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18 February 2016

NovelSat hopes history will repeat itself on next gen DVB-S

NovelSat is at it again, no sooner has the DVB project agreed to set a new standard and rivals barely got it out the door, than NovelSat launched a new version of its using proprietary extensions, claiming yet another 22% throughput improvement.

NovelSat’s NS3 was part of the technology that went into the creation of the DVB-2SX standard, but not the only one, after a multi-year campaign to get the standards body to take notice. Most people at DVB thought DVB-S2 was the end of the trail for satellite for some years to come, because it was getting close to the Shannon limit, and it was generally held that only an improvement of 30% of greater made it worth issuing a new standard.

But in 2011 when DVB-S2 was only 8 years old NovelSat introduce NS3 using 64 APSK (amplitude phase shift keying) with new constellation shaping algorithms, a previously dismissed encoding approach and said at the time that it produced roughly 20% more throughput than DVB-S2 and that more was in the pipeline, so this new claim at 22% looks to be the beginning of a similar campaign. The technology was implementable with a single chip swap out at a ground station and at the receiver. NovelSat got even more throughput improvement when a 72 MHz transponder was used by multiplexing two signals.

Now the same PR story is on the cards once more, with NovelSat NS4 available as an optional software package in all NovelSat satellite modems which are also backward compatible DVB-S, DVB-S2 and DVB-S2X. NovelSat is bring this story out just as everyone is seeking extra capacity for 4K and UHD video delivery.

NovelSat boasts that where DVB-S2 is being used (rather than DVB-SX) it can boost capacity by up to 45% in the same bandwidth. It has also released a bandwidth calculator so that satellite players can work out what their financial gains would be by using the technology.

We will no doubt get a relatively hostile reaction to this announcement from DVB, but that doesn’t mean that NovelSat won’t accelerate the arrival of the next DVB satellite standard.