Digital Video Broadcasting: International Open Standards for Digital Television
Digital Video Broadcasting: International Open Standards for Digital Television

DVB or Digital Video Broadcasting is being increasingly adopted as the standard for digital television in majority of countries. The DVB project was an industry led association of over 270 television broadcasting associated companies all across the globe. The DVB standard comes with many advantages when compared with previous analogue standards and has enabled television to take a leap in terms of its technology.

If we talk about the modern broadcasting, DVB or Digital Video Broadcasting has panned out as one of the success stories today. The engagement has been colossal and is currently deployed in over 80 countries worldwide, including most of Europe and also within parts of America. Moreover, it also offers advantages in terms of greater efficiency in terms of spectrum usage and power consumption as well as being able to affect considerably more facilities and the ability to work alongside existing analogue services.

History of Digital Video Broadcasting


From the primitive days of television until the 1990s, all television broadcasts were made using the analogue television and it was never feasible to introduce a digital system due to the complexity of the processing required. However, with the innovation in digital processing techniques and the advancements made in integrated circuit technology the possibility of using digital techniques for television broadcasting turned out to be a real possibility.

Consequently, over the course of 1991 several organizations discussed how to move forward with the idea and how exactly to form a European platform that could enable considerable economies of scale to be accomplished. And as a result, the formed organization was named Electronic Launching Group (ELG). It helped develop a memorandum of Understanding that was signed in 1993. Therefore, at the same time it got renamed as the DVB or Digital Video Broadcasting Project, and the development of technologies and standards began to tread ahead at a rapid pace.

The first DVB standard that was shown the green signal was the DVB-S standard for satellite transmission which came into effect in 1994. With the standard coming into play, services started in the early 1995. The DVB system used for terrestrial transmissions, DVB-T was agreed upon later, in 1997. The first companies to deploy this system were Sweden, launching their system in 1998, and UL launching their system a year later.


Agreement of DVB Specifications

The way in which specifications are developed, agreed and released may seem rather complex, but it has proven itself as a successful system, allowing parties to keep their opinion in the development and maintenance of the DVB or Digital Video Broadcasting system and its technology. The member organizations of the DVB project develop and agree specifications. Once greed, they are further passed on to the EBU/CENELEC/ETSI Joint Technical Committee, for approval. The specifications are then further formally standardized either by CENELEC or, in majority of cases, ETSI.

The DVB project is basically managed by the DVB Project Office. This is staffed be personnel who are employees of the European Broadcasting Union in Geneva, Switzerland. Apart from being technical employees of the EBU, they work exclusively in the interests of the members of the DVB project.


DVB is an open system as compared to a closed system. Closed systems are content provider-oriented, not expandable, and is only optimized for television. However, open systems such as DVB enables the subscriber to choose different content providers and enables integration of PCs and televisions. DVB systems are optimized not only for television but also for home shopping and banking, private network broadcasting, and interactive viewing.

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