Sat-IP

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The Sat>IP logo
A Sat>IP server, such as this Telestar R1, connects only to four satellite LNB feeds and an Ethernet connection to distribute satellite TV around the network.
Sat>IP reception over a Wi-Fi home network from a Telestar R1 server and fixed dish on a Nexus 7 Android tablet using Elgato Sat>IP app.

Sat>IP (or Sat-IP) is a protocol and IP-based architecture for receiving and distributing satellite signals.

In a Sat>IP system, satellite-delivered DVB-S and DVB-S2 signals are demodulated and converted to IP in a Sat>IP server close to the point of reception and distributed over an IP network, like normal IPTV, to any IP-enabled client multimedia device. Tablets, PCs, laptops, Smartphones, “connected” TVs, video game consoles, media players, etc. can all be used as satellite viewing clients.[1]

SES unveiled and demonstrated Sat>IP at the fifth annual SES Industry Days conference showing the distribution of satellite programmes over CAT5 Ethernet, Power Line, plastic optical fibre and WiFi networks.[2] The first devices implementing the Sat>IP protocol became available in 2012.

Overview[edit]

Sat>IP is particularly aimed at satellite TV distribution in the home but can be applied to large multi-dwelling and hospitality reception systems too.

Conventional satellite TV reception systems convert the received transmissions to an intermediate frequency (IF) for distribution via dedicated coaxial cables to one or more satellite tuners and demodulators in set-top boxes. Sat>IP allows the satellite TV distribution to share a data network and enables display and viewing of the signals on any multimedia IP device equipped with suitable software. Multiple Sat>IP servers and clients can operate on the same network with both free-to-air and encrypted pay-TV transmissions.

The intention of the Sat>IP Project is to make Sat>IP an international standard that can be widely implemented worldwide and compatible across manufacturers and operators.

The Sat>IP protocol was developed jointly by the Sat>IP Project partners, satellite operator SES, UK broadcaster BSkyB, and Danish TV software company Craftwork.[3] Prototype Sat>IP equipment and the first certified Sat>IP converter was developed by Inverto Digital Labs, a Luxembourg-based Set Top Box and software designer.[4] SAT>IP is a license free technology available to all manufacturers.[5]

Sat>IP Server[edit]

The Telestar B1 client receiver displays SAT>IP channels from a SAT>IP server as well as acting as a media player for data from the USB and SD sockets in the side of the unit.
The rear panel of the Telestar B1 client receiver showing the HDMI, S/PDIF, and AV jack outputs, USB for PVR recording and the Ethernet connection to the IP network.

The Sat>IP server removes the RF tuner and demodulator from the client device, providing their functions as a common resource of the IP network. The server will typically contain two or more tuners to serve several clients with different channels simultaneously. It converts the satellite TV signals to IP in their broadcast quality, transparently without any transcoding, effectively removing the DVB-S/S2 layer and replacing it with an IP transport layer.[1]

This process can happen in a master STB (even as an addition to conventional receiver operation), in a distribution device analogous to an IF multiswitch positioned close to the antenna, or even at the antenna itself in the LNB (an IP-LNB).

Sat>IP Protocol[edit]

Converted to IP, the satellite TV signals can be distributed over any IP network, depending on the configuration of the server, using wired Ethernet, wireless (WLAN, 4G), “Power Line” home networks, optical fibre, plastic fibre, coax, twisted pair (xDSL) or visible light technologies.[1] The Sat>IP protocol is independent of manufacturers and was developed to enable Sat>IP client devices to communicate with Sat>IP servers.

Sat>IP protocol is a remote tuner protocol based on existing protocols such as IP, UPnP, RTSP, HTTP, which have been complemented with extensions for satellite TV where necessary.

The Sat>IP protocol is split into a Media Plane and a Control Plane. In the Media Plane, the Sat>IP server produces media streams in industry standard unicast or multicast RTP/UDP.[1]

In the Control Plane, clients request access to satellites, transponders and MPEG streams using RTSP or HTTP. Only those transport stream packages needed for the TV transmission requested are carried over the IP network.

