Revolutionizing Broadcasting: The Potential of the 700 MHz Band for EU Startups

From TV Broadcasting to Event Coverage, How European Startups are Leveraging the Power of the 700 MHz Spectrum

Key Takeaways:

  1. The use of the sub-700 MHz band has seen significant growth and improvements, particularly for digital terrestrial television (DTT) and Program Making and Special Events (PMSE).
  2. European startups have begun to leverage this technology, capitalizing on the advancements and potential of the 700 MHz band.
  3. The transition to new broadcasting standards such as DVB-T2 and HEVC is happening in many member states, though there are still areas for improvement.
  4. The advent of 5G Broadcast holds immense potential but is riddled with uncertainties regarding availability and business models.
  5. Differences exist among Member States in their preferred platform for watching linear TV, which can impact the effectiveness of broadcasting strategies.

The Transformation of Broadcasting through the 700 MHz Band

The sub-700 MHz UHF band, reserved for use by television stations and wireless audio equipment to support broadcasting and event coverage, is currently a hot topic in the European Union. Amidst technological advancements and a shift in viewing habits, the landscape of TV broadcasting and event coverage is undergoing a paradigm shift, powered by this particular spectrum.

The Current State of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT)

Approximately 60% of all national multiplexes are already employing the most advanced transmission standard (DVB-T2), with nearly 40% of them leveraging the most advanced encoding standard (HEVC). Additionally, at least 12 Member States have started using Single Frequency Networks (SFNs) in their DTT networks to some extent.

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However, there’s an issue with uptake in some Member States, primarily due to the low adoption of DTT, which hampers the commercial viability of upgrades. Despite this, the widespread adoption of advanced standards bodes well for startups looking to tap into this space.

The Promise and Peril of 5G Broadcast

5G Broadcast appears to be a promising solution that’s gathering considerable interest with multiple trials underway. But uncertainties persist, specifically concerning the availability of 5G broadcast equipment and the lack of appropriate business models. For European startups in the broadcasting and event coverage space, this represents a challenge as well as an opportunity. By investing in research and development for 5G broadcast equipment and business models, startups can lead the way towards a 5G broadcasting future.

Linear TV and the Prevailing Platforms

Linear TV, watched on different platforms such as DTT, satellite, cable, or IPTV, remains a popular choice, particularly among older generations. However, the demand for these platforms, apart from IPTV, is expected to decrease by 2030.

Interestingly, significant differences exist among Member States in terms of the predominant platform for watching linear TV. While DTT is the preferred platform in Italy and Spain, cable is favored in Belgium and Denmark, and IPTV in France and Slovenia. This difference in preferences offers startups the opportunity to tailor their services to the specific needs and preferences of each region.

Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE)

The use of the sub-700 MHz spectrum for PMSE also varies substantially between EU countries, depending on the number or frequencies of events. Despite technological developments improving the spectral efficiency of PMSE, the rising demand can be challenging to meet in many cases.

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European Startups and the 700 MHz Opportunity

Given the aforementioned factors, European startups have the opportunity to exploit this burgeoning field by innovating in the broadcasting sector. Startups can leverage the improved spectral efficiency and developing technologies to offer new products and services that cater to the ever-changing consumption habits of consumers.

Startups can also create targeted solutions for different Member States, factoring in the preferred viewing platforms of each region. Given the predicted rise in IPTV usage, there is considerable potential for startups to invest in this platform.

Conclusion

The 700 MHz band is revolutionizing the broadcasting landscape across the European Union. From DTT to PMSE, there are significant opportunities for European startups to drive innovation and tap into this growing market. By harnessing the power of the 700 MHz spectrum, startups can provide cutting-edge solutions that cater to the evolving viewing preferences of consumers and the increasing demand for efficient broadcasting services.


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