Many U.S. broadcasters view the adoption of the digital encoding scheme as crucial to the new ATSC 3.0 standard. They say it’s the best bet for stations to deliver strong, robust signals for reception not only on big-screen TVs with indoor antennas, but also smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. An OFDM-based standard, they say, would facilitate a TV station’s ability to “cellularize” its broadcasting system — that is, supplement its main transmitter and antenna with several strategically located booster stations broadcasting on the same frequencies.
While Sinclair is working on its own next-gen transmission standard because it doesn’t like where ATSC 3.0 is headed, there’s another option. The station groups should become fully involved in ATSC — that’s the best way to insure that the standard that finally emerges in 2016 will jibe with their business strategy and give them a fighting chance.
Spearheaded by Mark Aitken, Sinclair’s VP of advanced technology, the new “broadcast-centric” transmission standard is being designed to address an issue Sinclair feels is being left out of ATSC’s efforts: the ability to reach viewers on their mobile devices. “ATSC 3.0 ought to be whatever broadcasters want it to be,” Aitken says. “This process should be about bringing broadcasters to the table for a solution, rather than having it dictated to them by TV set manufacturers.”
Dr. Richard Chernock, the chief science officer of Triveni Digital, will succeed James Kutzner as head of the Technology Group 3 working on developing ATSC 3.0 broadcast TV standards.
Broadcasters attending this year’s event in New York City (Nov. 13-14) can easily fill their two-day schedule with sessions about how to deliver video to mobile devices, how to get ready for ATSC 3.0 and how to improve HD images in a 4K world.
The demonstration took place in Australia, but it showed how U.S. television stations could potentially broadcast in the future. Ericsson, in partnership with Qualcomm, submitted its LTE Broadcast Solution to the Advance Television Systems Committee as a proposal for ATSC 3.0, the next-generation U.S. broadcast standard. “LTE Broadcast provides the ability to send the same content simultaneously to a very large number of devices in a target area,” says Thomas Norén, VP, head of Project Area Radio at Ericsson.
Six years ago, a handful of broadcasters began talking up the idea of using excess digital spectrum to broadcast programming to mobile devices. In 2010 NBC and Fox joined several TV station groups to form the Mobile Content Venture. But here we sit in the waning days of 2013 and mobile DTV is no closer to fulfilling its early promise than it was in 2010. It’s a lost cause. Broadcasters now need to throw their support behind ATSC 3.0, the new broadcast standard being developed that promises to deliver a signal so rugged that it can be picked up on mobile devices without the deal-breaking external antennas.
In partnership with Harris Broadcast, “Futurecast” is designed to increase data throughput by 30%, improve mobile TV and indoor TV reception and feature robust transmission capabiltiies for things like 4K broadcasts. Notably, the proposed physical layer doesn’t mention DVB, the European standard that was included in several of the ATSC 3.0 proposals. LG developed the current ATSC standard used today.
At the IBC Show this week in Amsterdam, the DVB standards body is showing off one of the top priority goals of ATSC 3.0 using its DVB-T2 standard: A single terrestrial signal that’s robust enough to send a 4K broadcast to a television set and a lower-resolution broadcast to a mobile device.
Proposals for the upcoming ATSC 3.0 TV transmission base much of their plans on the European standard DVB-T2. The ATSC’s goal is to develop a standard by 2016 that generates a signal robust enough to be received on smartphones and tablets and on TV sets with indoor antennas virtually anywhere. “I’m very pleased with all of the responses,” says Mark Richer, ATSC president. “There’s a great range of companies, a lot of support.”
On Friday, 19 organizations filed 10 proposals for ATSC 3.0, the next-generation television standard. Filers included LG, Harris Broadcast, Samsung and Sony. One company of notable interest is the nation’s largest TV station owner: Sinclair Broadcast Group.
The global interactive broadcasting standard will be the focus of U.S. broadcasters at next month’s IBC gathreing in Amsterdam. Says Kevin Gage, NAB’s chief technology officer: “Our job is to go look at what are potential future capabilities of television in the U.S. The outreach with HbbTV is all part of the learning process.”
Sinclair Broadcast Group CEO David Smith is demonstrating industry leadership in his drive to get the industry to adapt ATSC 3.0, the next-gen TV standard. His fervent and repeated claims that only the swift adoption of a new standard will save the industry from a slow, but inevitable obsolescence, may not always be welcome, but there’s no denying it’s a message that needs to be heard and acted on.
Sinclair Broadcast Group CEO David Smith has a vision. It’s that broadcasting can go toe-to-toe with cable, satellite, wireless broadband and any other medium in providing multichannel TV that lets advertisers target ads to the individual consumers most likely to buy. That’s why he’s adamant that broadcasters need to adopt ATSC 3.0 as the next-generation TV standard as quickly as possible. Without it, he says, “we can’t compete.”
Bill Lake, the FCC’s Media Bureau Chief, told the standards group that ATSC 3.0 — the next-generation and non-backwards compatible television standard — can’t be completed and deployed without holding up the spectrum auction and channel repack.
Noting that 25 more stations have said they will soon be offering a mobile DTV service, Smith told the crowd at today’s NAB Show opening session that broadcasters have an advantage in the mobile marketplace. “Our one-to-many architecture allows us to deliver a product where there is no streaming necessary, so there’s no signal congestion.” And he urged broadcasters to “rise up to meet consumers’ desire for more live, local TV content.”
Starting this weekend, broadcasters will be tempted with new ways of producing, managing, storing and airing programming with promises of better quality and greater efficiency. Prominent among those new ways will be cloud technology, mobile DTV and next-generation transmission standards.
A TVNewsCheck survey shows that when it comes to ATSC 3.0 — the next-generation television standard — chief engineers by a nine to one margin say delivering broadcasts to mobile devices is more important than broadcasting in 4K or 3D.
The Advanced Television Standards Committee released its call for proposals for ATSC 3.0 with responses due by Sept. 27.
In the next couple of weeks, the Advanced Televisions Standards Committee will issue a call for proposals for ATSC 3.0 — a new physical layer that aims to bring broadcasting in 4K and multiscreen viewing to fruition — to broadcasters, consumer electronic manufacturers and professional equipment manufacturers.
What if you could buy a 50-inch television, mount it anywhere in your house, and receive dozens of channels on it for free and without any futzing around? What if most or all broadcast signals, in their native form, were easily receivable on tablets and smartphones?
I don’t think you’ll find many savvy broadcasters who don’t believe that ATSC 3.0 is absolutely critical if the medium is to remain competitive in the digital world. But what needs to be done is to get the ATSC 3.0 initiative on the same page as the FCC’s incentive auction so that the related TV band repacking takes into account the attributes of the new standard and so the public and broadcasters don’t have to suffer the trauma of TV band disruption twice.
The new ATSC 3.0 Technology Group — TG3 — is designed to develop broadcast specifications for a range of new services including Internet-enhanced broadcasting and non-real-time and 3D broadcast standards, as well as ongoing support for the ATSC mobile DTV standard.