A method and apparatus are disclosed for operating a transport stream encoder to produce a stream of packets carrying data representing a plurality of component signals which comprises the following steps. The packet stream is partitioned into successive groups, each group containing a predetermined number of packet slots. A plurality of priority lists is maintained, one for each of the packet slots in the group. Each priority list contains a plurality of entries, and each entry identifies one of the component signals. When a packet slot is to be produced, the entries in the priority list corresponding to that packet slot are traversed, one at a time. For each of those entries it is determined whether the component signal identified by that entry can produce a packet. If it can, a packet containing data representing that component signal is produced. Only if none of the component signals identified by the entries in the priority list can produce a packet is a null packet produced.
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