ITU wins praise for ATSC 3.0

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Just in time for next week’s CES show where every major TV manufacturer will be showcasing their very latest models, including 8K displays, the ITU has approved the use of the world’s first IP-based digital broadcasting standard, dubbed ATSC 3.0.

January 2nd saw Sinclair Broadcast Group, a major US station grouping “applaud” the ITU’s decision.

ATSC 3.0 dramatically improves on other world digital standards and, importantly, paves the way for both enhanced traditional television and new data services to be provided in concert with 5G telecommunications delivery systems.

Developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee, the ATSC 3.0 standard has been adopted in both the US and the Republic of Korea. The suite of voluntary technical standards and recommended practices represents significant enhancements from the original ATSC 1.0 standard first adopted in 1996. It will provide an alternative to other digital terrestrial television standards including the European DVB-T, Japanese/Brazilian ISDB-T, and Chinese DTMB platforms.

“We’re delighted that the nations of the world have approved use of this extraordinary new standard,” said Christopher Ripley, Sinclair’s President and CEO. “The Next Gen transmission standard will provide consumers with a host of new services and expand opportunities for broadcasters and service providers around the world. By integrating broadcast and broadband services, ATSC 3.0 also can be part of the 5G transmission ecosystem for non-television data transmission services,” he added.

The IP-based standard, incorporates remarkable new capabilities to:
Enhance quality for audio and video services;
– Provide robust mobile reception on a wide range of devices;
– Improve spectrum efficiency;
– Provide resilient advanced emergency information;
– Personalise features and services; and,
– Furnish interactive services.

Ripley added: “We congratulate both the US Delegation led by the FCC and the ITU’s Working Parties and Study Group for their foresight and keen acknowledgement of the need for broadcast innovation.  The ITU Staff and contributing administrations have done an excellent and thorough analysis, and we appreciate their great efforts to think through ramifications and permit the market to flourish with minimal constraints.” 

Next steps toward implementing the new standard involve updating the ITU-sanctioned Digital Handbook.  This detailed set of implementation steps will enable countries worldwide to understand how ATSC 3.0 could enhance a move from analogue to digital capabilities or upgrade existing digital services.  Louis Libin, Sinclair’s VP/Spectrum Engineering & Policy, chairs the ITU Rapporteur Group assigned to modify the Digital Handbook.  Libin noted, “Adoption of the ATSC 3.0 standard as an international sanctioned offering will provide extraordinary options to many countries and adds impetus to complete our work on providing those guidelines quickly.”


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