ATSC Begins Work On Next-Gen TV Standard

The Advanced Television Standards Committee released its call for proposals for ATSC 3.0 with responses due by Sept. 27.

Specifics on what the Advanced Television Standards Committee is looking for in the next-generation of broadcast television are now available.

The ATSC released its call for proposals for ATSC 3.0 Tuesday evening — a request that calls on broadcasters, consumer manufacturers and professional manufacturers to give their input on a new delivery method of real-time and non-real time television content and data to fixed and mobile devices.

A document posted on the ATSC website includes an assessment of technical requirements, possible applications and a list of complete specification for fixed and mobile services using new broadcast signals.

Interested parties need to send intent to respond to the CFP by Aug. 23 and submit their official response by Sept. 27.

“The ATSC 3.0 Technology Group will develop voluntary technical standards and recommended practices for the next-generation digital terrestrial television broadcast system,” according to an excerpt from the document.

“ATSC 3.0 is likely to be incompatible with current broadcast systems and therefore must provide improvements in performance, functionality and efficiency significant enough to warrant implementation of a non-backwards-compatible system. Interoperability with production systems and non-broadcast distribution systems should be considered.”


Jim Kutzner, PBS senior director of advanced technology and chair of the ATSC 3.0 Technology Group 3, says the CFP is for the physical layer only, which is the transmission system.

“That layer is the portion of ATSC 3.0 system that delivers the bits, but there is considerably more work to do to develop a complete 3.0 system,” he says. “Two other groups have recently been created that will address the middle and upper layers.  The middle layer, management and protocols, is the layer that no one sees but which does a lot of the heavy lifting in managing processes, data, and metadata.  The upper layer, application and presentation, is the interface to the user and includes the video and audio codecs but also other features such as those being developed in ATSC 2.0.”

Young Kwon Lim, product manger of Samsung Electronics Canada, is leading the management and protocols groups and Rajan Mehta, executive director of advanced technology at NBCUniversal and CTO of the Mobile Content Venture (also known as Dyle), is leading the application and presentation group.

That upper layer includes the consumer-friendly details — the ability to broadcast in 4K and potentially 8K and second-screen experiences. “It includes all of the other gadgets and widgets that are likely to be developed for this standard,” Kutzner says.

ATSC 2.0, an enhancement of the current standard that allows broadcast viewers to store and watch video on demand — in non-real time — is on its way to becoming a candidate standard in May. Kutzner says his group will take what was successful in 2.0 and improve on it for 3.0.

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