Mexico adopts ATSC standard, ATSC adopts E-VSB standard

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) announced that the government of Mexico formally adopted the ATSC DTV standard for digital terrestrial broadcasting in Mexico on July 2. Leonardo Ramos, Televisa's director of High Technology Projects said, "With several experimental ATSC DTV stations successfully on the air in Mexico, we are pleased with the official announcement that allows us to move forward with our fellow broadcasters to transition all of North America in the digital age. By Dec. 31, 2006, commercial DTV services will be in Mexico's three largest cities: Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey, as well as in certain cities along the Mexico-US border."

The adoption of the ATSC standard is contained in a detailed policy document for DTV broadcasting issued by Mexico's Secretary of Communications and Transportation that was based on recommendations developed by a government and industry consultative committee allowing an October, 2003 directive from President Vicente Fox.

Mark Richer, ATSC president, was pleased with the announcement.

"Mexican broadcasters have been involved in our standards development process for 15 years," he said. "Mexico, together with Canada, participated in the decade-long U.S. DTV standards development process that selected the ATSC DTV Standard. We are extremely pleased with this announcement and look forward to their ongoing participation in ATSC standards work."

North America Broadcasters Association (NAMBA) Secretary General Michael McEwen explained the benefits of Mexico's decision to adopt the ATSC standard.

"We are set for an historic leap in North America, with a market of well over 400 million consumers," McEwen said. "Consumer DTV equipment will have the advantage of the economies of scale of a huge mass market. Likewise, broadcasters and manufacturers will benefit from similar economies. And most of all, viewers throughout North America will benefit by having great pictures, superb sound and the future of interactive TV."

The ATSC news release noted that the ATSC standard used in the United States has been adopted by Canada (1997), South Korea (1997, recently reconfirmed as noted in last week's RF Report), and Argentina (1998).

In other ATSC news, the Sunday issue of NAB's "TV TechCheck" (subscription required), reported ATSC has approved a revision to theATSC standard A/53 to include "enhanced VSB" or "E-VSB."

The optional use of E-VSB transmission will allow a more robust, lower bit-rate data stream that will work with reduced carrier to noise ratios. This will make it easier to obtain reliable reception on small portable DTVs and mobile devices. While the details have not been posted on the ATSC Candidate Standards page. I'll have more information on the revised standard after it is released in my "RF Technology" column in TV Technology.