Digital TV standards body the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) has commemorated the achievement of what it says is a “major milestone” in TV history, with final member votes being tallied for approval of remaining standards that together comprise the ATSC 3.0 suite of next-generation TV standards.
Announced at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, the release of ATSC 3.0 is the culmination of a five-year effort to re-think over-the-air broadcast television service in the Internet age. ATSC 3.0 provides broadcasters with remarkable flexibility and new market opportunities through enhanced transmission and reception functionality and delivery of 4K Ultra HDTV, immersive audio, and interactive services using a mix of Internet and broadcast connections.
Marking the milestone at CES, ATSC President Mark Richer was joined onstage by Consumer Technology Association President and CEO Gary Shapiro, National Association of Broadcasters President and CEO Gordon Smith.
“Our suite of ATSC 3.0 standards paves the way for a new kind of television service, one that is far more flexible and adaptable than previous standards. ATSC 3.0 will bring historic innovations to broadcasters and to viewers, from robust transmission to immersive audio, and from 4K Ultra-HDTV to interactive services and more. The 20 individual standards that comprise the release of ATSC 3.0 will give broadcasters the ability to utilise new transmission methods and finally bring together innovations in both over-the-air and broadband services,” said Richer.
“ATSC looks forward to continuing work on the standard, including its deployment in initial markets and future enhancements. We remain uniquely positioned to support the first trial launches of ATSC 3.0 services and products beginning this year. In addition to our ongoing standards work, the ATSC has a very important role in educating stakeholders about how the technology works and assisting in implementation planning in the U.S. and other parts of the world,” he added.
South Korean broadcasters initiated ATSC 3.0 broadcast service focused on Ultra HDTV last year and plan to transmit February’s XXIII Winter Olympics in PyeongChang using the new standard. American broadcasters hail the new standard and its Internet Protocol backbone, which opens the doors for new opportunities.
Marriage of Broadcast and Broadband
“Broadcasters stand ready to take full advantage of the capabilities of the new voluntary standard, which can seamlessly mix both broadcast and broadband content to deliver enhanced information and entertainment for our viewers. One of the most compelling new features of ATSC 3.0 will be the rich media emergency alerting capabilities, allowing local broadcasters to target viewers in specific areas in their markets when disaster looms. Our viewers depend on their local stations for breaking news and information, and ATSC 3.0 gives local stations the ability to merge resources and information like never before,” said Smith.
With the release of ATSC 3.0 on the opening day of CES 2018 in Las Vegas, the technology industry looks ahead to the new year. ATSC 3.0 is expected to be demonstrated in private suites and in various behind-the-scenes demonstrations at the annual CES, with consumer products more likely to be introduced in 2019 or 2020.
“Coupled with the latest innovations in display and audio technology, Next Gen TV, powered by ATSC 3.0, will offer a breathtakingly immersive viewing experience with access to an array of innovative and interactive information services,” said Shapiro. “While we forecast sales of digital displays to increase in 2018, we anticipate future growth will be driven in part by this exciting new technology and the amazing features it brings.”
US Deployment Begins Soon
“Going forward, I see the ATSC as an important information centre for broadcasters and manufacturers preparing to launch services and products,” said ATSC Board Chairman Richard Friedel, Executive Vice President and General Manager for FOX Networks Engineering & Operations. “That means exciting opportunities for our members to get engaged in field testing, broadcast trials and plug-fests this year. There will also be opportunities to contribute to important new work on conformance and compliance, privacy and security, and more.”