iBlast Announces Results of First Phase Testing of Data Broadcasting Network

Full End-to-End System Proved Operational;

Encouraging Field Test Results for DTV Reception



Apr 23, 2001, 01:00 ET from iBlast

    LOS ANGELES, April 23 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- iBlast
 today announced that it has completed a three-month field trial of its highly
 anticipated datacasting service.  iBlast is a nationwide data broadcast
 network with 246 partner stations poised to deliver personalized, rich media
 files and applications directly to PCs, game consoles, personal video
 recorders and other receiving devices.  The three-month trial was a major step
 for iBlast toward rolling out its service nationwide.
     The pilot stations for the iBlast test rollout included digitally equipped
 stations KTLA in Los Angeles, a Tribune Company station; KICU in San Jose, a
 Cox Broadcasting station; KGTV in San Diego, a McGraw-Hill Company station;
 KPNX in Phoenix, a Gannett station and FOX 35 WOFL in Orlando, a Meredith
 Corporation station.  Additional field-testing was also conducted at iBlast
 partner station KOIN in Portland, Oregon, an Emmis Communications station.
 Detailed results of the testing have been made available on the iBlast Web
 site at www.iblast.com.
     "We had three simple objectives," according to Pete Lude, Executive Vice
 President of iBlast.  "We wanted to exercise the full end-to-end network
 architecture, demonstrate daily broadcast of diverse content types, and
 measure actual field performance of DTV transmission from our partner
 television stations.  We also looked at the correlation between predictive
 models for reception, and actual results."
     "The results were very positive across the board", added Lude.  "We
 learned a great deal about real-life operations of the network, and were
 particularly pleased with improvements in DTV reception made possible by the
 latest receiver technology and antenna designs."  This series of tests will
 serve as a baseline for the roll-out of the iBlast nationwide network later
 this year.
 
     End-to-End Network Operations
     Broadcast content for the tests originated at the iBlast Network
 Operations Center (NOC) in Los Angeles.  The NOC, which operated 24 hours
 daily during the tests, connects via fibreoptic circuits to a nearby satellite
 earth station, where a 10 Mbps digital transport is uplinked to a satellite
 with nationwide footprint.  Each of the iBlast trial stations is equipped with
 satellite downlink, servers, multiplexers and data broadcast software.  The
 iBlast data is then interleaved with high-definition and standard television
 programs, and delivered to the downloading reception sites throughout the test
 cities.  For the phase one testing, two receivers were tested with a standard
 PC fitted with the DTA-100 ATSC receiver card from BroadLogic Network
 Technologies Inc, and a DTV receiver using the new Broadcom BCM3510 8-VSB
 demodulator integrated circuit.  MediaStorm software, from NDS, was used to
 control data broadcast operations at the NOC, television stations and at the
 receiver.
 
     Diverse Content
     The tests allowed iBlast and television station engineers to evaluate a
 variety of applications for the iBlast service, which debuts with the capacity
 to deliver more than 75GB of data (equivalent to approximately 26,000 songs or
 30 full-length movies) each day.  Test files included video clips, software,
 MP3-encoded music, games and other broadband content.  Typically, the files
 were transmitted concurrently with two video streams, each encoded in the
 Microsoft Media format at approximately 600 Kbps using a real-time encoder.
 The aggregated iBlast data stream, which included transmission of large files
 as well as live streaming video, varied between 2 Mbps and 8 Mbps during
 different times of day, from each television station.  Since the broadcast
 data content is IP (Internet Protocol) -based, virtually any encoding format,
 file type, encryption or digital rights management system can be deployed
 across the network.
 
     DTV Reception Testing
     An important part of the three-month iBlast trial was an affirmation of
 DTV reception characteristics in the typical user environment.  Test sites
 were selected to be representative of the targeted demographics of iBlast
 users and to cover a broad geographical distribution in each city.  The intent
 was to acquire results over a representative distribution of sites, not only
 at known difficult reception sites.
     A test van, equipped with 30-foot mast, was used for outdoor measurement,
 while indoor measurements used portable 8-VSB demodulators with several
 prototype antennas made available to iBlast.  The test procedures and
 equipment were essentially the same as used in the MSTV/NAB and other industry
 tests.  The primary difference was the use of the latest generation of VSB
 demodulator chips and new, improved indoor antenna designs with amplification.
 Several antennas were tested, including prototype amplified antennas from
 Antiference and RDI Inc.  The testing indicated RF (radio frequency) field
 strength inside buildings to be a major factor in successful reception.  At
 many sites the amplified antenna made the difference in receiving a signal.
     A total of 69 indoor sites were tested, with reliable reception obtained
 at 63, or approximately 91% of the sites.  The set of sites tested was
 selected for a range of distance from transmitter and variety in terrain.  For
 indoor tests, a variety of indoor environments were tested, including
 different housing construction methods, multiple rooms and various locations
 within rooms.  In Portland, indoor location tests turned out to be successful
 where prior tests with earlier generation VSB receivers had failed.  According
 to Regis Crinon, manager DTV standards and architecture for Intel Corporation,
 "We are pleased to see the progress of the current DTV technology.  In 11 of
 12 known indoor locations where first generation receivers failed, the new DTV
 cards used by iBlast are showing significant progress.  We will continue to
 work with iBlast and collaborate with them on the development of DTV testing
 and quality guidelines."  Outdoor tests were also made at all the indoor test
 sites.  Additional sites were tested for outdoor reception, for a total of
 over 200 outdoor sites.  Detailed results of the tests are described in a
 white paper on the iBlast Web site www.iblast.com.
     Although the initial three-month test period did not allow a fully
 statistically representative sample of sites, the early results are
 encouraging.  iBlast plans to conduct further tests in other markets to
 document the continued improvements in 8-VSB demodulator and antenna design,
 and to better understand remaining limitations in DTV propagation.  iBlast is
 also working with VSB receiver vendors and antenna designers to create new,
 optimized VSB receiver/antenna solutions.
 
