What is DVB?

DVB is an abbreviation of digital video broadcasting, a group of standards for digital television. Data distribution consists of a variety of different approaches with the most popular ones being DVB-T, DVB-S and DVB-C. All of these standards include the physical layer, as well as a data link layer, which are combined into a distribution system. All of these distribution systems operate differently and consist of their own sets of rules. They also have their respective advantages and disadvantages.

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In DVB-T, the T stands for terrestrial. This system sends the compressed data in a MPEG transport stream by splitting the stream into a larger number of streams. Today, this is the one of the most popular digital television standards. Opposed to previous analogue transmissions, the DVB-T provides a more efficient use of the RF (radio frequency) spectrum, ultimately delivering greater video quality. Due to its ability to carry a large level of data, it is able to carry multiple broadcasts in a single transmission, which resulted in the DVB-T being well established already in a lot of countries.


DVB-S is the digital satellite TV. This system works by delivering the data using communication satellites as relays for signals. These signals are received by satellite dishes we often see mounted on houses. After the signal has been received, it is then decoded and sent to your TV set using a receiver. The signals are often completely digital, and directly broadcasted to your home. While there are free to view signals available, most channels are encrypted, requiring you to subscribe in order to view them. The most common reception types of DVB-S are: reception by the viewer, reception by the local television, and reception for distribution across cable systems. Each of the aforementioned reception types involving a different set of rules and standards.


DVB-C is the cable TV. The broadcast is transmitted over a cable carrying a digital video and audio streams. It’s one of the most largely used transmission systems in the world. It delivers TV programs (often to paying subscribers) via signals that are transmitted through either coaxial or fiber optic cables. Each channel the user is able to view has a different frequency attached to it. In order for these channels not to interfere with each other, they are each given a different slot on the cable. The user’s TV, or a top box which is provided by the company the user is paying their subscription to, translates these channels and displays them on screen. The major advantage of this type of distribution is the fact that the high quality is paired with the low cost of distribution.

All of these broadcasting technologies are still advancing and developing rapidly. Regardless of which one you choose, or already own, you will most likely end up with a great viewing experience. Provided that you chose a service provider with an established reputation, you should have no issues at all. However, some of these distribution systems like the DVB-S, require additional space in your home (satellite dish often needs to be mounted), while some cannot be introduced to every area.