Adtec RD-60: The Future of Satellite Transmissions

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When it comes to satellite transmissions, the US and Europe deal very differently with Dolby E streams: while the US prefer it on pair one of the transmission, European clients expect pair one to be the English Mix. By default, both Tandberg and the RD-60 put the more complex audio to be on pair 1 automatically. This leads to Europeans frequently forgetting to choose the correct PIDs on their receivers – so it appears that there’s no English Mix present on the transmission even though there usually is.

Adtec are working on this issue though and in time a firmware upgrade will address this.

Another downside to using Dolby E is the potential loss of lip sync between audio and video. You can imagine what happens: video needs to be compressed, the audio needs to be encoded but mustn’t be compressed, and then after muxing, it all gets decoded at the other end – the potential to end up with arbitrary sync issues is a given. Therefore, if we could transmit discreet audio channels instead of pre-encoded streams these issues wouldn’t happen. Thanks to the RD-60 this could become reality.

Speaking of which: the RD-60 has a Dolby E Decoder built in! We currently haven’t got the license for it so couldn’t give it a thorough examination, but I really like the idea of decoding the stream there and then – and map the audio to the output channels in the receiver without having to employ external equipment. As an operator I have some experience with how complex audio mapping can get – anything to make this for us easier is bliss!

Firmware Upgrades

One great feature about the RD-60 – certainly in the testing phase – is the way it handles various sets of firmware. An easy upload dialogue allows you to store a new firmware file in the receiver and recall it if and when you need it. We currently have 5 sets stored in our unit and we can switch back and forth between either of them – all it takes is a remote reboot of the unit (happens automatically).

So if you find that an older version deals with your downlinks better than a newer one, just roll back from the web interface – no need to dig out that old file again because the unit will remember it.

Price Tag

Sorry – I haven’t got official information on this yet… Could you send me a price list, Michael?


The amount of equipment we’re dealing with in MCR is rather HUGE. Vast amounts of manufacturers are involved, complex routes and signal manipulations are necessary to take in and broadcast what our clients need to see. It’s not unusual for one signal to pass through 20 pieces of kit before it leaves one facility – and thats’ not counting DA cards or matrix crosspoints.

Any piece of equipment that makes our job easier and streamlines the interfaces we have to deal with is clearly a good thing. Add to that the reality of 32APSK downlinks for cost saving or data rate increases makes investing into the RD-60 a really tempting proposition. If you don’t need all the features immediately you can upgrade later but keep the base unit without having to send it away.

In a nutshell: the future of Satellite transmissions has arrived. It’s called Adtec RD-60.

Further Reading

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