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October 2002

Q.1 : Define a set top box for digital satellite reception and why it is necessary for satellite signals? (Ahmed Kamal, Karachi)

Ans: Every digital service so far uses a set-top box to decode digital signals into analogue, which the TV picks up via Scart or coaxial cable. Digital satellite and terrestrial can also be accessed using a TV with a built-in decoder, called an integrated digital television (DTV). All set-top boxes contain a tuner, digital-to-analogue converters, analogue outputs via a UHF loop through, Scart cables, and phono sockets (for audio output to a Dolby surround amp). Some have S-video outputs and optical digital audio outputs. There's usually a serial port to use with Homechoice boxes and both the terrestrial and satellite STBs have a modem built-in for interactive services. Some cable boxes have USB or Ethernet ports, for high-speed Internet use through a PC, and for ITV Digital, have a built-in hard disk drive for recording without videotape.

Q.2 : Dear Editor, I want to know what is the difference between digital and analogue kind of broadcasting and why are not same their parameters? (Jalal Mehmood UAE)

Ans: Tuning into analogue channels was relatively straightforward. There were three parameters for your receiver to consider: frequency, polarity and audio sub carriers. With between six and nine channels per transponder, five parameters are required to tune a digital channel: frequency, polarity, symbol rate, FEC and PIDS. The frequency, polarity, symbol rate and forward error correction allow the receiver to recognize the correct transponder, symbol rate measures the rate at which information is being sent by the transponder, and FEC (forward error correction) tells the receiver how much information is program and how much error correction. Video, audio and PCR PIDs, or Packet Identifiers, enable the receiver identify the correct packets of video, audio and timing data in the digital stream to construct a picture. The PCR and video PIDs are usually the same, but a different PCR can be used to 'soft encrypt' the channel.

Q.3 : How are the signals up linked or down linked for the Satellite transmission? (Ashraf Hussain, Sialkot)

Ans: Mr. Ashraf the signals, which are transmitted from the Satellite, are called down signals. These are in the frequency range of 3.8 to 4.2GHz in the C- band while these are in the frequency range of 4.8 GHz for the extended C- band. But before these signals can be transmitted from the Satellite i.e. down linked, it is necessary to send the signals from the ground to the Satellite. This is known as the up- linking of signals. These signals are in the frequency range of 5.8GHz to 6.2GHz. Principally, any down link signal can not only be received by the dish close to the up- linking station but also by any other dish installed in the wide active range (footprint) of the transponder of the satellite.

Q.4 : Dear Sir, it is possible to receive the pay channel on personal dish? Are the low input amplifiers better than the ordinary amplifiers? Is low degree LNB better to get a clear reception? Please tell me thanks. (Mr. Khalid Soomro, Dadu)

Ans: Dear Mr. Soomro, the pay channels are also signals, which are received by the dish antenna. But unless you use decoders for these, you cannot see them on your TV set. These decoders are of two kinds. The first type is built within the receivers. The second type of decoders is externally installed and these are quite expensive. Low input Satellite receivers give much better performance in comparison to the ordinary receivers. An 8dB input works well to get a good picture quality. The LNB with 17K capacity performs well but it should be remembered that changes in the temperature generates noise, which gets reflected in the picture as noise bars.

Q.5 : Dear editor please explain me in detail. What is meant by MPEG2 DVB? (Sajid Hassan, Islamabad)

Ans: Mr. Hassan, the Moving Pictures Expert Group (MPEG) was formed to set the standards of the digital compression. Its first group set the standards known as MPEG-1 for the non- interlaced Video used for the computers. Its second group set the standards known as the MPEG-2, which are for the interlaced video used for the televisions. Another set of standards was developed for the broadcasting. These are known as the MPEG-2 (Digital Video Broadcasting).

Q.6 : Dear Sir, Can a digital satellite receiver be used for receiving analog signal also? (Zafar Hussain, Karachi)

Ans: Dear Mr. Hussain, except for the first stage, all the other stages of a digital receiver are very different from the analog receiver. For this reason a digital receiver cannot be used for receiving the analog signals. It is easier to align the dish by using the analog receiver for receiving the analog channels.

Q.7 : Dear Sir, can you tell me, How much Cable- Load in meters can be connected from a transistorized and a hybrid amplifiers? (Qaiser Iqbal, Karachi)

Ans: Dear Mr.Qaiser, the load that can be given to an amplifier depends upon the following factors. Type of Amplifier, Type of Cable, Number of channels in the system. If the highest frequency is passing through the cable then the loss in the cable every 100meteres is 9dB and it is 27dB at 300metres. Hence the losses can be calculated on the basis of the various parameters of the channel frequency, the type of amplifier in use and cable specifications.

Q.8 : Dear trouble shooter can you tell me, what is meant by Push-Pull and power Doublers amplifiers? I am very thankful to you. (Mr. Abdul Qadir, Sialkot)

Ans: Mr. Abdul, two similar sets of amplifying is used in the push- pull type of amplifier. One of the two amplifying transistors used here amplifies the first half circle of the wave and the second transistor amplifies the second half circle of the wave. Advantages of the push- pull amplifier- Low distortion, Uniform amplification, Higher power output. Power Doublers: Normally, the push- pull amplifier is available as an IC package. Two such types of IC's containing push pull amplifiers are combined to form a power doubler.

Q.9 : Kindly tell me the new frequencies of DD1 and DD metro channels as they have perhaps been shifted to the other channels and satellite? (Abu Daud, Saudi Arabia)

Ans: The channels DD1 and DD Metro are available on satellite INSAT 2E, and there new frequencies are 4070 and 3980 respectively whereas all the other parameters of the channels remain the same.

Q.10 : I could not find CMM channel will you kindly indicate on which satellite is it available? Has Myawaday Channel gone digital? (Nasir Khan, by E-mail)

Ans: CMM channel is available at PAS 10 satellite. Myawaday channel is also called Burma TV which is available at Palapa C2 satellite at 113° East with 3707 MHZ being its frequency and is free to air and digital.


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