 finalised, implementation in devices, services and networks can be started. The extensions to the 3GPP standard include numerous improvements to the existing evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast System (eMBMS). These improvements provide the technical framework for economical programme delivery and unrestricted access to TV programmes. The new specification includes features such as reception without a SIM card and without authentication, as well as the option of using up to 100 % of the available transmission capacity for broadcast applications. Significantly enlarged transmitter spacings permit the use of broadcast transmitter stations for economical area coverage. A receive-only mode without requiring a return channel was also established in the 3GPP standard.

Network operators will be able to combine various TV content delivery methods along with interactivity. Mobile network operators do not need to transmit TV programmes in all of their networks simultaneously, which yields a high degree of efficiency. Transmission via a separate broadcast transmitter network would also be possible, allowing all wireless devices to receive TV programmes, whether or not a contract is in place. The standard also specifies that transport and coding formats currently employed in broadcasting shall also be available for use in 4G and 5G networks.

The requirements for improvements to the successful LTE/eMBMS standard had previously been defined by EBU, SWR, IRT, BBC and RAI along with industry partners, including Qualcomm, Nokia and Ericsson, and submitted to 3GPP. At the same time, the foundations for a seamless transition to 5G standardisation currently underway were laid; the standardisation is planned to be implemented in an initial phase in conjunction with LTE.

The first version of the new 5G standard is expected to be available by 2018, after which it will be continually enhanced to become a universal system for high-bandwidth data applications.

Starting in 2020, additional enhancements for broadcast applications are expected as part of 5G; these could be available by 2025 as popular broadcast services for the mass market.

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