Pearl TV, Sony develop first ATSC 3.0 EPG

Pearl TV, a grouping of US broadcast companies with a shared interest in exploring forward-looking broadcasting opportunities, is collaborating with Sony Electronics to develop an essential viewer navigation ingredient for next-generation television – a new type of on-screen television programme guide that will be responsive to consumer commands. The new channel navigation tool, part of the larger interactive content environment for next-generation ATSC 3.0, is being developed for the Phoenix Model Market project that is supported by 10 Phoenix market TV stations.

“Our finished product for the Phoenix Model Market will be the first Electronic Service Guide with programme information from both broadcasters and multichannel providers built with ATSC 3.0 technology. This innovative platform will bring a state-of-the-art experience to the viewer with interactivity, personalisation and voice command support, both directly to the TV and indirectly through companion devices, such as tablets and mobile phones,” said Anne Schelle, Managing Director of Pearl TV. Pearl is a business organisation of US broadcast companies with a shared interest in exploring forward-looking broadcasting opportunities, including innovative ways of promoting local broadcast TV content and developing digital media and wireless platforms for the broadcast industry.

Phoenix will serve as the first ‘model market’ for deployment of next-generation TV, a sweeping improvement designed to greatly enhance over-the-air services for viewers and provide new options through smart TVs and other Internet-connected devices.

“Sony appreciates the vision and leadership that Pearl and the Model Market participants have demonstrated in establishing the Phoenix open test bed. As a result, next-generation TV will greatly expand consumer choices as ATSC 3.0 can be used to deliver pristine Ultra HDTV with expansive audio and also bring together broadcast and broadband sources,” suggested Mike Fasulo, President and COO of Sony Electronics Inc. “We believe this work will lead to better viewer experiences for consumers as well as provide a great resource for the industry at large.”

“This will be the first fully-compliant implementation of an ATSC 3.0 interactive environment. New applications developed for the ATSC 3.0 platform will control interactive advertising and offer consumers new capabilities, such as accessing digital coupons,” advised Schelle. “The system will bring together broadcast over-the-air signals, cable and satellite retransmission, and streaming over-the-top channels for viewers of next-gen TV. Recognizing that broadcasting needed to evolve, Sony has played an integral role in the development of ATSC 3.0 since the beginning of its development more than seven years ago as a key contributor of technology and industry leadership.”

“ATSC 3.0 is essential to the future of the terrestrial broadcast industry. Sony believes strongly in the convergence of broadcast, broadband, and mobile viewing made possible by ATSC 3.0,” said Paul Hearty, Vice President of Technical Standards at Sony Electronics Inc.

As part of this partnership, Sony will be involved in Pearl’s Phoenix Model Market later in 2018. As a preview of that collaboration, Pearl will be demonstrating Sony’s prototype implementation of the full, ATSC 3.0-compliant protocol stack to interested broadcasters at the CES show in Las Vegas.

Separately, Sony Semiconductor Solutions is in the advanced stages of development of a demodulator chip for ATSC 3.0 receivers. Sony already has carried out field testing in North Carolina and Maryland. The company also is planning additional field tests at WJW, the experimental station in Ohio.

“ATSC 3.0 can operate in many transmission modes, ranging from high-capacity modes optimised for fixed reception to high-robustness modes optimised for mobile or deep-building reception,” added Hearty of Sony Electronics Inc. “ATSC 3.0 also shares many elements of its technology stack with what is used in telco/mobile services, which promotes content and service interoperability.”

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