Ofcom opts for AVC 4.0 for UK HD DTT

Ofcom is set to adopt an MPEG-4 advanced video coding (AVC) level of 4.0 in the reference parameters for the UK's upcoming DVB-T2 high definition digital terrestrial television service.

The decision means that 1080p50 will not initially be a permissible video format for DVB-T2 services and as a result of capacity constraints and DVB-T2 receiver life, the Freeview HD platform will not support 1080p50 within the life of launch receivers.

The regulator wrote to stakeholders earlier this year requesting views on the choice of which MPEG-4 AVC to include when they revise the DTT Reference Parameters later this year to permit use of DVB-T2 and MPEG-4.

Based on feedback, the regulator said that, while an AVC level of 4.2 at this point is desirable, its adoption would represent a significant risk to the early launch of the DVB-T2 platform and that they have therefore decided to adopt an AVC level of 4.0 in the reference parameters - therefore not including 1080p50 as a permissible video format for DVB-T2 services.

Ofcom said they expected that this decision would continue for at least the medium term, and that they would include it as their recommended option when they formally consult on the Reference Parameters later in the year when there is greater certainty on the choice of transmission mode.

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