My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: LIME and LIME TV - Lara Croft Tomb Raider

Friday, December 17, 2010

LIME and LIME TV - Lara Croft Tomb Raider

Ah, would but one might lay his lance in rest,
And charge in earnest – were it but a mill

Austin Dobson, Don Quixote

It seems that I, John Public may have stepped on some toes of the Techies in the TechJamaica forum (as they are NOT a blog!!) in asserting that LIME TV is actually a VAS (Value Added Service) within another VAS, specifically a DVB-H (Digital Video Broadcast – Handheld) being carried island wide via Telecom Provider LIME’s 3G Network.

This after an anonymous individual posted on my blog article entitled “LIME TV vs Netflix - 101 Dalmations” pointing out that LIME TV content came from a partnership with DC Digital – something which I already knew.

Had Mr. “Anonymous” been a follower of my blog and perused my many articles, he would have come across my blog article entitled “LIME TV and Broadcasting - The Andromeda Strain and My Science Project” in which I made mention of the partnership between DC Digital and Telecom Provider LIME, as it struck me odd. My Blogger posse can back me up on that, strength in numbers and all versus the TechJamaica forum.

Odd, as I remember that it was originally Telecom Provider Digicel and DC Digital that were in partnership to launch DigiTV as per the article “'DigiTV launch for 2009' Mobile Provider branches into TV” albeit later comments indicated that it was not feasible as per the article “Digicel diversifies - $500 m Data Centre opens November”, published Friday August 28, 2009 by Mark Titus, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

I also noted this odd partnership in my well researched my blog article entitled “LIME TV and Broadcasting - The Andromeda Strain and My Science Project” in which I made mention of this partnership and the article “The people and ideas behind Mobile TV”, published Friday, November 12, 2010 BY EDWARD TAYLOR, The Jamaica Observer from which I gleaned the fact that not only was it a partnership with DC Digital, but also that LIME TV was using DVB-H.

This is what prompted me to write the follow up on my blog article entitled “LIME TV vs Netflix - 101 Dalmations”. Alas, it struck me as decidedly odd that the author, a Mr. Edward Taylor, a supposed Consumer Electronics Writer and a Business Processing/Outsourcing Project Manager (what a long title!!!) could have made such a mistake (or is it a deception?!) by saying in his article, and I quote “Thirdly, there is a single antenna for the receiving device for both cellular and the DVB-H services, with low power consumption.

It must be noted that the DVB-H and the GSM Service (cellphone service) are received on different frequencies, so it does not depend on whether you have a 3G, 4G or even CDMA service”.

This is not possible. CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and its cousin WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) is Interference Limiting. This means that two (2) CDMA or WCDMA sources can transmit beside each other or in the same geographical vicinity and not interfere, as they have different Gold Codes and Chip Codes.

Thus relative to each other, any two (2) CDMA or WCDMA transmission sources can co-exist in the same geo-graphical area, even operating at the same frequencies, so long as the Gold Codes and Chip Codes used to decode the CDMA or WCDMA in each source is different.

Examples abound; Telecom Provider Verizon and Telecom Provider Sprint, Telecom Provider in the United States of America, operate on different carrier frequencies but are both CDMA, using WCDMA for their HSDPA+ (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) 3G services respectively.

On both these Networks, people using their Mobile phones cannot talk and use their data services at the same time, not because the CDMA for Voice and the WCDMA interfere, but because Telecom Provider Verizon uses their WCDMA for BOTH Voice and Data at the same time, so the channels carried inside of the WCDMA signal envelope cannot have two signals occupying the same logically assigned channels at the same time.

Or as we Jamaican Technicians say, “two donkey can bray one time, rasta”! It is NOT an example of CDMA signals interfering, as the two (2) Networks are known to share tower space and not have Interference problems, save for Microwave Antennas and their Microwave Radios, which are part of their Microwave Radio Network (American colloquial: backhaul) and Node B equipment that from time to time have Interference issues.

Local examples of this also exist in Telecom Provider CLARO Networks, which now sports a 1900 MHz CDMA Voice Network built from Huawei and a WCDMA HSDPA 1.5MBps 3G Network built also by Huawei that use a 850MHz frequency – and twain do they interfere, seeing the other as background noises, which are squelched out, due to the difference in Gold Codes and Chip Codes.

Great case studies for a paper on Interference!

On the other hand, Telecom Provider AT&T has a GSM (Global Systems) Voice Network and a HSDPA 3.5 MBps 3G Network, also based on WCDMA. The WCDMA does not see the Interference from the GSM, merely squelching it out, which is why such transmission systems can coexist.

