WRAL Drives EAS Forward With DASDEC

Station uses Digital Alert Systems' encoder for Advanced Emergency Alerting
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

RALEIGH, N.C.—WRAL-TV is the Raleigh-Durham, N.C. NBC affiliate owned and operated by Capitol Broadcasting. Our station is known for having achieved a number of technological firsts over the years, including our 2016 launch of an ATSC 3.0 TV station with the first live simulcast of a commercially licensed TV station.

Pete Sockett

Pete Sockett

Capitol Broadcasting is a member of ATSC, and we play an active role in the ATSC Technology Group 3 (TG3) responsible for developing the ATSC 3.0 broadcast TV standard.

We’re also part of the Advanced Emergency Alerting (AEA) Implementation Team focused on supporting integration of rich-media alerting into ATSC 3.0. One of our many valuable partners is this work has been Digital Alert Systems (DAS).

MORE THAN JUST AN EAS ENCODER

Digital Alert Systems’ DASDEC Emergency Alert System platform has been the mainstay of our EAS presence for more than a decade, and today it supports all of our call letter stations (WRAL, WRAZ, and WILM) by processing EAS/CAP messages for a total of nine streams leaving our building. Through continual upgrades, our DASDEC platform has evolved into more than just an EAS encoder-decoder; today it also serves as a content management server and middleware for AEA applications.

Enabled by ATSC 3.0, AEA capabilities on the DASDEC platform support delivery of rich media such as live video updates, video clips, escape route maps, images or diagrams, and location-based information. (ATSC 3.0 also enables geo-targeted public alerts and messages to first responders.) Though our EAS capabilities have grown far more robust, none of the existing EAS messaging will go away. We’ll still put banners on screen and play those familiar attention tones, but we have many more options in providing emergency information.

In fact, we’re also working with DAS and other partners within the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN) Alliance to optimize—in a more social sense—the touch, look, and feel of rich media alerts to smartphones, tablets, and fixed television receivers. AWARN members are focusing on the advantages of ATSC 3.0’s higher data throughput, more robust transmission, and improved indoor reception not only to deliver rich media, but also to wake up devices and to deliver alerts even when the cellular network is jammed or the power grid is down.

The broadcast television infrastructure in the U.S. is very robust. We’re prepared to stay on air through natural disasters. We’re not reliant on the internet, but we can leverage connectivity as available to offer the public another level of support, be it additional information or a link by which people can report power outages and so forth. ATSC 3.0 opens the door to a lot of exciting new possibilities, and our DASDEC system gives us the tools we need to realize the next-gen standard’s potential with respect to EAS.

The industry intelligence of the DAS team is evident not only in their contributions to TG3, the AEA Implementation Team, and the AWARN Alliance, but also in the valuable capabilities added to the DASDEC platform over time. Our EAS system has grown increasingly sophisticated through regular software updates—our DASDEC box just keeps on running smoothly through every update.

EAS is near and dear to our hearts at Capitol Broadcasting, and we’re proud to be working with Digital Alert Systems and other industry leaders to bring advanced alerting into the EAS landscape.

Pete Sockett currently serves as Capitol Broadcasting Director of Engineering and Operations at WRALTV in Raleigh-Durham. He can be reached at PSockett@wral.com.

For more information, visit digitalalertsystems.com or call 585-765-1155.

For a comprehensive source of TV Technology’s ATSC 3.0 coverage, see our ATSC3 silo.