With the multi-year analog sunset now underway in Bolivia, GatesAir, working closely with regional partner Sonotec, has successfully transitioned private broadcaster ATB Bolivia to ISDB-Tb digital television in the cities of Cochabamba and La Paz, fulfilling the first government mandate to deliver DTV programming in these two cities and the city of Santa Cruz within a six-month window.
GatesAir supplied its latest-generation, high-efficiency Maxiva ULXTE liquid-cooled transmitters to support the transition in Cochabamba and La Paz, with an accelerated delivery timeline that enabled Sonotec to install and commission both systems in advance of the June deadline.
The Government of Bolivia adopted the ISDB-Tb standard in 2011, and is now in phase one of a gradual, country-wide transition that will be completed in 2024. ATB chose GatesAir for the Cochabamba and La Paz projects due to the longevity, reliability and performance of GatesAir analog TV transmitters in service for many years throughout the country. The new DTV systems transmit one ISDB-Tb HD channel and one mobile channel to populations within and near the city limits, with satellite relay to TV service providers in rural areas in compliance with Bolivian government regulations. ATB anticipates that a third DTV channel will be added to the network shortly, noting that the ULXTE’s exceptional bandwidth will help to maximize ISDB-Tb spectrum.
“While the Santa Cruz site had an existing analog TV transmitter we were able to convert in the field, the Cochabamba and La Paz sites were very challenging as we needed new transmitters that could work with the existing RF infrastructure,” said Javier Fernandez, ATB’s CTO. “We have so far experienced a remarkable improvement in signal quality and expanded coverage throughout these regions with the GatesAir system, along with a flexible architecture that readily supports the introduction of new channels and services. These high-performance, digital TV workflows will dynamically change the business of television in Bolivia, as it represents a great economic and financial effort for our nation’s broadcasters.”
ATB specifically selected the Maxiva ULXTE transmitter due to the efficiencies of its liquid-cooled design. According to Fernandez, this design greatly lowers air conditioning usage, reducing overall energy consumption. That will eventually translate to much lower power bills when the current air-cooled analog TV transmitters are fully phased out.
Fernandez adds that the ULXTE design additionally delivers stronger efficiencies across other operational and maintenance aspects.
“The compact size and modularity of these transmitters simplified all installation logistics, which was of high importance due to the challenging timeline for this phase of the DTV transition,” said Fernandez. “Additionally, the ULXTE runs very quietly, and has significantly reduced noise pollution in the transmission environment. The user-friendly modularity will also make it very simple to swap our parts and make adjustments and repairs, though we trust that will be not be necessary for several years given our positive experience with the GatesAir brand.”
To ensure a smooth installation and commissioning process, regional GatesAir sales engineers held local training seminars, followed by on-site visits — efforts fully recognized and appreciated by both the Sonotec and ATB Bolivia teams.
“We’re very thankful for the opportunity to work with ATB in these early stages of an important transition that will delicately balance the delivery of analog and digital TV services over the next seven years,” said Rich Redmond, President and Managing Director, International for GatesAir. “We are confident that the performance and efficiency of our Maxiva transmitters and ULXTE liquid-cooled architecture will reap benefits for ATB Bolivia for years to come, at once reducing labor and expenses for both organizations, while also enabling new DTV services for the Bolivian population.”