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CMMB tries sneak attack in the US, on back of wide eco-system

The Chinese mobile TV system is ever hopeful and a US initiative called CMMB America hopes to undermine the ATSC M/H efforts to provide a broadcast st


Published: 31 March, 2011


The Chinese mobile TV system is ever hopeful and a US initiative called CMMB America hopes to undermine the ATSC M/H efforts to provide a broadcast style mobile TV service, but using the Chinese technology and shipping in devices from China.

To that purpose CMMB America, a US organization affiliated CMMB Vision Holdings, itself funded out of Hong Kong, says it has demonstrated the technology in the US using UHF bandwidth. A statement out this week says that CMMB America, together with Canadian technology provider Unique Broadband Systems (UBS) and Hong Kong affiliate CMMB Vision, talked about the trial although it doesn’t say who owned the frequencies only that they were “cellular” and said the trial was held near Denver, Colorado.

CMMB America says this “validates CMMB’s ability to cohabitate with cellular technologies as well as its superior coverage over varying line of sight and non-line of sight environments.” What we take this to mean is that the high EIRP power needed in mobile TV systems has been shown not to interfere with neighboring UHF signals used for cellular, though we’re not sure how it could know this since no-one has deployed cellular in the US in UHF yet.

CMMB America will now conduct further technical tests in the US including the use of multiple UHF and S-Band satellite frequencies. CMMB is a little like Alcatel Lucent’s own DVB-SH and is quite a funny little hybrid technology, dreamed up to easily cover the varying topologies of China. It has two signals, one in S-Band from a satellite, and another from terrestrial ground stations in UHF. The idea is that although you cannot use a single frequency network to reinforce signals, there is some in-built use of this diversity on the chip so the two processed signals can reinforce one another. It has been shown to work, but then the Chinese market, and subsequent trials outside of China have led to only UHF signals being used, because China cancelled its contracts with EchoStar to deliver the satellite portion of the signal and never resurrected it.

A statement that CMMB America also plans to integrate CMMB with 3G/LTE networks to provide converged services makes little sense on its own, unless the idea is to harness a chunk of the UHF spectrum and use it from cellular towers built for UHF, to deliver a broadcast signal, something which we would question the economics of.

Canada’s UBS has been involved in many forms of broadcast Mobile TV over the years and is expert in OFDM signaling and was involved in trials of DVB-H in Canada at one point and makes Digital Broadcast Modulators for most types of broadcast networks.

CMMB America uses the diagram below to promise the one thing that most broadcast mobile TV efforts have stumbled on, and that’s devices ready for sale, which will be imported from the Chinese market.

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