BBC Kingswood Warren engineers, undeterred by talk of strike action, have for the first time successfully demonstrated a working demodulator capable of receiving HD signals transmitted using the DVB-T2 standard.

The successful test took place on Friday 29 August, the day that Bectu members within BBC Research and Innovation (R&I) were due to strike over the decision to move the department to London.

It is the first time anywhere in the world that a live end-to-end DVB-T2 chain has been demonstrated.

The DVB-T2 standard will be used to allow HD channels to be shoehorned onto Freeview.

A proposed strike Bectu strike was called off on Thursday (28 August) after the union secured a new agreement with the BBC's Future Media and Technology Division to deliver serious discussions about the disputed plans for relocation.

The DVB-T2 chain consists of:

  • A 36 Mbit/sec multiplex containing 3 high definition programmes each coded at 11 Mbit/sec with the latest MPEG-4 encoders

  • This is fed into the prototype DVB -T2 modulator which was developed by R&I, and is currently providing the test transmissions from Guildford transmitter

  • This signal is then received by the prototype DVB-T2 demodulator which was developed by R&I which demodulates the DVB-T2 signal and converts it to an MPEG transport stream

  • The transport stream is then fed to an MPEG-4 decoder which displays the video on a high definition display

Justin Mitchell, leader of the DVB-T2 modem development team at the BBC, said: "Following the approval of DVB-T2 in June and the launch of test transmissions from Guildford transmitter the next day, we are delighted that on Kingswood Warren's 60th anniversary, our team has been able to deliver a working demonstration of a DVB-T2 modulator and demodulator."

The DVB-T2 modulator and demodulator will be demoed on the DVB stand 1.D81 at IBC in Amsterdam in September. Both are available for licensing.

BBC Research was founded in 1930 and moved to Kingswood Warren in Surrey in 1948/49. In 1993, the Research Department and Design Group merged to create BBC R&D.

This department was originally part of BBC Resources but was transferred to Policy and Planning in recognition of its strategic value in 1996. It now sits in the New Media and Technology department.