Triveni Digital’s Rich Chernock, who’s leading the technical group responsible for developing the ATSC 3.0 standard, says progress has been impressive. On a technical level, perhaps the most significant is that the standard is being developed in such a way that it will be able to flex and absorb new technologies that inevitably will come along. And on political and economic levels, ATSC 3.0, he says, has the possibility of providing a framework for a global television standard that could work for the next 30-40 years.
Chernock Predicts ATSC 3.0 Will Hit The Mark
Rich Chernock, chief science officer of Triveni Digital, and the man who is heading up the effort to develop a next-generation digital television broadcasting standard, by all outward appearances looks to be calm and confident that the Advanced Television Systems Committee will have its candidate standard for ATSC 3.0 by the end of the first quarter of 2015.
Not only does Chernock look relaxed, but in his soft-spoken manner he said he truly feels at peace with the efforts of those toiling away on the different parts of the standard because they are on track to get the job done by the deadline.
During an exclusive interview hours after chairing the Sept. 13 “Future Television Technologies” technical session at IBC 2014 in Amsterdam, Chernock said all of the parties involved in the process understand the urgency of getting the standard done without delay.
“Everyone knows that if this drags out 10 years, it will be too late,” he said.
Chernock, who serves as chairman of ATSC TG-3, the technical group responsible for developing the ATSC 3.0 standard, said some remarkable things have happened in the quest to achieve a new standard.
On a technical level, perhaps the most significant is that the standard is being developed in such a way that it will be able to flex and absorb new technologies that inevitably will come along.
Everyone involved understands broadcasters do not want a repeat of ATSC 1.0 (A/53), which locked them into technology — specifically MPEG-2 — that was state-of-the-art at the time the standard was adopted, but has been far surpassed since by a succession of compression algorithms, he said.
Chernock pointed to ATSC 3.0’s physical layer, which will be able to absorb future modulation techniques as they come along; its transport layer, which can accommodate new compression techniques that may be developed; and even the decision of those at work on the standard to include Future Extension Frames, or FEF, which can enable other wireless technologies, like Wi-MAX, LTE or even some other future wireless signal to be tucked inside an ATSC 3.0 transmission, as examples of the standard’s planned extensibility.
On political and economic levels, the remarkable thing about ATSC 3.0 is that it has the possibility of providing a framework for a global television standard, Chernock said. That’s not to be confused with ATSC 3.0 becoming a worldwide TV standard for individual nations, but rather a flexible foundation upon which broadcasters around the globe can develop standards to meet their individual needs.
Unlike in the past when countries or nation-blocks promulgated their own television standards — in part to protect the economic interests of large, domestic technology companies — ATSC 3.0 has a shot at achieving this framework status because it’s flexible enough to accommodate diverse requirements and complex enough to give lots of technology companies a place to wrap in their individual intellectual property.
Chernock said he has been pleased so far with the level of international involvement in the ATSC 3.0 development process. One example is a provision in ATSC 3.0 for an over-the-air back-channel from viewer homes to stations that was recommended and developed by broadcasters from China. Another has been assistance from the Future of Broadcast Television, or FOBTV, initiative in providing research data input.
However, the most remarkable thing about ATSC 3.0 may be its staying power, said Chernock.
Given the standard’s planned extensibility and the input it has received from around the world, Chernock said ATSC 3.0 may be able to carry the television industry forward 30 to 40 years into the future.
For more on IBC 2014, click here.