Cable TV Test Of 3.0 Coming To Portland, OR

Seven stations in the market are working together with Comcast to test how NextGen TV signals could best be transmitted by cable TV systems.

Broadcasters supporting the Phoenix Model Market project for NextGen TV along with broadcaster group Pearl TV today announced that they have begun initial testing of NextGen TV over limited cable infrastructure, through a cooperative effort with Comcast. NextGen TV is using ATSC 3.0, the landmark technology now being deployed across the country that is designed to merge over-the-air with over-the top TV content.

The Phoenix Model Market Partners are now working closely with Comcast in Portland, Ore., to explore how to deliver NextGen TV services to Comcast’s infrastructure in an effort that will require significant technical collaboration.  This work could give the industry a foundation for a “real world” technical example of how to transmit ATSC 3.0 over hybrid fiber-coaxial infrastructure.

“While the Phoenix Model Market continues to expand its testing capability, we will be working together with industry leader Comcast to test out compatibility between both the current cable and future broadcast architecture in the Portland market.  We want to ensure that our viewers over cable can enjoy the enhanced video and audio experience that NextGen TV plans to offer,” said Anne Schelle, managing director of Pearl TV, which is also managing the Phoenix Model Market implementation. “Seven local broadcasters are now on the air with NextGen TV in Portland, so it makes sense to work with a major operator in the area like Comcast to determine what’s needed to distribute this new capability to cable customers,” Schelle said.

Jerry Parkins, senior director of digital technology and standards for Comcast, said: “We’re excited to participate in this important work to advance NextGen TV using the new features of ATSC’s 3.0 set of standards. While it is still very early in the process, this short-term integration effort will provide broadcast partners, manufacturers, and our technical groups valuable insights into the performance of the technology. We are currently exercising our links with the broadcast ATSC 3.0 over-the-air transmission signal, as well as adding more fiber link resources to our local headend as an important first step.”

The initial stages in the collaboration will develop the technical capability to pass along NextGen TV’s 4K Ultra HD content through cable and eventually to enable further features such as High Dynamic Range (HDR10), Wide Color Gamut and the ATSC 3.0 standard’s advanced immersive audio capabilities.

In July, seven television stations in Portland — including KATU (ABC), KOIN (CBS), KGW (NBC), KPTV (Fox), KOPB-TV (PBS), KRCW-TV (CW) and KPDX (MNT) — became among the first in the nation to begin broadcasting with NextGen TV. Based on the same fundamental technology as the Internet, digital applications, and other web services, NextGen TV can support a wide range of features currently in development, such as immersive audio and video (up to 4K), broadcasting to mobile devices, personalized viewing tools, and advanced emergency alerts providing rich media instead of simple text messages.


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