U.S. Digital Television (USDTV), a multichannel pay TV service provider using terrestrial digital broadcast signals for delivery, is converting its entire network to MPEG-4 AVC. It will begin offering customers additional content choices this summer.
Formed in 2003 as a low-cost alternative to cable, USDTV currently has subscribers in Dallas/Fort Worth, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, NM, and Las Vegas.
MPEG-4 AVC compression reduces by over half the amount of spectrum required to broadcast conventional programming. The updated compression technology enables the company to more efficiently utilize the digital spectrum leased from its broadcast partners, creating increased revenue opportunities through expanded content and service offerings.
The company has developed a real-time MPEG-4 AVC to MPEG-2 transcoder in the form of a small adaptor that plugs into the USB port in existing USDTV set-top boxes. This device will allow the company to switch instantly to MPEG-4 AVC without the cost and burden of replacing the set-top boxes currently in customer homes. Later in the year, USDTV will begin shipping its next-generation set-top box, which includes MPEG-4 AVC and MPEG-2 codecs in the same box.
USDTV will demonstrate the first live MPEG-4 AVC broadcasts over its digital terrestrial network at the NAB convention in Las Vegas; at the ATSC DTV Hot Spot in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.