Mediacast 2002 - Report by Dipol

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2002 Mediacast Show took place at the ExCel London's exhibition center from the 21th to 23th of May, similarly to the previous year. The cennter is situated in the London Docklands on the Thames. The show has gathered over 200 exhibitors.

View of the ExCel Center,

Satellite tuners. As predicted the manufacturers and distributors of digital SAT tuners dominated the event. Among the participants visitors had a chance to see the names such as: Aston, Arion, ChainTech, DigitAll Word, Echostar, Fortec, Force, Freesat, Grundig, Galaxis, Hyunday, Jiangsu Yinhe, NxtWave, Opentech, Pace, Samsung, Seodu, Shenzhen, Strong, Techmate, Topfield, Vestel. Humaxa , which was not present, organized a meeting in a nearby hotel for all those interested in their products. The largest showrooms belonged to Pace and Echostar.

Echostar is a maker of excellent digital tuners.

Many companies decided to show systems for dual data transmission via a sittelite. Most of them had been manufactured by Hughes, yet there were other companies from the Far East offering transmitters. Among exhibitors offering both equipment and services, Bentley Telecom Ltd from England was the most distinguished. The net price of the least expensive system was 1507 EUR without a service fee. Despite a broad advertizing campain, also during CeBIT exhibition, the attempt to make the dual data transmission service popular has failed up to now.

View of the SAT dual data transmission system

Programmers. We are really surprised by Eurocrypt, who presented programmers smartcards. Programmers for all types of cards were available (White Wafer Card, Gold Card, Blue Card, Silver Card, Green Card, Piccard, Piccard 2, Jupite Card, Purple Card, Prussian I Card, Prussian II Card, ) as well as the cards themselves.

card programmer in its serial/ parallel port version plus 2 brand new smartcards.

Several makers of electronic components for digital tuners had demonstrated their products; among them Jiangsu Yinhe, NxtWave, Alps. NxtWave corporation demonstrated very interesting curcuits which can function as demodulators OFDM (NXT6000) and VSB/QAM (NXT2002). Both curcuits are fully functional demodulators that require just a minimum number of discreet elements. Alps presented the whole array of units for SAT tuners, cable modems, terrestrial TV. Different versions of units are currently available, both those compatible with DTT standard 8VSB (USA) and those with OFDM standard (Europe). Some of them are integrated with QPSK or OFDM demodulators, which makes the construction of a tuner less complicated.

Units for Sat tuners, cable modems, terrestrial TV from Alps

Echo-Sr System . SAT TV reception is only possible if an antenna can "see" the satellite transmitting signals. People who live in apartament houses whose windows overlook the north have a bit of a problem with their Sat antenna setting. Samwoo corporation has come up with a solution for them. The system re-transmits SAT signal (from the location where it is possible to receive it) via a transmitter to the locations where reception was previously impossible. The entire system consists of the following components: reception antenna, low noise amplifier, and receiver unit (a converter in a special housing). It is however limited to transmitting a single band and single polarization. By using 2 transmitters (such a system is called Echo-Dr), the user will receive 2 polarizations. Without any doubt this is a very interesting technology. It would be useful in Poland as well if operators like Cyfra+ decided to group their transponders in to a single band and polarization, which is already done by some operators.

Echo-Sr system and the idea behind it

Several companies offered measuring instruments, among them the most distinguishing were Promax, whose products will be deeply reviewed in the near future, and GP Instruments. GP Instruments showed a huge assortment of products equipped with a spectrum analizer. MSTD/CS is a representative sample of them. It allows to measure TV/SAT signals, BER for QPSK and OFDM modulations, audio/video output, it comes with a built-in printer, noise generator, and teletext receiver.

MSTD/CS - an advanced signal level meter from GP Instruments

Digital technology requires the application of meters that allow to conduct measurements of levels spesific to digital signals. Ad Telecom had two meters on display. AD70, which is a small size meter for SAT signals with BER measurement capability, can also test a power consumption/voltage of a converter. It comes equipped with a transponder memory and PC connector. AD100 is a real "harvester". It can measure probably anything and everthing. In its standard version it comes with a digital channel previewer. .

A70, a small size meter for every technician, AD100, an advanced machine with a spectrum analyzer and previewer.

Alcad, as usual, demonstrated several novelties... TP-521 (QPSK - PAL), a digital receiver, has finally been displayed. For now the displayed version is intended only for the reception of non-scrumbled programs . The maker announced that after the summer they were planning to release another version that would have a removable tray for an access module. After expansion and relocation of their offices, Alcad are expanding their product line by adding video intercomes.

Digital receivers with an example of their application, equipment for intercome installation.

In a beautiful and stylish showroom Terra demonstrated a new base station which would soon be available. It stands out from other products of this type by a full-programming capability and hot-swaps (the ability to remove and replace components of a machine while it is operating). Each module has a memory for its settings and stores various parameters of the BS, which is very convenient in coducting remote diagnostics of it. With software expansion there comes the possibility to control a BS via modem from every part of the world. Other new products included the 4-input multiswitches for distribution systems. They don't require terrestrial TV ditribution, which is very often the case since the majority of platforms offers this type of ditribution among others. There were amplifiers with replacable modules, among them very modern BA203.

View of the new BS, an amplifier BA203, new multiswitches from Terry

Zinwell, the manufaturer of many interesting converters, presented a huge array of equipment, from the regular fulbands to transmitters for VSAT devices.

Quad converter that can connect up to 8 independent tuners. Quad with terrestrial TV input. Monoblocks for 2-3 satellites.

Sharp, a manufacturer of excellent coverters, surprised us with their very modest showroom. Sharp demonstrated WLAN modem modules operating in IEEE 802.11b standard and SAT and cable units for receiving digital signals.

SAT and cable units, radio-modem modules

Polish companies. Telkom Telmor demonstrated, among othere products, the newest amplifiers, WWK-910 i WWK-920, as well as a magazine, Sat Kurier whose second English edition had tried to reach with its promotional material many an expert from around the world. We were informed that before the show had started the magazine managed to sell to over 200 subscribers. In Britain alone the company had set up about 30 distribution spots.

We wish all the luck in the British market to the Sat Kurier

Summary. The participation in the show means an investment of about 20-30000USD, therefore, companies that enjoy a worldwide recognition may count on the return of this investment through their increased sales. It might be the poor competitiveness that forced German companies not to attend the London show. Italian and Sanish (Alcad, Fagor, Televes) offered an good selection of products.

More information on Mediacast can be found on the official webesite of the show. 

Read other reports by Dipol