Capitol Broadcasting’s WRAL in Raleigh, N.C., Digital Alert Systems, Triveni Digital and Verance has announced the successful completion of an end-to-end broadcaster to receiver test using ATSC 3.0 Advanced Emergency Information (AEA), a new technology enhancing broadcasters’ emergency communications and operational capabilities.
Compared to today’s system, AEA allows programmers to deliver far more sophisticated emergency information via the next generation of televisions debuting in 2020. These rich media capabilities include video, images, maps, and real-time updates, as well as the ability to wake up sleeping televisions and target messages directly to impacted households.
The test, which took place earlier this month, proved that robust AEA emergency information could successfully pass through existing ATSC 1.0 over-the-air, cable and satellite paths, as well as OTT platforms and ATSC 3.0 transmissions from a single insertion point. In doing so, the AEA survived multiple conversions and platform-specific technologies up to and including ATSC 3.0. As a result, every member of the general public with a Next Gen TV or ATSC 3.0 media adapter will be able to receive AEA information.
By delivering AEA over cable, satellite and OTT paths, which are used to receive television service in over 80% of U.S. households, the reach of these life-saving messages will be boosted 500% and more lives will be saved. For example, if a region was in danger of flooding, every connected TV household in the vicinity would be capable of receiving in-depth, rich media content, versus approximately 20% with just over-the-air transmissions.
The success of the AEA test was dependent on the integration of the DASDEC-II emergency messaging platform from Digital Alert Systems, Triveni Digital’s GuideBuilder XM and StreamScope XM MT, and the Verance Aspect Embedder and Receiver Toolkit, which implemented the Aspect watermark.
Within the broadcast chain, the DASDEC-II is used by programmers to generate the emergency information message broadcast to viewers. Triveni Digital’s GuideBuilder XM works as an ATSC 3.0 signaling generator and Next Gen Transport Encoder that puts the AEA signal into the broadcast, announcing to the TV that information is available for retrieval. The StreamScope XM MT was used to analyze the AEA protocol accuracy at every demarcation point in the broadcast chain.
The Aspect watermark ensures the metadata and triggers associated with Next Gen experiences such as AEA reach 100% of smart televisions across all distribution paths, including ATSC 1.0 and 3.0 over-the-air, cable/satellite, and over-the-top services. Without Aspect, MVPD households will be unable to receive these essential messages.
“We are dedicated to providing our viewers with the most innovative programming and capabilities available,” said Pete Sockett, Director of Engineering & Operations at WRAL. “With our successful completion of this test, we are one step closer to providing a critical service to our viewers with life-saving potential.”
Based on the success of this test, Capitol Broadcasting, Digital Alert Systems, Triveni Digital and Verance are planning to initiate a second phase of testing which may include teaming with a television manufacturer to showcase these enhanced AEA capabilities.
Mark Corl, Senior Vice President of Emergent Technology Development at Triveni Digital, said, “Utilizing GuideBuilder XM and our new AEA Manager, broadcasters are able to build emergency information screens for AEA delivery and customize with evacuation routes, videos and images based on a viewer’s location. This ensures viewers receive the most relevant information available during emergency situations.”
“The DASDEC’s AEA module provides expansive content management for emergency information messaging and multimedia, and also manages both EAS and Next Gen AEA messaging for ATSC 3.0 transmission,” explained Edward Czarnecki, Senior Director of Strategy & Government Affairs at Digital Alert Systems. “This collaborative project with WRAL also shows how Next Gen emergency information can even be supported by today’s ATSC 1.0 broadcast technology, via the audio watermark.”
Over the past year, Verance has partnered with Capitol Broadcasting to embed and detect the Aspect watermark.
“The effective deployment of AEA is a natural evolution of our partnership and illustrates the crucial role Aspect plays in supporting Next Gen TV,” said Nil Shah, CEO of Verance. “Working together, we will ensure advanced emergency information reaches the right viewers, with the right messages at the right time.”