The full protocol description (v1.2) is public available at http://www.satip.info/sites/satip/files/resource/satip_specification_version_1_2.pdf

Encrypted pay-TV transmission[edit]

The SAT>IP protocol doesn't provides any specific support for encrypted services. The specification only targets the tuner, and how to access to DVB streams over the network. So if the client likes to access to encrypted feeds it can do it, but needs to have the correct support for them. This is easy when the client is a device with CAS/CAM hardware support (like a television or set-top-box), but it's unclear how to do it in a PC, mobile or tablet.

Products[edit]

Two categories of Sat>IP products exist: Sat>IP clients and servers.

Sat>IP clients[edit]

The Android Elgato Sat>IP app running on a Nexus 7 receiving channels and EPG data from a Telesar R1 Sat>IP server.

Software applications to use computers and display devices as SAT>IP clients have been produced by a number of companies. DVBViewer Pro is a digital TV viewer and recorder for Windows PCs which has been extended to use SAT>IP. Elgato Systems produces an app for Android tablets and phones, and an iOS app for iPad and iPhone as a Sat>IP client.[6]

Sat>IP servers[edit]

The first certified Sat>IP equipment to be produced for commercial sale was the IDL400S Multibox server from Inverto. The Linux-based Multibox can tune to four satellite signals and stream selected TV/Radio programs to four users' tablets, smart phones, smart TVs, game consoles or connected video devices over a wired and/or wireless home network.[7]

Clients supported by IDL400S Multibox

  • iOS (iPad) and Android Tablets and Smart phones
  • UPnP/DLNA compliant connected media players and video streamers (e.g. Xtreamer, Boxee)
  • UPnP/DLNA compliant Smart TVs (e.g. Sony, Samsung, Loewe, Philips, LG)
  • PC client (Windows Media Player, VLC player, TVersity, XBMC or Boxee)
  • Connected game consoles
  • Proprietary Inverto clients (Volksbox Essential, Volksbox 2, Volksbox Movie)
  • Sat>IP compliant Clients

The Zinwell ZIM-1800 SAT>IP switch/server is the second to be certified to the new standard. The ZIM-1800 offers an opportunity for portable and IP device users to watch rich satellite programmes on their favourite devices, such as iPads, iPhones, Android tablets, smartphones, laptops, smart TVs or any networking devices. The installation and distribution cost can also be significantly reduced by using the Multicast and Unicast features in SMATV systems in hotels and flats.[8]

Other Sat>IP products released in 2012 include the Triax TSS400 server,[9] GSS DSI400 server,[10] Schwaiger MS41IP server and DSR41IP client receiver,[11] Telestar Digibit R1 server and Digibit B1 client receiver,[12] and Blankom SIA-108 professional headend streamer,[13]

Servers producing Sat>IP compatible output over a connected network from cable (DVB-C) and digital terrestrial (DVB-T) tuners have been developed by Digital Devices.[14]

In April 2013, SES announced the development by Inverto, Abilis and MaxLinear Inc of a prototype Sat>IP LNB (IP-LNB), which was demonstrated at a conference held at SES' headquarters in Luxembourg. The IP-LNB incorporates eight-channel satellite-to-IP bridging technology to deliver eight concurrent channels via IP unicast or multicast to fixed and portable client devices. By combining satellite reception and IP bridging at the dish, the IP-LNB enables satellite content distribution to the home over a single Ethernet cable, which carries both the IP TV and power for the LNB through Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology, reducing the overall system cost and power consumption. As of July 2012, the prototype IP-LNB was being developed into a commercial product.[15]

In September 2013 at the International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam, SES demonstrated a prototype IP-LNB, that is a SAT>IP server integrated into an LNB that can deliver eight concurrent HD channels via IP unicast or multicast from its Ethernet output.[16]

Industry Support[edit]

The SAT>IP website recognises the following companies as supporters of the SAT>IP standard: [17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • SAT>IP Website - Official Sat>IP website
  • Sat>IP - SES Sat>IP page
  • OnAstra - Official Astra consumers/viewers' site
  • SES - Official SES trade/industry site
  • BSkyB - Official BSkyB site
  • Craftwork - Official Craftwork site
  • Elgato - Elgato Sat>IP App at Google Play
  • Inverto - Inverto (manufacturer) site
  • Zinwell - Zinwell (manufacturer) site