ATSC sets its focus on future of digital terrestrial television with new technology group

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) said Sept. 6 it was turning its attention to the future of digital terrestrial television with formation of a new technology group to develop ATSC 3.0.

ATSC 3.0 will be a series of voluntary technical standards and recommended practices for the next-generation digital broadcast system serving both viewers and TV stations, the ATSC said in a press announcement. ATSC envisions the new system lasting decades.

"As we look to the horizon, the ATSC will be exploring technologies that perhaps haven't even been invented yet," said ATSC president Mark Richer.

Because ATSC 3.0 is likely to be incompatible with current broadcast systems, it must provide improvements in performance, functionality and efficiency significant enough to warrant implementation of a nonbackwards-compatible system, he said, adding that interoperability with production systems and non-broadcast distribution systems should be considered.

ATSC 2.0, which includes Internet-enhanced broadcasting and non-real-time (NRT) and 3-D broadcast standards, as well as ongoing support for the ATSC Mobile DTV standard, provides for the near-term future.

Formation of the new ATSC 3.0 Technology Group, called "TG3," will allow the ATSC Technology & Standards Group (now called "TG1"), chaired by Richard Chernock, CTO of Triveni Digital, to accelerate its current activities, including development of ATSC 2.0, NRT, 3-D and Mobile DTV. TG3 was recommended by the ATSC board of directors in July and adopted by the membership Sept. 2, 2011.

ATSC board chairman, Samsung VP John Godfrey, has appointed James Kutzner as the chairman of TG3. Kutzner, senior director of advanced technology for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), chaired the ATSC 3.0 Planning Team for the past year.