ATSC Holds Annual Membership Meeting
3.0 standard dominates proceedings
May 9, 2014
“Today, Tomorrow & Beyond” may have been the stated theme of the 2014
ATSC annual meeting; however, the overwhelming focus was on one item in
particular—ATSC 3.0, the next U.S. television broadcast standard
that’s being developed by that group. It permeated virtually every
presentation and panel discussion during the day-long May 8 event held at the
Ronald Regan Building in downtown Washington.
Proceedings actually began a day earlier with a special ATSC 3.0 “Boot
Camp” program that explained some of the inner workings of
television’s next step forward, and provided status reports for
various ATSC 3.0 working groups that are defining the technology and feature
set going into planned standard.
Interest in ATSC 3.0 was evidenced from attendance figures for the Wednesday “Boot
Camp.” According to event coordinators, approximately 50 persons had been
expected to attend, but the actual attendance rose to more than twice that
Most of those attending the “Boot Camp” remained for the Thursday main event,
with former U.S. Senator and now president and CEO of the National Association
of Broadcasters, Gordon Smith, on hand to open the proceedings with an
address—”America’s Broadcasters: Reaching Millions at Once”—in
which he stressed the importance of broadcasting in today’s society
as well as pushing for unity in developing what is intended to be the next U.S.
TV broadcast standard—and what some hope will become a global
standard for television.
“As efforts are underway to develop ATSC 3.0, we encourage the adoption of
standards that would benefit all television broadcasters, supporting and
strengthening their ability to provide the services that viewers rely on each
day; to innovate to better serve their communities; and to compete in a mobile
world,” said Smith, likely referring to an announcement by the Sinclair
Broadcast Group’s announcement two days earlier that Sinclair, in
concert with Coherent Logix, was developing a next-generation broadcast
standard of its own.
Following Smith’s remarks, panel discussions were the
order of the day, with topics centering on the changing face of television and
the way that new and emerging technologies may shape the work of groups
involved in forging ATSC 3.0.
One of these (“Ultra HD-Just Another Pretty Face?”) focused the
move by industry to 4K and even 8K video resolutions and was chaired by the
CEA’s Jeff Joseph, with panelists including LGE’s John
Taylor and USA Today’s Mike Snider. In speaking of the importance and
implications of UHD, Taylor commented: “This is only the beginning. Native 4K
content is the Holy Grail…it’s coming first over-the-top
and this is a tremendous opportunity for broadcasters through ATSC 3.0 to
Other panel groups dealt with business opportunities and challenges facing
broadcasters and also with the technical roll-out of a new television standard
and its place in a changing landscape of how consumers get and view their
A special moment at this year’s ATSC meeting reserved for
a tribute to television pioneer Bernard Lechner who died on April 11. His
passing was marked with a video tribute that commemorated his life and his work
in advanced television.
Following the tribute to Lechner, the ATSC’s highest
honor—the Bernard J. Lechner Outstanding Contributor
Award—was presented to James A. Kutzner for his leadership and
numerous technical contributions to ATSC.