ATSC 3.0: The “greatest thing since colour”

Plans in the US for a third-generation broadcasting standard, ATSC 3.0, is not only taking shape but has some broadcasters urging early adoption in order to create an “unprecedented” viewer experience and the “greatest thing since the introduction of colour”.

The comments were made at last week’s NAB-sponsored TV2020 conference in New York, and during ‘The Future of Television’ panel session by Matthew Goldman, SVP/Technology & Compression at Ericsson. Goldman, long an enthusiast for Ultra-HD and greater viewing clarity extolled the benefits of Wider Color Gamut, Higher Frame Rates and 10-bit minimum image sampling. “The combination of all of these together is what gives you that wow factor,” he said.

The conference had already heard that the ATSC 3.0 standard would be in place by the end of this year, and that some nations (such as South Korea) were already committed to adopting ATSC 3.0 next year, and to be in place in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

John Taylor, VP/public affairs, LG Electronics USA, said that ATSC 3.0 chipsets would be available in South Korea within weeks. “Chips and receivers for ATSC 3.0 are coming and they’re coming fast,” Taylor said. “When ATSC Next Gen TV is launched in the United States, consumers will have a wide range of opportunities in consumer electronics to be able to see these signals,” he added.

Demo broadcasts have already taken place. The first live ATSC 3.0 broadcast of a major pro sporting event – Major League Baseball’s 2016 World Series – was a home run in October. Using the newly-standardised A/322 Physical Layer ATSC 3.0 Standard, Channel 31 in Cleveland transmitted simulcast network and local programming from Fox8 as the American League’s Cleveland Indians hosted the National League’s Chicago Cubs.

“ATSC 3.0 standards are nearing completion, and over the coming months in conjunction with partners, we expect to test real-world Next Gen TV applications – like UHD TV, interactive services, targeted advertising, advanced emergency alerting, and more,” said Sam Matheny, NAB/EVP and CTO, who called the Cleveland test station “a platform for demonstrating the Big League capabilities of the ATSC 3.0 suite of standards”.

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