Evaluation of analog/digital broadcast value chain implementation in Ghana: case study of content and multiplexing components

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Digital television broadcasting has content production, multiplexing (content aggregation), transmission and reception in its value chain. The study evaluates the content production and multiplexing components/services of some digital television systems in Ghana. The study first establishes that Ghana is currently in what experts call the dual illumination stage of the digital migration. Dual illumination is generally expensive for networks such as Ghana Television (GTV) which has a large number of analog transmission system networks. It is recommended that to minimize the cost of dual illumination, right policies should be put in place to migrate all viewers on their services to digital in the shortest possible time and in the most cost effective manner. To ensure that enough space is available for current incumbent analog stations on a digital multiplex, Standard Definition Television (SDTV) should be the video format choice before analog switch-off. Immediate implementation of High Definition Television (HDTV) could compromise the number of programs per channel. However, SDTV and HDTV could be operated on thematic manner/basis, by the collapsing of a number of SDTV programs for a HDTV program in such situations as sports. The study establishes that the current digital multiplex operators use both the MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 compression standards. The latest version of MPEG-4, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 is recommended since it is more bandwidth efficient. Drop and Add services should be taken into consideration when planning the digital network to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. The provision of Conditional Access (CA) and Middleware on multiplex and Set-Top-Box (STB) is necessary to regulate digital signal reception and also use it for valued added services such as e-government. Further findings and recommendations are found in the body of the report.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Telecommunication Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science