Motorola Takes C-SPAN All-Digital

Motorola will announce a major deal Tuesday to convert program distribution for public-affairs programmer C-SPAN from analog to digital, using a range of Motorola’s Digicipher-II video encoding systems. The installation of the digital compression gear will eventually allow C-SPAN to launch high-definition services.

CSPAN will first deploy Motorola’s modular uplink system and commercial receiver/decoders (IRDs) to make all three C-SPAN standard definition (SD) services--- C-SPAN, C-SPAN2 and C-SPAN3--available in a digital format starting this June on one of its two satellite transponders. The other transponder will continue to carry C-SPAN in the legacy analog format to ensure reception by all existing affiliates.

The initial C-SPAN multiplex will be delivered using MPEG-2 compression, says Motorola, but will expand to include MPEG-4 as C-SPAN enhances its line up with three HD channels. C-SPAN will deploy a combination of SE-2000 MPEG-2 SD encoders and DSR-4410 receivers for the initial launch and add SE-5100 MPEG-4 HD encoders and MPEG-4/MPEG-2 transcoding receivers for HD at a later date.

“We’ve been planning to move to digital for some time to help us deliver the high-quality experiences that our affiliates and viewers now expect,” said Rob Kennedy, co-president of C-SPAN Networks, in a statement. “In Motorola, we have a partner that we can rely on to enable us to optimize the bandwidth available to us, and with the breadth of portfolio to give us to provide flexibility as we roll out different services.”

“No two companies will take the same migration path to digital transmission, so we have developed a broad portfolio of products that allow us to deliver the most effective and tailored transition every time,” added Bob Wilson, general manager of Motorola’s Networked Video Solutions business. “This enables C-SPAN to deploy the right IRD for specific services transmitted to specific customers.”