NBC, NAB demo ATSC 3.0 during Olympics broadcast

Capitol Broadcasting leveraged three of its other technology- and innovation-focused divisions for the event that was held at The State Club on the Centennial Campus of NC State University. (Glenn Dion and Shelly Leslie/Capitol Broadcasting Company)

Capitol Broadcasting’s WRAL-TV, NBCUniversal and the NAB conducted an ATSC 3.0 next-gen TV demo using a broadcast of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games from PyeongChang, South Korea.

The demo—which showed off 4K UHD video delivery, Layered Division Multiplexing technology and interactive applications—took place Monday night at the Centennial Campus of NC State University.

The companies involved called the demo the first-ever over-the-air broadcast of the new Dolby AC4 format and said the demo also showed Advanced Emergency Alerting with location-specific, interactive warnings.

The interactive applications, which were developed using HTML5, included an interactive program guide, video-on-demand content, as well as user-customizable statistics, athlete profiles, and country-specific information.

“We’re proud to work with our network, our technology partners and NAB to showcase ATSC 3.0 as the future of television,” said Jimmy Goodmon, president and COO of Capitol Broadcasting Company, in a statement. “Our company’s 80-year legacy is rooted in serving our community and using technology to innovate our coverage. Next Gen TV is the new frontier. We are excited about the possibilities.”

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Besides the broadcaster partners’ involvement, the demo used consumer display products from LG Electronics, Samsung, ETRI and a prototype home gateway developed by PILOT; professional reception and analysis equipment from ETRI and Triveni; and transmission chain equipment and support from Triveni, ETRI, DS Broadcast, Gates Air, Enensys, Ateme, Electronics Research Inc., Harmonic, Dolby and SES.

“There is no greater sporting event than the Olympics, and no better way to showcase the capabilities of the Next Gen TV standard,” said NAB Chief Technology Officer Sam Matheny in a statement. “The interactive applications highlight the types of experiences and engagement that are possible through the combination of broadcast and broadband that ATSC 3.0 delivers along with the amazing video and audio quality.”

The demonstrations featured many benefits that are not possible with the current broadcast standard, and that are only enabled by the next-generation ATSC 3.0 standard. NBC provided the 4K UHD video feed featuring high dynamic range and wide color gamut to provide a stunning view of the games. The audio was equally compelling with the new Dolby AC4, making viewers feel like they were part of the experience.