ION MEDIA NETWORKS REPORTS SUCCESSFUL TEST RESULTS ON RICHLAND TOWERS DIGITAL TV TRANSMISSION SOLUTION FOR NEW YORK
(West Palm Beach, Fla. – August 28, 2007) – ION Media Networks, Inc. (AMEX: ION) announced today the completion of successful testing of the Richland Towers DTV single frequency network (“SFN”) distributed transmission (“DTx”) network for the New York City market. The initiative, an R&D effort among various broadcasters and Richland Towers, demonstrated that single-frequency networks offer digital signal coverage equal or superior to the traditional “one-big-tower” transmission approach.
“Single frequency networks” or “distributed transmission” refers to an approach where a number of low-power transmitters are utilized to carry all television signals, each on its consistent allocated frequency, to all areas within a marketplace, including those areas that may have topographical obstacles preventing it from being able to receive the digital TV signals from a master tower. Such a group of transmission sites typically includes low power technology making it on balance less costly to build and operate than the traditional approach of erecting one major transmission antenna per market.
“The initial testing of the Richland DTx single frequency network in New York City is completed, and we are happy with the results,” said Brandon Burgess, CEO, ION Media Networks. “The Richland network provides signal quality at least equal to that of traditional digital broadcast towers at substantially lower investment and operating cost. Based on these favorable results, we intend to work with Richland on its digital TV coverage solution for New York City.”
“We are particularly pleased to see two years of strategic R&D and investment pay off in the all-important and technically challenging New York City market,” added David Glenn, President of Engineering, ION Media Networks. “To validate the results, we had invested in a custom measurement vehicle to test the Richland system. We shared the results and vehicle with other station owners in the market, and have all been impressed with the system’s performance as a coverage solution for New York City, including in the most challenging topographical areas, such as midtown Manhattan and Staten Island.”
“We are thrilled with these test results,” said David Denton, Chief Marketing Officer, Richland Towers. “We believe this system offers demonstrable advantages over other solutions, including the potential for significant cost savings, channel uniformity, utilization of broadcasters’ full 19.4 megabit digital bandwidth and significant opportunities for mobile digital television broadcasting.”
The Richland DTx single frequency network consists of a main, high-powered “hub” site in West Orange, N.J., providing coverage to most of the market area; and five low-power DTxT sites that serve the remainder of the area. Multiple rounds of testing were conducted at the main West Orange site and a transmitter site at 4 Times Square in Manhattan. The test teams obtained field measurements from the two sites and compared them to measurements taken from five stations transmitting from the Empire State Building. Field strength, signal quality, reception and all other parameters for the DTx network were comparable to or better than those from the Empire State stations. The test results are being made available to other interested broadcasters.
In anticipation of the 2009 switchover to digital television, the Richland Towers tests provide important proof of concept for capabilities and value of the DTx network for broadcasters. In addition, the network is decentralized with key sites located outside the midtown and downtown Manhattan areas, and provides potential for expansion.
About ION Media Networks
ION Media Networks, Inc. owns and operates the nation's largest broadcast television station group and ION Television, reaching over 93 million U.S. television households via its nationwide broadcast television, cable and satellite distribution systems. ION Television currently features popular TV series and movies from the award-winning libraries of Warner Bros., Sony Pictures Television and CBS Television, among others. ION Media has also partnered with RHI Entertainment, which owns over 4,000 hours of acclaimed television content, to provide weekend primetime programming consisting of exclusive original programming and quality library titles. Utilizing its digital multicasting capability, the company has launched several digital TV brands, including qubo, a television and multimedia network for children formed in partnership with several leading media and entertainment companies, and ION Life, a television and multimedia network dedicated to health and wellness for consumers and families. For more information, visit www.ionmedia.tv.
For ION Media Networks