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Olympic Trial For HD Compression

In a test of what could eventually become the next compression standard for digital TV, Italian broadcaster RAI will work with Swiss set-top supplier Advanced Digital Broadcast (ADB) during the 2006 Winter Olympic Games to demonstrate the delivery of HDTV pictures using MPEG-4 compression technology.

For the public trial, RAI will distribute HDTV compressed through MPEG-4 encoding to ADB set-top boxes located in various public locations throughout Torino, as well as the Alpine venues in Sestriere.

Pictures will be encrypted and distributed to MPEG-4-enabled ADB 6800STX set-top boxes through RAI’s digital terrestrial television network and Eutelsat’s satellite system.

The general public will be able to view the HD action at viewing locations throughout Torino including the central station, council offices, various hotels and RAI’s own production facility. Technology firms ST Microelectronics, Comteck Video Enterprise, Panasonic and Tandberg will also supply technology to the demonstration.

“This is a great opportunity to demonstrate RAI’s ability to embrace new technology in this world-first coverage of Winter Olympic Events in MPEG-4 high-definition format,” says Dr. Alberto Morello, Director of the Centre for Research and Technical Innovation at RAI. “We look forward to the future launch of commercial MPEG4 based HDTV services throughout Italy.”