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Thread: Turning to Cuba: More information on Cuba DTV

  1. #1
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    Default Turning to Cuba: More information on Cuba DTV

    Cuba? Digital television? Why yes!

    You might recall that Cuba is using the Chinese DTMB standard, but there was still a lot we didn't know. Channel spacing and allotments, whether Cuba actually had DTV on the air and other matters were all unknown.

    Well, I hit the jackpot between the ICRT site and that of state organism LACETEL, the self-described "Institute for Telecommunications Research and Development". Here's what we now know, both about DTV and changes to Cuban broadcast services:

    • Cuban DTMB will be using NTSC channels in high VHF (7-13) and UHF (14-51) as outlined in the standards (which are in English!). All currently assigned transmitters are on UHF. A list of these transmitters is available; only two are set up for HD at this time.
    • And to receive these signals via tropo you'll need a converter box. Pretty much all of the available equipment is being made by Chinese firms. I have no idea how someone in the US would go about procuring one legally.
    • The DTV service includes three new state channels: Cubavisión Internacional, Canal Infantil (kids' shows) and Canal Clave (music), as well as weather and data broadcasts and six radio streams. Canal Clave does, however, mean the end of the music channel that's taken over CE in past summers.
    • Speaking of which, Canal Educativo 2 now simulcasts Telesur 20 out of 24 hours a day (airing its own shows only from 4:30 to 8:30 pm).

  2. #2
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    VERY interesting and much appreciated!

    I'm going to guess the microwave network (or satellite uplink?) used to deliver programming to the transmitters elsewhere in the country doesn't support HD. That the transmitters are capable of HD but the video feed reaching them is only SD. (or even analog?) I'm guessing one of the two HD transmitters is at the studio (so no link is necessary) and the other one is close enough that they have a short HD-capable link. (or even, maybe they're rebroadcasting the first HD transmitter off-air)

    I see Cuba is joining the bandwagon for MPEG-4. Hopefully the U.S. will not be too far behind.
    Doug Smith W9WI
    Pleasant View, TN EM66
    http://www.w9wi.com

  3. #3
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    Much appreciated indeed! Chris and I are the most likely ones to catch these stations. Hopefully a few of these boxes will find their way to eBay. Failing that, a PC tuner could hopefully be configured. This is the system they use in China after all.
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  4. #4
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    Yes indeed, interesting info.

    A few weeks ago, one of our members had a subdecode on ch 60 of all things, and one of us said that maybe (paraphrasing here) overload of 4G LTE might have caused a subdecode there----after all, nobody is using 60 for DTV anymore.

    So....I am wondering, if it's a strong Tropo day down in the Keys, and I brought the CECB with my TV, and, say that Havana is super strong, I wonder if a yellow bar would show on 36 or 50, despite me not being able to get an ATSC picture. Surely the theory of the above paragraph would apply the same way, no? (not that it would be interesting to record)

    cd

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    Quote Originally Posted by cd637299 View Post
    So....I am wondering, if it's a strong Tropo day down in the Keys, and I brought the CECB with my TV, and, say that Havana is super strong, I wonder if a yellow bar would show on 36 or 50, despite me not being able to get an ATSC picture. Surely the theory of the above paragraph would apply the same way, no? (not that it would be interesting to record)

    cd
    I doubt it would work.

    The yellow bar indicates your STB is synchronizing to the received data, even if there are too many errors to decode.

    The modulation scheme used by the Cuban DTV is so different from that used by ATSC that I don't think your STB will even believe there's a signal there. (and certainly, the 310KHz pilot signal won't be there)

    If your CECB displays a yellow bar when an *analog* signal is present, it might do the same for a Cuban DTMB signal. If it doesn't show analog signals, it won't show DTMB.

    Ryan's comment about USB tuner sticks, on the other hand, holds a lot of promise.
    Doug Smith W9WI
    Pleasant View, TN EM66
    http://www.w9wi.com

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by w9wi View Post
    I doubt it would work.
    The modulation scheme used by the Cuban DTV is so different from that used by ATSC that I don't think your STB will even believe there's a signal there. (and certainly, the 310KHz pilot signal won't be there)
    It's an OFDM modulation which is how the other TV standards all work (ATSC uses 8VSB). Proponents of a next-generation DTV standard all are recommending OFDM.

  7. #7
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    Hi folks. I live in Cuba. I can confirm that with an ATSC tuner it detects the signals when doing the search, but of course can not add any channels. I hardly believe you could find any box made for Cuba at ebay. I've been trying to get a PCIe DTMB card for the signal ever since the tests on the Chinese standard where conducted. A friend brought me an Avermedia DTMB card from China, but I haven’t been able to make it work here. As Rayme says, we are using NTSC channels, but the card is PAL. Most countries with DTMB have transitioned from PAL, but we are the only ones doing it from NTSC. I have been able to modify the card to work with NTSC and radio but still no DTMB yet. You can buy a DTMB card from Avermedia or Hauppauge, the WinTV-HVR-1280, but that one is also PAL. I'm only interested in receiving the signals in my computer so I don’t care for any boxes. I don’t want to capture by HDMI either because I'm also interested in multichannel preview. Right now they are broadcasting 2 HD channels also. Anyway, this is my first post here. I would like to help anyone here who wants to lay their hands in any of the many boxes for sale here now.
    In resume Rayme, my needs and yours while different they are very similar too.
    Eric

  8. #8
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    Hi there!

    The problem with DTMB is not quite coming from PAL, it's channel width (which is similar). Cuba's implementation uses "NTSC" channel spacing and 6 MHz channels. I believe China has 8 MHz (maybe 7) channels.

    I wonder if there is a setting in the DTMB cards, perhaps with their associated software, to specify 6 MHz channel spacing — that is what is necessary, but I don't see ANY DTMB/NTSC equipment on the market (because Cuba is a unique combination). Also I don't know if other DTMB countries are using the standard on high VHF. There are three high-V muxes on RF 12 (Habana Libre) and 13 (Salón and Dos Hermanas-Santa Clara). As of April six telecentros operated HD muxes, all on UHF.

    I just don't think the equipment you need exists because of Cuba's unique migration path. It's the only country in the world where DTMB is being used in a 6 MHz environment.
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  9. #9
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    The only item I have seen that would work at this time, to convert NTSC to DTMB using Cuba standards, is in the link below---ANNNND you have to buy in bulk, 1000 of them! Click below, but don't accidentally hit any "purchase" or "add to cart" button!

    https://m.alibaba.com/product/603823...515.0.0.QhonDS

    Hopefully these boxes will become more common, and cheaper, AND sold individually, over the next 5 years.

    cd

  10. #10
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    So the million dollar question is, which television brand uses this tuner???

    http://www.silabs.com/products/video...es/Si21x7.aspx

    Looks like this tuner product does the entire ball of wax, including DTMB.
    Jim Thomas
    Springfield, MO

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