The debate still rages on the Popular is20 satellite Mpeg2  Mpeg4. Good question. Rather than giving our opinion lets give you some facts to assist you in assessing mpeg2 vs mpeg4 yourself.

History of MPEG encoding
  • Mpeg2 was 1st established in 1994, making it 23 year old technology (how many people drive a 23 year old car or watch a 23 year old TV, we upgrade as technology advances without even thinking) Mpeg2 was adopted extremely fast as it was the 1st digital format. Before that broadcasts were analogue which took massive amounts of bandwidth and hence massive costs. The mpeg2 technology brought massive overnight saving and was adopted faster than any other format to date
  • Critically Mpeg2 does not support mpeg4 and not forwards compatible due to its age
  • Mpeg4 was 1st finalized in 1998 and has had a slow adoption due to the fact people invested massively in mpeg2 infrastructure a few years before and hence they are not as keen to change to mpeg4 as they have to upgrade hardware again.
  • Mpeg4 supports mpeg2 and is backwards compatible.
  • Mpeg4 gives around 2.5x MORE quality for the same bandwidth. Eg 1mbps Mpeg4 gives same visual quality of around 2.5mbps Mpeg2
  • So Mpeg2 costs you 2.5x more than Mpeg4 will
  • Most decoders sold in Africa in the last 6 years support mpeg4, Strong Decoders, Wellav and more so more people have more compatible decoders then they realise.
  • At some stage you will have to move to mpeg4, its just a matter of time as the old technology gives way for the new, driven by the needs to save costs. Why delay the change and continue to pay extra costs for old mpeg2
What does Mpeg4 look like compared to mpeg2?

All the technical aside what does it look like. Seeing is believing. Here is a great example comparing 5.27mbps mpeg2 to 1.9mbps mpeg4 side by side. Note there seems to be very little difference. THIS shows the efficiency of mpeg4 over mpeg2. Tested on both slow movement ad sports to show both for real world test

and another image to demonstrate this in fast movement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Axg2IJVBhg

BUT I will lose viewers moving to mpeg4

The truth is, no one really knows the percentage split of mpeg2 vs mpeg4 decoders in the market on is20 all we can do is look at the current trends and try guesstimate where things will be moving towards. Some will argue stats to promote old mpeg2 others the same for mpeg4 but neither argument is based on any audited stats to guide the opinion.

The reality is with new networks launching they are all supporting mpeg4 form the start.

  • New DSTV decoders are mpeg4 ready as DSTV moves to Mpeg4 DVB-s2, Many people viewing IS20 use DSTV decoders so the new ones are supported.
  • OVHD the popular free to air platform decoders are Mpeg4
  • Most decent FTA decoders sold in the last few years support DVB-s2 mpeg4
  • Currently there are well over 23 Mpeg4 channels on is20, this may not sound like a lot but its more than double in the last 6 months or so, so people are changing over to save money. (verify what we are saying here https://www.lyngsat.com/Intelsat-20.html)
  • Truth is Mpeg2 is doing to die its just a matter of time. At some stage you will have to make the change. Its happening already with analogue TV move to digital with several countries switching off analogue already. Why not change sooner than later and start to save money sooner as well.
Our suggestion:
  1. If you have an existing channel, Pole your viewers to see what decoders they are viewing with so you get an idea of the % split for yourself to make an informed decision.
  2. If you are a new channel start with new technology and move forwards not backwards t move forwards.
  3. Look at your budget, are you under financial pressure and would saving costs help. Saving costs with mpeg4 means a savings but does NOT mean a quality compromise
  4. Do some independent research yourself to verify what you hear.
  5. Don’t let a supplier push you into a technology you are not happy with. Its your channel you are in control.

Truth is don’t sweat the is20 satellite mpeg2 mpeg4 decision. There are more important things to focus on for a successful satellite TV channel that allows people to view media you create in effective ways.

At Purple Turtle you get to speak with the CEO directly not a sales person driven to just make a sale and his commission at any cost.

Purple Turtle clients get support and action as they speak with the decision makers to get their problems solved. A Happy customer is our goal at all times.

Our contracts are written to keep us accountable. If we don’t do our job you fire us, no strings attached. Does your current is20 supplier have this level of accountability? Or do they try keep you bound in a contract that you can’t get out of?

Contact us today and we will send you an online assessment, so we can understand you needs and vision and match a custom solution to that vision and need.

BUT for MORE info on STARTING Your Own TV Channel visit our dedicated section on this HERE

For more about MPEG if your interested visit:



is20 satellite mpeg2 mpeg4