Interest runs high in future television broadcast system

Ten initial proposals from 19 organizations for the physical layer of the new ATSC 3.0 standard have been submitted to the Advanced Television Systems Committee, ATSC announced last week.

The number of proposals indicates that enthusiasm is high in the television industry for defining new modulation and error coding technologies to carry television broadcasting into the future, said ATSC president Mark Richer.

Components of the ATSC 3.0 physical layer, such as modulation and FEC, will be chosen based upon those that optimize the performance of the broadcast system for fixed and mobile services operating in a variety of modes, according to the ATSC call for proposals for the ATSC 3.0 physical layer released in March.

Specifically, key considerations include efficiency and robust service, increased data rates to support Ultra HD and other new services, and enabling a smooth transition from existing systems for both broadcasters and consumers.

Initial proposals for the physical layer have been submitted by: Coherent Logix and Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG); Communications Research Centre (CRC) and Electronics & Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI); Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB); LG Electronics, Zenith and Harris Broadcast; Allen Limberg; National Engineering Research Center of Digital Television (NERC), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU), Shanghai Advance Research Institute, (SARI) and Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent; Power Broadcasting; Qualcomm and Ericsson; Samsung and Sony; and Technicolor. Detailed proposals are due Sept. 27.

A high hurdle for any next-generation television broadcast system that must be surmounted is delivering such superior performance in the form, quality and new services. Also, the challenge lies in attaining a quality that will convince lawmakers and regulators to authorize and implement in a nationwide changeover to the new system, one that most likely will disrupt the ability of consumers to receive OTA television. From its initial announcement of its effort to develop ATSC 3.0, ATSC has said that the new system probably won’t be backwards-compatible with today’s digital broadcasting standard.

“With the next generation of television standards, we want to take advantage of advances in compression, transmission and other technologies that will keep millions of people informed and entertained through broadcasting’s inherently efficient one-to-many architecture," said Richer.