Sinclair Broadcast Group, a long-term fan of and supporter of ‘next generation’ TV transmission, is adopting commercial deployment of ATSC 3.0 for its Las Vegas TV station, and using High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology with help from Technicolor.
HDR bridges the gap between HDR and Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) by applying a single-layer distribution solution that supports compatibility with all non-HDR screens. Technicolor HDR has been developed in partnership with Philips and with research and development support from InterDigital Inc.
“This is the first commercial deployment of ATSC 3.0 — and Technicolor HDR — in North America,” says Thomas Bohan, Technicolor’s HDR Program President. “With the COVID-19 pandemic no one knows when people will be able to return to major public venues. The Sinclair announcement opens the door for broadcasters to deliver enhanced live sports coverage, such as the NTT IndyCar Genesys 300 race to be broadcast on the evening of Saturday, June 6. Viewers at home will be able to more easily follow the action — in and out of shadows — a common situation that has challenged broadcasters in the past.”
Technicolor HDR enables Sinclair-owned stations to deliver a signal that can be rendered as SDR as well as HDR. The bitstream is SDR and contains an extra packet which enables HDR reconstruction. Devices that do not support HDR simply ignore the packet, while devices that support Technicolor HDR read the metadata, decode it, and reconstruct HDR video.
“Sinclair is committed to providing its viewers with the best experience possible. Technicolor HDR allows us to do this cost-effectively by providing for backwards compatibility in non-HDR displays while offering a vibrant viewing experience for consumers who have invested in new HDR technology,” says Mark Aitken, SVP/Advanced Technology with Sinclair Broadcast Group.
The adoption and deployment of ATSC 3.0 allows broadcasters to participate in the burgeoning mobile wireless services market. By combining over-the-air transmission and broadband delivery, the standard allows terrestrial broadcasters to offer hybrid content services across fixed and mobile receivers.
“At Sinclair we have been clear about our intent to make our content available across devices and platforms. We are focused on making sure today’s portable and nomadic devices are supported. All devices that can, should be able to display HDR. This will help to grow the industry,” says Aitken.