Mobile Legacy ATSC Reception Breakthrough Announced

Legend Silicon Corp. announced its new "SuperTV" technology this week, which the company says solves the diversity and mobile reception issues inherent in the legacy ATSC 8-VSB system.

The technology combines signals from multiple antennas to reduce dead spots and changing multipath effects. The technology uses the company's patent-pending maximal-ratio-combining (MRC) diversity technology for single-carrier terrestrial television broadcasts. This was originally intended to provide in-car reception of off-air broadcasts in China using the single-carrier mode of the Chinese DTMB/CTTB standard.

"We believe SuperTV will usher in a new era for OTA TV broadcasting industry in the U.S. where mostly indoor-viewing of legacy ATSC TV will be expanded to car TVs, tablet PCs and other mobile devices," said Raj Karamchedu, Legend Silicon's chief operating officer and vice president of product marketing. "Moreover, expanding TV viewership in this way will have a positive impact on advertising revenue as mobile audiences with personal TV devices will have on-the-go access to the local television signal in full HD."

Karamchedu also forecast the impact of this technology on TV viewing via smartphones.

The new combining approach was explained by Legend Silicon's Dr. Lin Yang, who's the company's co-founder, chief technology officer and inventor of the single-carrier MRC diversity technology.

"Receiver sensitivity is the key problem that we focused on," said Yang. "Sensitivity performance is especially critical for urban vehicular TV reception in single-carrier mode. With our breakthrough SuperTV technology for the first time our customers can enhance picture reception quality by simply adding more antennas. Now, it's just an issue of cost-effective end-system development costs versus picture quality and no longer a technology-enabling issue."

Does it work?

Legend Silicon provided a statement from Thomas Adam, who is head of development of tuner systems at Hirschman Car Communications.

"Legend Silicon Corp.'s SuperTV technology is quite impressive," said Adam. "With single-carrier reception in car TV it is possible to drive more than 160 km/h without any disturbances in the picture. Even under bridges we've experienced single-carrier reception without any disturbances in picture quality."

Legend Silicon Corp. is currently developing a field programmable gate array (FPGA)-based demonstration system for live TV reception of legacy ATSC broadcasts in the United States. It should be ready in the first quarter of next year.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.