Evoca Announces U.S. NextGen TV First
The demo by Evoca and its tech partners could lead to vast spectrum efficiencies in broadcast TV, potentially doubling effective capacity
BOISE, Idaho—Evoca TV has announced a U.S. television industry first that could lead to vast spectrum efficiencies that could dramatically change the number of channels available from over-the-air broadcasters and offer improved bandwidth for Ultra High-Definition 4K options.
In a demo with its tech partners, Evoca has successfully transmitted television content using the cross-polarization functionality of the ATSC 3.0 standard, the first time this has been done in the U.S.
Evoca TV is a Idaho-based television service now offering over-the-air and internet-delivered channels to subscribers in Idaho, Colorado, and Arizona.
“One of the very interesting capabilities of the new ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard is the ability to use both horizontally-polarized and vertically-polarized transmission and reception, a functionality that the industry calls Multiple Input and Multiple Output, or ‘MIMO’ for short,” explained Todd Achilles, CEO of Evoca TV. “This week on Channel 35 in Boise we successfully demonstrated the creation and transmission of a MIMO signal. MIMO has the potential to dramatically increase the available payload for TV broadcasts, possibly even doubling the amount of data that a broadcaster can send to improve choice and robustness. That could mean many more standard and high-definition channels for viewers, the potential of more than one Ultra High-Definition 4K service, or even the possibility of 8K video delivered over-the-air,”
The MIMO cross-polarized TV broadcast, with simultaneous transmission of two discrete streams within one 6MHz channel, is the culmination of many months of work and a collaborative project between Evoca and transmitter manufacturer Rohde & Schwarz, media software firm Enensys Technologies, broadcast array specialist Kathrein Broadcast, signal analysis company Avateq Corporation, and receiving antenna manufacturer Televes.
“While MIMO broadcasts have been demonstrated in other countries, it’s mostly been a proof-of-concept effort,” Achilles continued. “With Evoca, we intend to make full use of the potential for MIMO transmission and reception. It means that the broadcast spectrum we’re using for Evoca services today could become even more valuable, with the ability to send many more channels as well as higher-quality broadcasts to viewers. And since Evoca controls both the transmission and reception of our signals, we can make sure that the consumer experience is exactly what is intended. MIMO could revolutionize what we do, offering even more choices for viewers than are possible with today’s broadcasts.”
Special transmission and reception gear will be required to take full advantage of the new MIMO functionality. Previous demonstrations of ATSC 3.0 MIMO broadcasts have been done in South Korea, the U.K. and in Brazil.
“In addition to more choice for viewers, the Evoca transmissions also signal the potential for using over-the-air TV channels for more than just video and audio data,” Achilles said. “Such datacasting has long been discussed as a potential new business for broadcasters, and the ability to potentially double the size of the broadcast pipe means there is great potential for the future. The opportunities are likely bigger than just the systems used for broadcast television. We specifically are planning consumer reception gear that can receive both ATSC 3.0 and 5G signals, expecting both to be used to reach consumers at home. There is more work to be done before this can become a consumer product, mainly in the development of new receiver hardware that can successfully recombine the separately transmitted horizontal and vertical signals. But since we’re already transmitting TV content and we have control over receivers and antenna products used to receive our signals, we are very encouraged by today’s initial transmissions. We’re proving out one of the key capabilities of the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard,” Achilles said.
In discussing the demo, Manfred Reitmeier, vice president of broadcast and amplifier systems at Rohde & Schwarz explained that “thanks to our flexible software-based exciter platform, Rohde & Schwarz was able to make the ATSC 3.0 MIMO implementation possible. MIMO has shown a significant increase of spectral efficiency, which is vital to thrive for broadcasters in today’s market.”
Richard Lhermitte, CTO of ENENSYS, another tech partner in the demo added that “we are very pleased to see the fruit of our long collaboration with Evoca with this new innovation that will greatly increase the useful bandwidth of an RF channel. Providing the complete software solution for the packaging, signaling and transmission of ATSC 3.0 content, we have worked together to offer MIMO support in our ATSC3.0 Gateway - SmartGate ATSC. We are proud to see the concrete result with Evoca in this live transmission in Boise.”
“Kathrein Broadcast is very excited to have been given the opportunity to work with Evoca on this project,” said Marc Dunham, president of Kathrein Broadcast USA. Kathrein Broadcast is a global leader in Broadcast arrays and has experience delivering 5G Broadcast projects in Europe. “Our challenge was to achieve high levels of isolation between the H-pol and V-pol components. The team worked exceptionally hard to determine how best to achieve the isolation, delivering a design that houses both H-pol and V-pol components in a single panel array.”
"Televes is proud to partner with Evoca TV, by bringing over six decades of broadcast television antenna design and manufacturing experience to the table,” added Javier Ruano, general manager of Televes USA. “We are providing the best possible antenna and preamp solution for this technically advanced and exciting new endeavor. Televes has extensive engineering experience and vertically integrated design and manufacturing facilities in Spain, including the creation of our own MMIC chipsets that power these technological solutions. Televes is in a unique position to provide Evoca with just what they need now and in the future.”
The latest product and technology information
Future US's leading brands bring the most important, up-to-date information right to your inbox
George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.