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Harmonic drives ATSC 3.0 demo station

A TV station in Raleigh-Durham is being used to test the next-generation Ultra-HD concept, complete with High Dynamic Range and Wider Color Gamut technologies, all as specified in the USA’s ATSC 3.0 plan.

WRAL-TV, owned by Capital Broadcasting and an affiliate station of NBC, is using Harmonic’s broadcast encoders powered by Harmonic’s PURE Compression Engine.

WRAL-TV kicked off its new ATSC 3.0 TV station by airing the live midday newscast while broadcasting a 4K UHD documentary, “Take Me Out to the Bulls Game,” leveraging the ATSC 3.0 standard in its current form.

“Once ATSC 3.0 is approved and commercial TV stations begin the migration process, they’ll be able to deliver better pictures with 4K UHD and 1080p resolution along with HDR and WCG,” said Pete Sockett, director of engineering and operations at WRAL-TV. “An important part of this testing process is ensuring the integrity of those images with the best possible fidelity for our viewers, and Harmonic’s HEVC encoders have proven to fulfil that need.”

Expected to be completed later this year, ATSC 3.0 is a new suite of digital television standards that leverage advanced modulation technology, IP delivery as the transport mechanism and HEVC compression to provide the most robust television service possible. Using the next-generation television system, broadcasters will be able to deliver a range of offerings including interactive services and enhanced video and audio capabilities to increase viewer satisfaction and quickly monetize content.

“As TV display size and fidelity increase, the video complexity increases. In the ATSC 3.0 environment, the use of advanced compression techniques will be critical for stations to continue delivering quality products while maximising bandwidth efficiency and ensuring a superior television viewing experience,” said Doug Triblehorn, regional VP/North American Broadcast at Harmonic. “Our broadcast encoders make picture quality a priority objective, delivering pristine UHD for a more immersive experience with higher resolution and HDR processing for better contrast. We’re proud to partner with WRAL on this trial, which will set the benchmark for ATSC 3.0 deployments in the North American broadcast market.”

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