Capitol Broadcasting, Vendors Deliver Next-Gen TV Emergency Info to All Platforms

RALEIGH, N.C.—WRAL, the Capitol Broadcasting-owned NBC affiliate in Raleigh, together with several major broadcast vendors have completed a successful end-to-end broadcaster-to-receiver test using ATSC 3.0 Advanced Emergency Alert information to enhance the ability of broadcasters to communicate with the public in the event of an emergency.

“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.”

The test at WRAL was conducted in May. It showed AEA emergency information can be passed successfully through ATSC 1.0 OTA, cable and satellite paths as well as via OTT and ATSC 3.0 transmissions from a sole insertion point, Capitol Broadcasting said.

Several vendors participated in the test, including Digital Alert Systems with its DASDEC-II emergency messaging platform; Triveni Digital, which supplied its GuideBuilder XM and StreamScope XM MT; and Verance with its Aspect watermark embedder and receiver toolkit.

As part of 3.0, Advanced Emergency Alerting can be used to do more than warn of an imminent danger. It can be used to convey rich media, such as video, images, maps and real-time updates, as well as to wake up sleeping TVs to target information to households in the path of danger.

During the test, AEA information remained intact throughout various conversions and across multiple platforms so that households with a Next Gen TV or 3.0 adapter could receive AEA information. Delivering AEA via cable, satellite and OTT means the reach of AEA information is far greater than if it were solely used to enhance over-the-air TV service.

A second phase of the test is in the planning stages and may include working with a TV manufacturer to showcase the enhanced capabilities of AEA, according to the broadcaster.

For the test, the Digital Alert Systems DASCEC-II generated the emergency information messages and Triveni Digital’s GuideBuilder XM served as the 3.0 signaling generator and Next-Gen TV transport encoder, adding the AEA signal to the broadcast to inform the TV that emergency information was available for retrieval. The StreamScope XM MT provided a way to analyze the accuracy of the AEA protocol at every demarcation point in the broadcast chain, it said.

Verance’s Aspect watermark ensures AEA metadata and triggers can reach all smart TVs across all distribution paths, including 1.0 and 3.0 OTA, cable, satellite and OTT. Over the past year, Verance has partnered with Capitol Broadcasting to embed and detect the Aspect watermark.

For a comprehensive source of TV Technology’s ATSC 3.0 coverage, see ourATSC3 silo.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.