NAB 2016: Sinclair, LG Test ATSC 3.0 AWARN

LAS VEGAS—LG Electronics and Sinclair Broadcast Group conducted their first over-the-air broadcast of advanced emergency alerting using the emerging ATSC 3.0 standard.

Sinclair and LG are demonstrating how “AWARN” technology would enhance communications with the public and first-responders during emergencies. AWARN—the Advanced Warning and Response Network—is the first implementation of advanced emergency alerting for ATSC 3.0.

Developed by various Advanced Television Systems Committee members in parallel with the ATSC standardization process, AWARN leverages ATSC 3.0’s higher data throughout, more robust transmission and improved indoor reception. Using a standard alerting protocol, AWARN alerting can wake-up a device and includes rich-media features such as video, evacuation routes and HTML pages.

In this week’s AWARN broadcast (a “first,” according to Sinclair and LG) rich-media emergency alerts, including video and public safety information related to a severe weather emergency, are being transmitted by Sinclair from Las Vegas’ Black Mountain on Channel 45, under an experimental FCC license obtained by ONE Media, Sinclair’s joint venture. ATSC 3.0 broadcast equipment was provided by GatesAir and Triveni Digital.

The ATSC 3.0 signal carrying AWARN data is being received with a simple antenna at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the new ATSC 3.0 chip tuner/demodulator from LG Electronics. In addition to embedded ATSC 3.0 upper-layer ROUTE and DASH firmware, the LG Ultra HD TV features an intuitive user interface that enables simple navigation between rich-media elements. Simulated emergency program information is provided by Capitol Broadcasting’s WRAL-TV.

LG and Sinclair, along with ONE Media and LG’s U.S. R&D subsidiary Zenith Electronics, are key contributors, both to the ATSC 3.0 standard and to AWARN. ONE Media technology is in the newly standardized bootstrap signaling system, while LG/Zenith technology is included the ATSC 3.0 physical layer transmission system Candidate Standard, which is moving toward final standard status in the coming weeks.

These companies, together with Pearl TV and Pilot (formerly NAB Labs), are joining other broadcasters and technology companies in the AWARN Alliance, a new technology and public policy group, whose primary mission is to accelerate deployment of ATSC 3.0 emergency alerting.

“Combining robust transmission, single-frequency networks and rich media alerts will mean reaching millions of Americans simultaneously during emergencies, regardless of device,” said Mark Aitken, Sinclair’s vice president for Advanced Technology.

Dr. Jong Kim, LG senior vice president president of LG’s Zenith R&D Lab said, “After years of development, ATSC 3.0 and AWARN are ready for prime time, as demonstrated by the successful test ATSC 3.0 broadcast in Las Vegas. Advanced emergency alerting represents a core benefit of Next Generation TV for broadcasters and viewers alike.”

The AWARN broadcast demonstration can be seen at the NAB Show in “ATSC Consumer Experience” exhibit, LVCC South Hall, upper level.