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Question 13/9 – Transmission of Large Screen Digital Imagery1 programmes for contribution and distribution purposes
(modified former Question 15/9)


A new practice, called "Large Screen Digital Imagery (LSDI)", is being introduced in several countries, whereby dramas, plays, sporting events, concerts, cultural events, etc. can be distributed in the form of digital signals, in real-time or non-real-time, for collective viewing in theatres, halls, and other venues equipped with digital imaging capabilities.

This practice is intended to produce an excellent presentation in terms of picture and sound quality, size of the presentation screen, and presentation environment. It is expected to offers benefits, in terms of faster and less expensive distribution of programme material for collective viewing.

LSDI also opens the possibility to distribute programme material, having a picture and sound quality appropriate to large screen presentation, to communities that would not otherwise have access to large-screen entertainment such as in small towns or rural areas, particularly when the population is spread over a large territory.

In a future perspective, it can be expected that the use of LSDI will also benefit developing countries, which may choose to rely on large-screen community viewing for the delivery of entertainment, education, news and information programmes, when the cost of the necessary equipment will become attractive thanks to economies of scale in its production.

Studies on LSDI are currently under way in several national, regional, or worldwide organizations and industry groups such as MPEG, and notably in ITU-R Study Group 6, whose scope includes several aspects of LSDI.

It is desirable and urgent that ITU-T Study Group 9 should participate in those studies, for the part that falls within its scope2. These studies would include aspects related to content management, conditional access and protection against unauthorized copying3, taking into account the requirements specific to the LSDI application. For instance, point-to-multipoint satellite distribution of LSDI programming to LSDI presentation theatres would require file transfer or streaming at a high data rate, using a channel coding and modulation method resilient to channel errors, and using also a robust conditional access system.

The purpose of those studies is to identify technical solutions to the transport of LSDI programme material, making sure that those are harmonized or interoperable with the solutions studied by other organizations and industry groups for LSDI, notably with the solutions studied by ITU-R Study Group 6 for LSDI secondary distribution via the digital broadcasting infrastructure (terrestrial and satellite).


  • Do the LSDI applications and the related quality levels, that will be identified by ITU-R Study Group 6, adequately cover all the applications of LSDI and the related quality levels identified within Study Group 9, and if they do not, which additional applications should be taken into account?
  • Which solutions, readily interfaceable to those studied by ITU-R Study Group 6, should be recommended for point-to-point contribution transmission of LSDI programme material over physical connections?
  • Which solutions, similarly interfaceable, should be recommended for point-to-point or point-to-multipoint primary distribution transmission of finished LSDI programmes over physical connections?
  • Which solutions, equally interfaceable, can be recommended for point-to-multipoint secondary transmission of finished LSDI programmes to audiences at large, using the interconnected, capillary infrastructures of digital cable television?
  • Can provisions currently designed for implementation during programme delivery for programme content management, conditional access and protection against unauthorized copying12 be used or extended to meet the needs of LSDI applications, or should specific methods be studied to meet the needs of some applications of LSDI, which are specific to the scope of Study Group 9?
  • What enhancements to existing Recommendations are required to provide energy savings directly or indirectly in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) or in other industries? What enhancements to developing or new Recommendations are required to provide such energy savings?


Tasks include, but are not limited to the preparation of some new Recommendations, which will specify the methods to be used for the delivery of LSDI programmes for purposes of contribution and of primary distribution, and over the digital cable television infrastructure.

While studies of LSDI may include characteristics in the terms of reference of Study Group 9 (see footnote 11 above) that are common to motion pictures , Study Group 9 recognises that aspects specifically relating to motion pictures should be based on standards developed by the motion picture expert groups.

The studies should be completed by the end of the year 2012.

An up-to-date status of work under this Question is contained in the SG 9 Work Programme.


Co-operation in the study of this Question should be established with at least ITU-R Study Group 6 that has already started work on LSDI and has already expressed a need for co-operation with Study Group 9.

The Annex provides a first indication of entities within and outside the ITU that have an expertise relevant to LSDI and could cooperate to LSDI studies within the ITU.

Annex to Question 13/9

Some bodies within and outside the ITU that could provide cooperation on LSDI

The list below provides a first indication of entities within and outside the ITU that have an expertise relevant to LSDI and could cooperate to LSDI studies within the ITU.

ITU bodies

  • ITU-R Working Party 6A
  • ITU-R Working Party 6E
  • ITU-R Working Party 6M
  • ITU-R Working Party 6P
  • ITU-R Working Party 6Q
  • ITU-R Working Party 6R
  • ITU-R Working Party 6S

Other international standardizing bodies

  • IEC – International Electrotechnical Commission
  • ISO – International Organization for Standardization
  • MPEG – Moving Picture Experts Group
  • Regional standardizing bodies
  • AES – Audio Engineering Society
  • DVB – Digital Video Broadcasting
  • ETSI – European Telecommunications Standards Institute
  • EDCF - European Digital Cinema Forum
  • IEEE – Institute of Electronical & Electronics Engineers
  • SMPTE – Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers
  • International unions of broadcasters
  • WBU-TC – Technical Committee of the World Broadcasting Unions
  • Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU)
  • Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU)
  • Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU)
  • European Broadcasting Union (EBU)
  • International Association of Broadcasters (IAB)
  • North American Broadcasters Association (NABA)
  • Organisaciˇn de Televisiˇn Ibero-Americana (OTI)
  • Union des Radiodiffusions et TÚlÚvisions Nationales d'Afrique (URTNA).

Other bodies

  • Associations of theater owners and operators (e.g. U.S. National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) and Motion Picture Theatre Owners Association of Canada (MPTAC), etc.).
  • Associations of manufacturers
  • Associations of programme distributors

1Large Screen Digital Imagery is a family of digital imagery systems applicable to programmes such as dramas, plays, sporting events, concerts, cultural events, etc., from capture to large screen presentation in high resolution quality in appropriately equipped theatres, halls, and other venues.

2Study Group 9 prepares and maintains Recommendations on:

  • Use of cable and hybrid networks, primarily designed for television and sound programme delivery to the home, as integrated broadband networks to also carry voice or other time critical services, video on demand, interactive services, etc.
  • Use of telecommunication systems for contribution, primary distribution and secondary distribution of television, sound programmes and similar data services.

3In addition to watermarking or an equivalent provision, protection against unauthorized copying requires that clear-text programme signals are never allowed to traverse signal lines outside of the physical boundaries of the equipment at the receiving premises. To accommodate this requirement, a secondary scrambling system is required to temporarily cover these signals during their in-premises distribution (see ITU-T Recommendation J.95).


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Updated : 2008-12-10