Rich Redmond, Chief Product Officer, GatesAir
India's rich history in TV and radio broadcasting continues into 2017 with two major projects – the final of four stages that have comprised the national transition from analog to digital television and Phase-III of the FM radio licensing project, focused mainly on establishing new signals in small-to-medium cities. These two projects represent a continuing business opportunity for GatesAir that builds on decades of success in supplying AM, FM, and TV networks with turnkey systems for wireless, over-the-air content delivery.
On the television side, 2017 appears to be an active year in helping Doordarshan complete its transition to digital TV, with 44 DVB-T2 transmitters soon to be deployed to cover the remaining sections of India that have not yet transitioned.The seedlings of Doordarshan's transition began in 2003 upon its selection of the DVB-T standard. An initial deployment of four digital TV transmitters in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai in January 2003, positioned as an experimental service, paved the foundation for a transition that has continued to evolve and adapt for new opportunities. This includes experimental DVB-H mobile services in 2007 as well as a transition to the richer DVB-T2 standard, which supports mobile transmission capability in the form of DVB-T2 Lite.
On the radio side, GatesAir has long supplied All India Radio with solutions for high-power AM (medium and shortwave) and FM. Across India, GatesAir has been a leading supplier of turnkey systems to support the first two phases of the commercial FM radio licensing initiative. India also continues to invest in DRM solutions for digital radio, of which GatesAir is also a leading supplier.
A key reason for GatesAir's success in India over the years is its ability to provide a complete turnkey service, covering equipment, installation, commissioning, and ongoing service. For digital TV, this includes a complete bandwidth-efficient headend system to accommodate emerging over-the-air services, including multichannel terrestrial and mobile TV.
GatesAir's continued investment in new transmitter design and technology also delivers ongoing benefits for broadcasters in India. On the design side, high-efficiency LDMOS power amplifiers – the core of GatesAir's PowerSmart broadband amplification strategy for high efficiency – provide exceptional power density to reduce transmitter size and weight. This simplifies installation in RF plants with space limitations, while smarter interior designs minimize parts, conserve energy, and reduce maintenance. These benefits apply to both Maxiva TV and Flexiva FM radio transmitters, with the additional benefit of both reducing long-term operational costs over the lifecycle of the transmitter.
GatesAir has also invested in two very distinct approaches to transmitter design from a cooling perspective. While the company has long brought down the prices of solid-state air-cooling, its advanced designs have more recently done the same for liquid-cooling within both solid-state radio and TV transmitters. This reduces the need for broadcasters to invest the time and labor of maintaining tube transmitters, while delivering the same operational benefits of liquid-cooling. To obtain maximum efficiency, GatesAir's liquid-cooled design in most installations integrates low-noise pump modules within the transmitter to further reduce its already compact footprint. Two fully redundant cooling pumps operate in a closed-loop design, with auto-changeover capability in the event of a failure to ensure proper and constant transmitter cooling. This process minimizes the needs – and costs – associated with cooling a transmitter facility with tranditional air conditioning.
While transmitters remain the core of any over-the-air delivery system, GatesAir's recent innovations in IP connectivity to and within the RF plant – including carriage of radio program content from studio to transmitter, networking, and transport within DVB-T2 headends, and visibility into signal and network performance – are sure to provide broadcasters in India with many new opportunities for wireless over-the-air content delivery for years to come.