A major shift is in the offing for the TV industry as many broadcasters plot the move from ATSC 1.0 to the next-generation TV standards ATSC 3.0.
Going into NAB’s annual show, broadcasters will be focused on ATSC 3.0, which are due to be finalized soon and authorized by the FCC by the end of 2017.
ATSC 3.0 is an IP-based standard that will move broadcasters toward orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing, which allows for more integration and device compatibility. NAB CTO Sam Matheny discussed how the bigger pipe (24 Mbps, to be more or less exact) coupled with better compression technology will free up the bandwidth for broadcasters to offer 4K ultra HD, high dynamic range and immersive audio.
“That’s not just tech nonsense. It’s better storytelling,” is how Matheny put it last year during NAB Show New York, adding that it will amount to better viewer engagement, more compelling ad content, and thus more revenue.
At CES earlier this year, Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley outlined ATSC 3.0 as meeting five key criteria: delivering content to mobile devices; working seamlessly on the internet; enabling targeted advertising; providing robust content security; and increasing the amount of content that can be delivered over a 6 MHz spectrum.
“It future-proofs our industry,” Ripley said. “This is the standard we’ll be using 10 years from now. If the broadcast industry wants to prosper and thrive in this new IP world, there is no choice besides ATSC 3.0.”
At the NAB this year, two areas will be dedicated to ATSC 3.0: the NextGen TV Hub and the ATSC 3.0 Pavilion. Both are located in the North Hall, but the Hub will be more consumer-oriented and the Pavilion will be more directed toward broadcast technology.
At this year’s show, local broadcast station KLSV will be transmitting an ATSC 3.0 signal in Ultra HD from the Black Mountains to the TV sets located throughout the show.
Over the course of the show, the majority of ATSC 3.0 sessions will occur within the Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology Conference. On Saturday, Entertainment Technology Consultant Geoffrey Tully will discuss a “graceful” evolution to past HD with Fred Baumgartner, TV product manager at Nautel, including the extension of high-value content over broadcast, cable and OTT.
On Sunday, GatesAir’s Joe Seccia and Pete Sockett, director of engineering and operations at Capitol Broadcasting Company, will go over how best to plan for the channel repack that could double as a transition to ATSC 3.0 for many broadcasters.
On Monday, Chet Dagit, managing director of RTR Holdings—Lokita Solutions; John Lawson, executive director of the AWARN Alliance; and Theodore Stoner, VP of distribution technology strategy at Univision, will discuss ATSC 3.0’s enablement of OTT and OTA second-screen apps. On Tuesday, Jay Adrick, a consultant with Broadcast Technology Consulting; Edward Czarnecki, senior director of strategic development for Digital Alert Systems; and Alan Jurison, senior operations engineer at iHeartMedia, will go over the advanced emergency alerting capabilities possible with ATSC 3.0.
And that’s just a sampling of all the sessions at NAB this year that will be covering ATSC 3.0 and all the moving parts that go along with one of the biggest and most impactful developments occurring in the broadcast TV industry.