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Sinclair demoes ATSC UHD HDR

With the ATSC standard for next-generation broadcast television nearing completion, US broadcaster Sinclair Broadcast Group invited a delegation of 11 South Korean broadcast industry experts to witness the first end-to-end transmission of UHD High Dynamic Range (HDR) Scalable High Efficiency Video (SHVC) encoded content using the proposed ATSC 3.0 transmission standard.

The broadcast originated from Sinclair’s facility on Black Mountain near Las Vegas using a prototype Teamcast modulator and was received 15 miles away by prototype receiver technology developed by Technicolor and Sinclair’s subsidiary ONE Media.

“South Korea has moved rapidly to set aside TV spectrum for transmission of Ultra HDTV signals, which provide four times more picture information than a standard HDTV signal. With the help of Acrodyne Services, we converted a standby station transmission system to broadcast the UHD HDR SHVC supported by Technicolor’s MMT (MPEG Media Transport) over IP transport solution. Received with a prototype receiver, the pictures were absolutely stunning and show just one of the many capabilities of the new transmission system,” explained Kevin Gage, EVP, Strategic Development and CTO for ONE Media.

In November 2015, broadcasters from throughout the world converged on Shanghai, China for a successful ‘plugfest’ to try elements of the ATSC 3.0 standard that are moving to completion. Broadcasters and technology companies have been working quickly to begin commercialisation of the new flexible and scalable transmission system that is designed to replace today’s 20 year-old broadcast transmission technology.

The new ATSC 3.0 standard uses IP-based, over-the-air signals to deliver UHD, mobile TV, HDTV, standard-definition TV and new IP business opportunities. Currently in development and expected to be ratified as a full standard next year, this ‘Next Gen’ platform opens new avenues for broadcasters to offer wireless IP-based content advanced advertising, cached content for later playback, and advanced emergency alerting with far more comprehensive information than today’s text alerts.

“Indeed, one of the more important advantages of the next-gen TV system will be its compatibility with Internet Protocol signals,” said Mark Aitken, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s VP of Advanced Technology. “Broadcasters will be able to build out nationwide IP-based broadcast services.”

The Las Vegas demonstration is just a preview of what will be demonstrated at CES by ONE Media, supporting Sinclair, the Pearl TV consortium and Samsung, who earlier this year signed a Memorandum of Understanding. “We are able to show our South Korean guests what’s possible with a live, scalable UHD + HDR transmission, and how the flexible ATSC 3.0 standard will enhance TV broadcasting,” Aitken said. “Today’s demonstration shows the rapid commercialisation of the emerging ATSC 3.0 standard and the fact that multiple providers are already quickly adapting products to the forthcoming technology,” Aitken continued.

South Korean broadcasters and government officials are considering utilising the newly-minted ATSC 3.0 standard as a candidate to transmit Ultra HDTV transmissions of the XXIII Olympic Winter Games, which will originate in Pyeongchang, South Korea in February 2018. While ATSC will allow US broadcasters to transmit Ultra HDTV and provide other services in their existing 6 MHz channels, South Korea has assigned new channels to South Korean broadcasters planning to transmit in UHD.

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