Technicolor has successfully trialled over-the-air 4K Ultra-HDTV transmissions using the USA’s proposed ATSC 3.0 specification. Technicolor used antenna towers owned by Sinclair Broadcast to carry out the tests.
Technically the trial was the first-ever in the world to incorporate Scalable HEVC (SHVC) video coding, MPEG-H, audio and MPEG’s MMT A/V transport standard. The test was carried out over Sinclair’s Baltimore-based experimental facility. Moreover, the technology allows reception over ‘ordinary’ aerials, as well as by mobile and table-users on-the-move.
“Technicolor has created an integrated platform, not just a single component such as audio or video, which enables us to do real-world deployments and testing of this exciting next generation ATSC 3.0 technology,” said Vince Pizzica, SEVP/Corporate Development and Technology for Technicolor. “Our test-bed has been designed around open standards, with robustness in mind to ensure delivery of high quality programming to all devices. Transmitting over-the-air for a speed of 70mph in a real-world scenario demonstrates our ‘systems approach’ to solving market and customer issues.”
The technology is potentially a major step forward for digital broadcasters. Currently, digital broadcasts are of the ‘all or nothing’ basis, and where there’s a challenging transmission or reception, and the signal fails then the screen does dark. The ATSC 3.0 specification calls for “gradual degradation” where – it is claimed – a higher video quality can be expected, although not at 4K, and in most cases audio can be maintained even though the video signal is challenged.