It was clear transmitter manufacturers wanted to be considered part of the ATSC Mobile DTV roll-out. Even manufacturers that didn't have a working Mobile DTV transmitter or exciter were promising one soon. Broadcasters will have many choices when it comes to ATSC Mobile DTV products. While Harris and Rohde and Schwarz were the only ones with their exciters used in over-the-air demonstrations at the NAB show, expect to see products from other manufacturers before the big Mobile DTV roll out late this year. This wide support from multiple vendors is one reason ATSC Mobile DTV is not the video version of AM stereo. There is one format and manufacturers are rallying around it.
In addition to a choice of manufacturers, stations will also have a choice in the way they get the signal to the exciters and distributed transmission system (DTS) transmitters. Harris and Axcera use the ATSC A/110 protocol for DTS. Rohde and Schwarz uses its system which takes advantage of the A/153 candidate standard to synchronize transmitters. Grass Valley (formerly Thomson, Thales, etc.) combines the conventional ATSC signal with a separate ATSC Mobile DTV signal delivered over an IP connection at the transmitter site. They have not selected a method for implementing DTS.
The availability of exciters from many manufacturers with a wide range of features bodes well for the future of Mobile DTV.
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Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.