DVB Calculator

Over the last few years I have been involved in the design of several digital television (DTV) transmitters and receivers. As you might expect. the bulk of the design effort on these projects is taken up in designing electronics, writing firmware and software and getting the mechanical packaging right. What may be less obvious however, is the huge effort involved in verifying that the design meets all the DTV standards and specifications.

Like many engineers involved in the design of television transmission systems, I have created my fair share of spreadsheets to help with this process, calculating link budgets, effective bitrates and carrier to noise requirements. Often these spreadsheets can be a bit clunky, and in the case of DVB-T2 can become very complicated, increasing the chance of errors creeping into the calculations. So I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across DVB Calculator (http://dvbcalculator.altervista.org/), a Windows application written and published by Giuseppe Cannerella of ABE Electronica. The software can be downloaded free of charge, but the author suggests that if you find it useful you can make a small donation via Paypal to buy him a beer.

The program covers all the main DVB standards as well as ISDB-T, and offers calculations of bit rate, C/N, symbol time, guard duration and a lot more. What I found particularly useful however, were the DVB-T2 specific calculations which provide a lot more insight into how the modulator configuration affects performance. Anyone who has read through the DVB-T2 standard will know what a complicated beast it is, allowing for much wider configuration of the modulator than other DTV systems. Some of the modulation parameters interact with each other in complex ways and many combinations of parameters are invalid. I found DVB Calculator to be an excellent sanity check for my own calculations, with the only real drawback being a limit of one PLP.

So if you ever find yourself configuring a DTV transmitter or just trying to get a better understanding of DTV standards check out DVB Calculator, and buy that man a beer!