But the GSM Network, which is based on GMSK (Gaussian Mask Shifted Keying) is not very noise tolerant, having a range of only 23km radius from the tower as opposed to the 3G Network which has a range of up to 33km radius from the tower from each sector Alpha, Beta and Gamma, Alpha facing due North and the Greek lettering assigned in a clockwise manner.

Thus, for all intents and purposes, the signal coverage is omni-directional, and although they can co-exist in term of hosting and transmission to the UE (User Equipment) from the Mobile Tower, the UE cannot use the 3G Network and make calls at the same time. Ironically, DVB-H, which is also Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM), a fancier way of saying CDMA or WCDMA, also has the same problems.

Mr. Edward Taylor’s assertion that DVB-H (DTT Service) and the GSM (Voice Service), and I quote “are received on different frequencies” suggesting that they can be decoded at the same time without Interference issues, which is certainly not true.

But the smoking gun that indicates that I may be correct in my assertion that Telecom Provider LIME TV Service is actually a VAS (Value Added Service) within another VAS is that later in the very same article, as Mr. Edward Taylor’s goes on to say, quote “Work is currently in progress to enable delivery to BlackBerry and other smart phones in the very near future”.

Since other phones, such as Blackberrys and smart phones do not have the DVB-H codec, Telecom Provider LIME would have to get a Software Developer or simply have the equipment supplier of the DVB-H in collaboration with the handset makers such as RIM of Blackberry develop a rootkit codec that would reprogram the EEPROM (Electronically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory) in order to enable the phone to receive the DVB-H signaling.

However, as DVB-H is a close cousin of 3G, both using WCDMA, it logically concurs that Customers with a 3G capable phone are most likely candidates for this codec, as to make an ordinary smart phone receive DVB-H and it has no WCDMA protocols or software codec to build on would effectively mean that Telecom Provider LIME would be rookit’ing regular 2G phones and turning them into 3G phones just to make them receive DVB-H, killing their 3G phone sale business.

Even in more advance Telecom Provider markets such as the US of A, this is NOT done, as Telecom Providers prefer to stream the content over their Wireless Broadband Networks e.g. Youtube, Netflix and Hulu, and charge Customers on a thirty (30) Day Subscription, instead of going this complex Engineering and Media obfuscation route. Worse, clues to Telecom Provider LIME’s real plans lie in Mr. Edward Taylor’s very own words in his own article.

Thus Telecom Provider Digicel, if they are smart, can counter-claim with regards to the charge by Telecom Provider LIME assertion that they [Telecom Provider Digicel] are not 4G as per the article my blog article entitled “Digicel vs LIME - Mortal Kombat over 4G Title” by asserting to the very same FTC (Fair Trading Commission) that LIME TV is not DVB-H. That would be interesting…………

Telecom Provider LIME is counting on the fact that the average Customer, who is not Tech Savvy nor a former Network Maintenance Technician (2001 to 2004) who suggested the idea of WiMaX back in 2002 while at C&W, to not know this.

Using the UE, the Customer will notice that they cannot be able to make a call and watch TV at the same time, as one service would be affected, necessitating that while a call is in being initiated, the Customer will have to turn off the TV Service or when receiving a call, the TV Service will automatically exit.

Knowing Telecom Provider LIME, they may deceive the Customer with a clever trick of making the service automatically return after the call has ended.

Thus the Customer is accepting of the fact that the two (2) services logically cannot operate at the same time without questioning the mechanics behind why that is so. Media obfuscation at its worst!

Worse, LIME TV is actually my suggestion to LIME, inclusive of the idea to use the 3G Carrier to carry the DVB-H, so it is left to the reader as to who to believe, as after all, this is LIME cum C&W, known for robbing Customers. Plus, with no 4” AMOLED phones as asserted in my blog article entitled “LIME TV vs Netflix - 101 Dalmations”, pricing, not my words, may be the deciding factor in the Customers mind, Lara Croft - Tomb Raider (2001) style, starring Angelina Jolie!

Especially as the Customer’s ask: why would I buy a phone with a very small screen, not even a Samsung Galaxy S or a Motorola Droid (my designs!!) to even watch TV when they can stream from the comfort of their couch over the Wireless Internet via their now improved 10MBps Digicel 4G Broadband as well as their now 50MBps and 100MBps FLOW Wired Broadband as per my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers, 100MBps Broadband and the Broadcasting Commission - Redemption Song”?

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