8K Association: “ATSC 3.0 can handle 8K video”

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Chris Chinnock, Executive director of the 8K Association, reporting on a presentation by Sung-Ik Park at the recent Electronics & Telecommunications Research Inst. (ETRI) workshop in South Korea, says that even though ATSC 3.0 was not developed to handle 8K video transmissions, in reality the technology can handle 8K via three different solutions.

Chinnock says that the ATSC 3.0 suite of standards encompasses IP-based video with HEVC or SHVC coding and includes support for PQ and HLG/HDR elements. Chinnock reports that Park focused the first part of his presentation on what he described as Channel Bonding and which could provide up to 110 Mb/s capacity. This methodology was demonstrated at NAB 2019.

“The second method uses the Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output (MIMO) capability of the ATSC 3.0 standard. Here, the idea is to use a single RF channel but increase the bandwidth to ~110 Mbps by using a two-antenna solution. Park noted that the ATSC 3.0 standard supports the use of a 2×2 MIMIO option that allows a signal to be transmitted in both a horizontal and vertical cross-polarized configuration. MIMO precoding steps map the 8K content to the two antennas,” explained Chinnock.

“Method three” says Chinnock, “Highlights the OTA/OTT option enabled by the common IP transport. Here, the idea is to use a base layer and enhancement layer as outlined in the Scalable HEVC (SHVC) standard. The base layer contains the 4K signal and this is transmitted over the air as a standard ATSC 3.0 signal. The enhancement layer, which contains the information to create an 8K image from the 4K base layer, is send over a broadband network to the home where a receiver combines the signals to send to the 8K TV.”

This third method has the advantage of providing conventional 4K OTA content to those with 4K TVs while also enabling 8K TV owners to see native 8K content. The minor downside of this approach is the need for both an antenna and a broadband connection and the potential issues with syncing these two signals, cautioned Chinnock.


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