ATSC invites next-gen broadcasting proposals

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) has announced a call for proposals for the “physical layer” of this next-generation broadcast TV standard that in the years ahead could replace the current digital broadcasting systems used in the United States and around the world. The physical layer is the core transmission system that is the basis for any over-the-air broadcast system.

With members from the broadcasting, broadcast equipment, motion picture, consumer electronics, computer, cable, satellite and semiconductor industries, ATSC is defining the future of television by developing and approving open technical standards. The next-generation ATSC 3.0 broadcast television standard must provide improvements in performance, functionality and efficiency that are significant enough to warrant the challenges of a transition to a new system.

“The ATSC was formed 30 years ago to create standards for advanced television, and the successful transition to digital television broadcasting using ATSC standards is serving the public well,” said ATSC President Mark Richer. “Using the ATSC Digital Television standard adopted by the FCC in 1996, broadcasters led the way in the development and introduction of digital HDTV, a revolutionary advance in picture and sound quality from analog television. With the completion of the digital transition in 2009, 108 Megahertz of UHF spectrum is available to be auctioned by the FCC for new wireless broadband uses.”

“Technology continues to advance and we are always looking to the horizon. Internet technology now permeates the consumer experience, and mobility has become a requirement. As we look forward to next-generation television standards, we want to take advantage of advances in compression and transmission technologies that will keep millions of people informed and entertained through broadcasting’s inherently efficient one-to-many architecture,” said Richer, highlighting the initial work on ATSC 3.0.

Glenn Reitmeier, ATSC Chairman, noted that “the ATSC 3.0 effort is a crucial time for broadcasters, professional equipment manufacturers, consumer device manufacturers and all stakeholders to collaborate and create the future capabilities of over-the-air broadcasting.”

While work is already underway to enhance the existing ATSC TV system with Internet compatibility and caching capability for storing programs (a backwards compatible suite of enhancements dubbed the “ATSC 2.0” standard), the future needs of viewers and broadcasters will be the focus of the “ATSC 3.0” initiative, Richer explained. The ATSC 3.0 Technology Group (TG3) will develop the Standards and Recommended Practices for the next-generation digital terrestrial TV broadcasting system.

The focus of the call for proposals is on the ATSC 3.0 physical layer technologies to define the modulation and error coding technologies that will provide a foundation for the next terrestrial broadcast system.

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