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ATSC 3.0 proposals reflect thinking of ‘best minds’ in broadcasting, Richer says

Ultra HD delivery, robust mobile TV reception and improved spectrum efficiency are among the goals laid out for ATSC 3.0, the next-generation standard for delivery of digital terrestrial television.

Not some far-off, future standard, ATSC 3.0 may surprise many in the television industry at the rapidity with which it becomes a standard. According to the Advanced Television Systems Committee, ATSC 3.0 is expected to become “candidate standard status” within the next couple of years.

An important step in the process is seeking proposals for the physical layer of ATSC 3.0. On Oct. 2, ATSC released summaries of proposals it has received for the physical layer. From the beginning, ATSC has said that maintaining backwards compatibility with today’s DTV standard is not a requirement. However, ATSC says it is looking for a solution that ensures a smooth transition from today’s DTV standards to a future system.

On one end of the range of proposals is an ATSC 3.0 physical layer offering from Guarneri Communications, a fabless semiconductor company, which supports backwards compatibility with ATSC A/53 and A/153. On the other end are proposals that emphasize facilitating a smooth transition.

The proposals “reflect the thinking of the best minds in the broadcast industry,” according to ATSC president Mark Richer.

The summaries of proposals for the ATSC 3.0 physical layer include:

Coherent Logix and Sinclair Broadcasting Group:

  • Next Generation Broadcast Platform (NGBP), an evolvable solution that allows broadcasters to leverage technology from various other platforms, including the Internet and wireless carriers.
  • An all-IP network topology with key elements that include Broadcast Market Exchange, parameterized waveforms, carrier aggregation, Evolved Packet Core management, LTE and Advanced LTE.

Communications Research Centre (CRC) and Electronics & Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI):

  • A system called Cloud Transmission, a layered transmission system using overlay technologies to transmit multiple streams at the same time, each with a different robustness for different services, including mobile, HDTV and Ultra HD in one RF channel.
  • The top layer is most robust with a negative signal-to-noise ratio system threshold.

Guarneri Communications:

  • An ATSC 3.0 physical layer that relies on SC-FDMA (Single Carrier Frequency-division multiple access) modulation and is backwards-compatible with ATSC A/53 and A/153.

LG Electronics, Zenith and Harris Broadcast:

  • FUTURECAST Universal Terrestrial Broadcasting System that increases data throughput by 30 percent and improves multipath performance compared to today’s DTV system.
  • Key features include state-of-the-art error correction, customized stream compression.

Allen Limberg:

  • A non-rotated 24NQAM constellations with single-time retransmission.

National Engineering Research Center of Digital Television (NERC), Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai Advanced Research Institute and Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent:

  • A high-data rate system with high reception performance in all wireless environments that is capable of UHDTV transmission to fixed and portable terminals, delivery of scalable programming to portable and mobile devices, and support for custom services.
  • Key features include use of large-scale antenna system (LSAS) and intelligent frequency reuse.
  • Technologies used include cloud transmission, MIMO broadcasting and broadcasting return channels.


  • A multi-level OFDM based system and dual-polarized MIMO technology.
  • Flexible setting of bit rate from multiple HDTV to 8K Super Hi-Vision.
  • Hierarchical transmission use of frequency division multiplexing.
  • IP-based interface.

Qualcomm and Ericsson:

  • Use of LTE Broadcast, an all-IP approach for both fixed and mobile applications.
  • Capabilities include dedicated carrier, carrier aggregation and Multimedia Broadcast multicast service Single Frequency Network (MBSFN).

Samsung and Sony:

  • Proposal adopts DVB-T2 with enhancements to address ATSC 3.0 requirements.
  • Supports multiple HD programs per RF channel; increased robustness; and configuration of fixed and mobile service reception on the same RF channel.
  • Easily deployable single-frequency networks and multi-frequency networks.


  • Baseline for physical layer is DVB-T2 with additional elements to fulfill requirements for ATSC.
  • Supports dual-channel operation, addition of MISO operation and geo-location.