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Turning to Cuba: More information on Cuba DTV

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  • 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).
    Follow En Frecuencia on Medium and Twitter @EnFrecuencia, your Mexican broadcasting blog.

    The Reference Section features the HD Radio map, list of Article 90 reserved band clears, and more.

  • #2
    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

    Comment


    • #3
      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.

      Comment


      • #4
        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

        Comment


        • #5
          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

          Comment


          • #6
            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.
            Follow En Frecuencia on Medium and Twitter @EnFrecuencia, your Mexican broadcasting blog.

            The Reference Section features the HD Radio map, list of Article 90 reserved band clears, and more.

            Comment


            • #7
              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

              Comment


              • #8
                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.
                Follow En Frecuencia on Medium and Twitter @EnFrecuencia, your Mexican broadcasting blog.

                The Reference Section features the HD Radio map, list of Article 90 reserved band clears, and more.

                Comment


                • #9
                  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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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 EM37

                    "Let's just plop them in front of the TV. I was raised in front of the TV and I turned out TV." - Homer Simpson


                    Fall & Winter 2019 dx equipment
                    Antennas - Antennacraft MXU59 UHF antenna & home-brew version of Antennacraft VHF Y-10-7-13 antenna @ 25'. Both antennas fed through a Channel Master 7777 30dB pre-amp.
                    Tuners - Zenith DTT901 converter box; AirSpy HF+ sdr; Silicon Dust HD Homerun Dual ATSC tuner, using Rabbitears autologger support.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi Raymie. I can easily specify 6 MHz channel spacing with the software of the card, and its functionality is also available in the driver itself, so that is not the reason why it doesn’t detect any digital signals with its original configuration.
                      Since Cuba is such a small market I don’t think it will be easy to find a serious DTMB PC TV Card. That would have been extremely easy if the selected standard for Cuba’s digital TV would have been ATSC or DVB-T, for which I already have plenty of PC TV cards. I believe Cuba is ordering this customized boxes, and that is what makes the even more expensive. Luckily they are being sold at our stores at nearly factory prices. Still they are way expensive for Cuban pockets, specially the HD STB ones.
                      I live in Habana city and I receive the DTMB digital signal from the Televilla tower by channel 38 all the standard definition programs.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by x2bc4 View Post
                        Hi Raymie. I can easily specify 6 MHz channel spacing with the software of the card, and its functionality is also available in the driver itself, so that is not the reason why it doesn’t detect any digital signals with its original configuration.
                        Since Cuba is such a small market I don’t think it will be easy to find a serious DTMB PC TV Card. That would have been extremely easy if the selected standard for Cuba’s digital TV would have been ATSC or DVB-T, for which I already have plenty of PC TV cards. I believe Cuba is ordering this customized boxes, and that is what makes the even more expensive. Luckily they are being sold at our stores at nearly factory prices. Still they are way expensive for Cuban pockets, specially the HD STB ones.
                        I live in Habana city and I receive the DTMB digital signal from the Televilla tower by channel 38 all the standard definition programs.
                        I think ISDB-T would have been a logical standard especially given the amount of equipment from other Latin American countries that would be in use (Nicaragua, Brazil, etc.), but Cuba privileged its relationship with China and got lots of free stuff from China for picking its DTMB standard, so this is what we get.
                        Follow En Frecuencia on Medium and Twitter @EnFrecuencia, your Mexican broadcasting blog.

                        The Reference Section features the HD Radio map, list of Article 90 reserved band clears, and more.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi, There are some usb mini stick for android phones with the chinese standar, than are in the US$40 range price with support for external antenna

                          BTW

                          https://www.aliexpress.com/item/DTMB...691777105.html

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            And as result there isn’t any full HD TV in our stores with the DTMB tuner included.
                            At the beginning of the tests, you could still receive the analog channels in all their original "glory". Right now to put things worst, my tower is using the aired SD digital channels as a source to rebroadcast the analog ones. The only other way to receive the digital channels would be by dish, since most of the channels are there, but here that is a big no no, like a taboo, forbidden.
                            My attempts for technical help with LACETEL have been fruitless. For months they have been totally ignoring my emails. To this date I haven’t meet a single person (or heard) of a single success story getting the digital channels via TV card.
                            I’m willing to hear any success on this matter and if I can do anything to help you get a STB, please count on me. As the most interested party, I will continue my long quest and I’ll be posting updates if there are any.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Humberto View Post
                              Hi, There are some usb mini stick for android phones with the chinese standar, than are in the US$40 range price with support for external antenna

                              BTW

                              https://www.aliexpress.com/item/DTMB...691777105.html
                              If I would have to choose a USB receiver out of the blue I would select an Avermedia AVer3D DMB USB (A852), or a Mygica D268, D681, D682, D689, DF726 among many others.
                              But I personally prefer a PCIe one. I have read good reviews about the Mygica X8509, which is equivalent to the Magic-Pro Extreme 2, and linux compatible.
                              At the end I have learned the hard way you need a brand with good user support from its maker to help you in this situation. One nameless device isn't going to cut it.

                              Comment

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