     About iBlast
     Founded in 1999, iBlast is a national, wireless, data broadcasting network
 that provides content creators a high-speed, cost-effective, mass distribution
 alternative while offering consumers customized programming choices free of
 charge.  iBlast offers broadcast stations a way to maximize their digital TV
 investment.  In addition to broadcasting HDTV in all formats including 1080i,
 iBlast partner stations will use the newly built digital transmission towers
 to transmit popular digital content, such as music, games, movies and
 software.  The content is sent at lightning speed directly to consumers' PCs,
 TVs, game consoles, MP3 jukeboxes and personal video recorders.
     iBlast includes major broadcast partner groups, encompassing 246 stations
 and covering 93 percent of the nation's television households.  Broadcast
 partners include Tribune Company, Gannett Co., Inc., Cox Broadcasting, The
 Washington Post Company, E. W. Scripps Company, Meredith Corporation, Media
 General, Inc., The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., The New York Times, Journal
 Broadcast Group, Raycom Media, Inc., Smith Broadcasting Group, Inc., Cosmos
 Broadcasting Corporation, Northwest Broadcasting, Emmis Communications,
 Bahakel Communications, Ltd., Gray Communications Systems, Inc., Evening Post
 Publishing Company, Bonneville International Corporation, Ackerley Media and
 Straightline Communications.
 
     For more information, visit the following Web sites:
      www.iblast.com
      www.antiference.co.uk
      www.broadcom.com
      www.broadlogic.com
      www.intel.com
      www.nds.com
      www.rdiusa.com
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X74494352
 
 

SOURCE iBlast
    LOS ANGELES, April 23 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- iBlast
 today announced that it has completed a three-month field trial of its highly
 anticipated datacasting service.  iBlast is a nationwide data broadcast
 network with 246 partner stations poised to deliver personalized, rich media
 files and applications directly to PCs, game consoles, personal video
 recorders and other receiving devices.  The three-month trial was a major step
 for iBlast toward rolling out its service nationwide.
     The pilot stations for the iBlast test rollout included digitally equipped
 stations KTLA in Los Angeles, a Tribune Company station; KICU in San Jose, a
 Cox Broadcasting station; KGTV in San Diego, a McGraw-Hill Company station;
 KPNX in Phoenix, a Gannett station and FOX 35 WOFL in Orlando, a Meredith
 Corporation station.  Additional field-testing was also conducted at iBlast
 partner station KOIN in Portland, Oregon, an Emmis Communications station.
 Detailed results of the testing have been made available on the iBlast Web
 site at www.iblast.com.
     "We had three simple objectives," according to Pete Lude, Executive Vice
 President of iBlast.  "We wanted to exercise the full end-to-end network
 architecture, demonstrate daily broadcast of diverse content types, and
 measure actual field performance of DTV transmission from our partner
 television stations.  We also looked at the correlation between predictive
 models for reception, and actual results."
     "The results were very positive across the board", added Lude.  "We
 learned a great deal about real-life operations of the network, and were
 particularly pleased with improvements in DTV reception made possible by the
 latest receiver technology and antenna designs."  This series of tests will
 serve as a baseline for the roll-out of the iBlast nationwide network later
 this year.
 
     End-to-End Network Operations
     Broadcast content for the tests originated at the iBlast Network
 Operations Center (NOC) in Los Angeles.  The NOC, which operated 24 hours
 daily during the tests, connects via fibreoptic circuits to a nearby satellite
 earth station, where a 10 Mbps digital transport is uplinked to a satellite
 with nationwide footprint.  Each of the iBlast trial stations is equipped with
 satellite downlink, servers, multiplexers and data broadcast software.  The
 iBlast data is then interleaved with high-definition and standard television
 programs, and delivered to the downloading reception sites throughout the test
 cities.  For the phase one testing, two receivers were tested with a standard
 PC fitted with the DTA-100 ATSC receiver card from BroadLogic Network
 Technologies Inc, and a DTV receiver using the new Broadcom BCM3510 8-VSB
 demodulator integrated circuit.  MediaStorm software, from NDS, was used to
 control data broadcast operations at the NOC, television stations and at the
 receiver.
 
