ATSC 3.0 Featured Prominently at 2018 NAB Conference

“The Road to ATSC 3.0: Powered by ATSC 3.0” Ribbon Cutting CeremonyDeployment of ATSC 3.0 is off and running, with a strong showing this month at this year’s NAB Conference in Las Vegas. More than 40 exhibitors and 22 technology-and-business sessions demonstrated the level of interest in the new Next Generation Broadcast TV standard, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony kicking off the activities.

ATSC President Mark Richer underscored the level of 3.0 presence at the show, saying “That’s how we know it’s real, and that’s how we know it’s happening,” and Sam Metheny, EVP/CTO at NAB, said that while ATSC is now “moving to the implementation phase,” it is a “living standard that will continue to evolve over time.” Mike Bergman, ‎Senior Director, Technology & Standards at the Consumer Technology Association, anticipates “broad deployment, and a breathtakingly immersive viewing experience,” which should complement the growing momentum of 4K TV sales.

Now that the ATSC 3.0 standard has been approved, broadcasters can develop two-way, IP-based connections with their viewers and deliver TV experiences on par with other digital media. Looking to the future, conference panelists addressed key Next Gen TV capabilities, including enhanced audience insights, addressable advertising, interactivity, and personalization, along with plans to generate incremental revenue and audience engagement.

Broadcasters are used to slow change, but now need to change faster, even on a monthly basis. The world is changing faster, and consumer demands are changing, with OTA viewership growing, and OTT services and usage growing. Mobile viewing continues to increase, a cord cutting / shaving / nevers are changing TV marketplace dynamics. On-demand viewing is an assumed feature, and digital advertising is increasingly powerful, so targeted advertising is now essential.

Chart courtesy of NAB Pilot Program

SFNs (single-frequency networks, a broadcast technology comparable to mobile cellular networks) will enable all of these new services, and data analytics will drive the opportunities. The WiFi/mobile broadband return channel defined by ATSC 3.0 means that even simple receivers need a back channel.

While MVPDs (Multichannel video programming distributors, i.e. cable and satellite) have long provided a revenue stream to broadcasters through retransmission-consent agreements, this could be one key area of the change in business model made possible by ATSC 3.0, which is not mandated by the FCC, other than at the transmission layer, and whose carriage is not currently subject to retrans obligations.

Broadcasters are interested in gathering viewership data from mobile devices and doing dynamic ad insertion. Reaching individuals will be attractive to advertisers, and broadcasters can now put movies into home boxes for Netflix, bypassing MVPDs. ATSC 3.0 is thus poised as a medium to test new business models, and broadcasters can partner with other spectrum owners and mobile carriers to supplement the “traditional” mobile spectrum.

The Phoenix Model Market project is the first collaborative single-market effort to plan for and implement a transition to next-generation over-the-air television broadcasting. Twelve stations in the Phoenix market are participating, with service testing expected to start Q2’18, and consumer service testing in Q4’18. In addition to business model testing, consumer testing will extend into 2019.

Among the consumer-facing business models to be tested are program guide & hybrid TV, personalization, and emergency alerts. On the broadcaster side, content protection, data & measurement, advanced advertising, and transition models will be evaluated.

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Next Generation Broadcast TV

AGC Systems has advised and worked with clients to influence, develop, and realize the technologies that form the basis of Next Generation Broadcast Television (NGBT), including the ATSC 3.0 Broadcast Standards.  Starting with the original ATSC Planning Teams, and progressing to the latest developments, we have participated closely in the development of:

As a result of our advisory services, our clients have achieved their short- and long-term objectives for new business development.

FCC Circulates NPRM to Authorize “Next Generation” Broadcast Television

THE FCC has pre-released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), supporting the authorization of television broadcasters to use the “Next Generation” broadcast television (Next Gen TV) transmission standard developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (“ATSC 3.0”). They support a voluntary, market-driven basis, while broadcasters continue to deliver current-generation digital television (DTV) broadcast service, using the ATSC A/53 standard.

ATSC 3.0 is being developed by broadcasters with the intent of merging the capabilities of over-the-air (OTA) broadcasting with the broadband viewing and information delivery methods of the Internet, using the same 6 MHz channels presently allocated for DTV.

A coalition of broadcast and consumer electronics industry representatives has petitioned the Commission to authorize the use of ATSC 3.0, saying this new standard has the potential to greatly improve broadcast signal reception, particularly on mobile devices and television receivers without outdoor antennas, and that it will enable broadcasters to offer enhanced and innovative new features to consumers, including Ultra High Definition (UHD) picture and immersive audio, more localized programming content, an advanced emergency alert system (EAS) capable of waking up sleeping devices to warn consumers of imminent emergencies, better accessibility options, and interactive services.

With this action, the FCC says its aim is “to facilitate private sector innovation and promote American leadership in the global broadcast industry.” This document has been circulated for tentative consideration by the Commission at its open meeting on February 23. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has determined that, in the interest of promoting the public’s ability to understand the nature and scope of issues under consideration by the Commission, the public interest would be served by making this document publicly available before officially requesting public comment.

ATSC Issues Request for Information Regarding Conformance Testing and Assessment Programs to Support Implementation of Next-Gen TV

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Goal is to Assure Quality Consumer Experience,
Interoperability Between Next-Gen Receivers and Broadcast Content

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10, 2016 – The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) related to the development of Conformance Test Suite Development and Conformity Assessment programs to support the implementation of the ATSC 3.0 next-generation television broadcast standard.

According to ATSC President Mark Richer, the high-level goals of these programs include assuring a quality experience for consumers when viewing and interacting with ATSC 3.0 content, and assuring interoperability between broadcast content and receivers.

“The ATSC expects TV stations to begin testing in earnest in 2017, with early U.S. market deployments in the first half of 2018. To help achieve the highest quality user experience and to assure interoperability, the ATSC and other industry groups have a keen interest in the development of test suites and tools,” Richer said.

The RFI seeks input from industry experts in four areas of testing — Coding, Transmission & Reception; Data & Metadata; and Interactivity; and Security.  Specifically, the RFI addresses test suites, test automation, version management, test result formats and administration. The RFI also focuses on program management, including policy and procedure development and third-party assessment plans, as well as implementation tools and experience.

Richer explained that the RFI responses will inform the ATSC and allied organizations as they establish a framework, including initial plans and high-level budgeting, for the conformity assessment program.  It is expected the program will eventually be administered under the auspices of one or more industry organizations.

Current planning and technical work for ATSC 3.0 is focused on Internet Protocol-based service delivery and lays the foundation for improved viewing features, such as 4K Ultra HD, targeted advertising, high dynamic range and mobile/portable reception. ATSC 3.0 provides broadcasters the opportunity to deliver an enhanced viewing experience with interactive applications and program guides, including access to pre-cached video for later playback by viewers.

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About the ATSC:
The Advanced Television Systems Committee is defining the future of television with the ATSC 3.0 next-generation broadcast standard.   ATSC is an international, non-profit organization developing voluntary standards for digital television. The ATSC’s 140-plus member organizations represent the broadcast, broadcast equipment, motion picture, consumer electronics, computer, cable, satellite, and semiconductor industries. For more information visit www.atsc.org.

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