With ITU support, ATSC 3.0 eyes global expansion

ATSC 3.0 has been in development for years. (FierceVideo)

The Advanced Television Systems Committee said that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has adopted ATSC 3.0 as a recommended digital broadcast standard.

This means that ATSC 3.0, an IP-based digital standard for over-the-air broadcast, could soon be further developed and deployed internationally. ATSC 3.0, which is currently getting off the ground in the U.S., promises to offer improved over-the-air reception, immersive audio, deeper indoor reception, mobile reception, zoned programming/advertising, automotive services and advanced emergency alerting.

The ITU’s support for ATSC 3.0 comes ahead of CES 2020, which will likely be a big event for ATSC 3.0 announcements.

“With initial U.S. deployments in place, we’re anticipating the first announcements of consumer receivers for the U.S. market in the coming days. The decision by the ITU is yet another signal that digital terrestrial broadcasting has a bright future ahead,” said ATSC Board Chairman Lynn Claudy, senior vice president of technology for the National Association of Broadcasters, in a statement.

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Sinclair, which has lead the development and deployment of broadcast and consumer technology based on ATSC 3.0 in the U.S., cheered the ITU’s announcement.

"We're delighted that the nations of the world have approved use of this extraordinary new standard," said Sinclair CEO Christopher Ripley in a statement. "The Next Gen transmission standard will provide consumers with a host of new services and expand opportunities for broadcasters and service providers around the world. By integrating broadcast and broadband services, ATSC 3.0 also can be part of the 5G transmission ecosystem for non-television data transmission services.”

ATSC said the next step is to update the ITU Digital Handbook with best practices for implementation of ATSC 3.0. The group said its members will continue supporting international standards efforts, including through the new ATSC Planning Team 6 on Global Recognition of ATSC 3.0.

“ATSC appreciates the efforts of the U.S. Delegation to the ITU, led by the U.S. FCC, and we congratulate the ITU on its careful review and decision to include ATSC 3.0 as an official ITU standard. The system is currently commercially deployed in South Korea where audiences have been enjoying high-quality Ultra HD video and next generation audio from ATSC 3.0 broadcasts since 2017. U.S. commercial deployment begins in earnest this year,” said Madeleine Noland, president of ATSC, in a statement.