New satellite tech allows up to eight channels to be streamed around the home via cheap Ethernet cables that could slash the cost of multi-room TV.
The prototype IP-LNB converts satellite signals into data streams that can be carried over home networks from the satellite dish, getting rid of expensive coaxial cable.
It’s been developed by satellite operator SES with tech firms Inverto, Abilis and MaxLinear, using the SAT>IP open standard created by SES.
“The IP-LNB will give satellite television providers and consumers new options for distributing unmatched quality satellite television to multiple TVs, computers and tablets over IP at the lowest cost,” said Thomas Wrede of SES Reception Systems.
“When we committed ourselves to making SAT>IP an open standard, we envisioned this type of innovation. It is exciting to see it now come to fruition.”
The IP-LNB effectively puts a satellite receiver on the dish inside the LNB – that funny-looking lump of plastic at the end of the dish’s arm from where the cable runs to your Freesat or Sky box.
It uses MaxLinear’s Full Spectrum Capture DVB-S2 receiver chip to tune into up to eight different TV channels, which are then converted into IP data streams by the Abilis Broadcast-to-Broadband Bridge.
These can be carried over Ethernet, WiFi, Powerline or any other kind of home network to be decoded by TVs, set-top boxes, laptops, tablets or smartphones.
Eight HD video streams will need at least 50Mbps of reliable capacity to live alongside other data – let alone the 160Mbps which eight Ultra HD channels might require – so the IP-LNB works with Gigabit Ethernet standards.
Using networks will make it easier for installers to fit the LNB and satellite receivers, and allow remote diagnosis of problems via the internet.
Devices like Sky+HD will be able to go beyond twin tuners at the same time as becoming compact, low-power devices without the built-in satellite tuners they have today.
Companies like Sky will have to replace copper coaxial cables with Ethernet in millions of customers’ homes to take full advantage of the new technology.
Early adopters who pay the installation bill could benefit from a wealth of new services through their home network.