     Diverse Content
     The tests allowed iBlast and television station engineers to evaluate a
 variety of applications for the iBlast service, which debuts with the capacity
 to deliver more than 75GB of data (equivalent to approximately 26,000 songs or
 30 full-length movies) each day.  Test files included video clips, software,
 MP3-encoded music, games and other broadband content.  Typically, the files
 were transmitted concurrently with two video streams, each encoded in the
 Microsoft Media format at approximately 600 Kbps using a real-time encoder.
 The aggregated iBlast data stream, which included transmission of large files
 as well as live streaming video, varied between 2 Mbps and 8 Mbps during
 different times of day, from each television station.  Since the broadcast
 data content is IP (Internet Protocol) -based, virtually any encoding format,
 file type, encryption or digital rights management system can be deployed
 across the network.
 
     DTV Reception Testing
     An important part of the three-month iBlast trial was an affirmation of
 DTV reception characteristics in the typical user environment.  Test sites
 were selected to be representative of the targeted demographics of iBlast
 users and to cover a broad geographical distribution in each city.  The intent
 was to acquire results over a representative distribution of sites, not only
 at known difficult reception sites.
     A test van, equipped with 30-foot mast, was used for outdoor measurement,
 while indoor measurements used portable 8-VSB demodulators with several
 prototype antennas made available to iBlast.  The test procedures and
 equipment were essentially the same as used in the MSTV/NAB and other industry
 tests.  The primary difference was the use of the latest generation of VSB
 demodulator chips and new, improved indoor antenna designs with amplification.
 Several antennas were tested, including prototype amplified antennas from
 Antiference and RDI Inc.  The testing indicated RF (radio frequency) field
 strength inside buildings to be a major factor in successful reception.  At
 many sites the amplified antenna made the difference in receiving a signal.
     A total of 69 indoor sites were tested, with reliable reception obtained
 at 63, or approximately 91% of the sites.  The set of sites tested was
 selected for a range of distance from transmitter and variety in terrain.  For
 indoor tests, a variety of indoor environments were tested, including
 different housing construction methods, multiple rooms and various locations
 within rooms.  In Portland, indoor location tests turned out to be successful
 where prior tests with earlier generation VSB receivers had failed.  According
 to Regis Crinon, manager DTV standards and architecture for Intel Corporation,
 "We are pleased to see the progress of the current DTV technology.  In 11 of
 12 known indoor locations where first generation receivers failed, the new DTV
 cards used by iBlast are showing significant progress.  We will continue to
 work with iBlast and collaborate with them on the development of DTV testing
 and quality guidelines."  Outdoor tests were also made at all the indoor test
 sites.  Additional sites were tested for outdoor reception, for a total of
 over 200 outdoor sites.  Detailed results of the tests are described in a
 white paper on the iBlast Web site www.iblast.com.
     Although the initial three-month test period did not allow a fully
 statistically representative sample of sites, the early results are
 encouraging.  iBlast plans to conduct further tests in other markets to
 document the continued improvements in 8-VSB demodulator and antenna design,
 and to better understand remaining limitations in DTV propagation.  iBlast is
 also working with VSB receiver vendors and antenna designers to create new,
 optimized VSB receiver/antenna solutions.
 
     About iBlast
     Founded in 1999, iBlast is a national, wireless, data broadcasting network
 that provides content creators a high-speed, cost-effective, mass distribution
 alternative while offering consumers customized programming choices free of
 charge.  iBlast offers broadcast stations a way to maximize their digital TV
 investment.  In addition to broadcasting HDTV in all formats including 1080i,
 iBlast partner stations will use the newly built digital transmission towers
 to transmit popular digital content, such as music, games, movies and
 software.  The content is sent at lightning speed directly to consumers' PCs,
 TVs, game consoles, MP3 jukeboxes and personal video recorders.
     iBlast includes major broadcast partner groups, encompassing 246 stations
 and covering 93 percent of the nation's television households.  Broadcast
 partners include Tribune Company, Gannett Co., Inc., Cox Broadcasting, The
 Washington Post Company, E. W. Scripps Company, Meredith Corporation, Media
 General, Inc., The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., The New York Times, Journal
 Broadcast Group, Raycom Media, Inc., Smith Broadcasting Group, Inc., Cosmos
 Broadcasting Corporation, Northwest Broadcasting, Emmis Communications,
 Bahakel Communications, Ltd., Gray Communications Systems, Inc., Evening Post
 Publishing Company, Bonneville International Corporation, Ackerley Media and
 Straightline Communications.
 
     For more information, visit the following Web sites:
      www.iblast.com
      www.antiference.co.uk
      www.broadcom.com
      www.broadlogic.com
      www.intel.com
      www.nds.com
      www.rdiusa.com
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X74494352
 
 SOURCE  iBlast