Is a marriage of DTV and Internet possible?

What if a television could be more like a computer, giving viewers access to the Internet and other advanced features?

That's not a far stretch of the imagination. After all, multiple TV vendors have been selling sets with Internet connectivity for some time, and a range of external systems, including STBs devices like Apple TV and game consoles like Xbox do so, already.

But what if the broadcast side of television was more like the Internet, bringing Internet connectivity, non-real-time services, 3-D TV and other benefits to view? Is it realistic to think there is a role for television broadcasters to play in today's evolving media landscape?

That's precisely what broadcasters and key technology leaders from the vendor community will explore Feb. 14 at the Hollywood Post Alliance technology retreat in Indian Wells, CA, during a four-hour workshop looking at ATSC 2.0.

A backwards-compatible standard, ATSC 2.0 is being developed to introduce several enhanced features, including non-real-time (NRT) transmission, Internet connectivity, 3-D TV broadcasting, and advanced video and audio compression, to OTA television transmission.

"Among other things, ATSC 2.0 contemplates the marriage of broadcasting and the Internet," said ATSC president Mark Richer.

"ATSC 2.0 is intended to address the increasing desire on the part of consumers for 'everything-on-demand,' which has changed customer expectations of media. ATSC 2.0 services will be carried in DTV broadcast channels and their presence will not preclude or interfere with proper operation of current ATSC services in the same RF channel, or have any adverse impact on legacy receiving equipment," he said.

According to Richer, the needs of both viewers and broadcasters are changing as broadband Internet adoption continues to grow and consumers demonstrate a healthy appetite for consuming content on demand.

Enhancements to digital television broadcasting will allow TV stations to tap into this emerging opportunity. The ATSC 2.0 program at HPA will lay out the latest developments.

"The needs of viewers and broadcasters are changing, and we're committed to the evolution of the broadcast digital TV standard to keep pace with consumer demands. These enhancements to digital television broadcasting culminate in an initiative we call ATSC 2.0.