WRAL Lights Up ATSC 3.0 4K Signal

RALEIGH, N.C.— WRAL-TV, Capitol Broadcasting’s NBC affiliate in Raleigh-Durham, said it launched its new ATSC 3.0 TV station with the first live simulcast of a commercially licensed television station.

The official launch began with WRAL News at Noon newscast and a simultaneous second channel broadcasting “Take Me Out to the Bulls’ Game,” a documentary previously shot, edited and post-produced in 4K/UHD HDR. This launch of what is now being referred to regularly as “Next Generation TV” employs ATSC 3.0, the newly developed broadcasting transmission standard from the Advanced Television Systems Committee.

While receivers remain commercially unavailable and the standard itself is not yet complete, WRAL and other broadcasters consider ATSC 3.0 a necessary advancement for over-the-air television. It is designed to deliver 4K Ultra HD resolution, high dynamic range, and wide color gamut, as well as personalized, object audio and advanced emergency warning features.

The Federal Communications Commission agreed in April to put out a petition for authorizing ATSC 3.0 out for comment. The petition, submitted by the National Association of Broadcasters,America’s Public Television Stations, the Consumer Technology Association (formerly the Consumer Electronics Association), and the Advanced Warning and Response Network Alliance, requested a voluntary adoption scheme. In comments from those entities and several broadcast groups, a request was made for the FCC to make a related rulemaking authorizing this voluntary adoption framework by Oct. 1, 2016. (Broadcasters Seek ATSC 3.0 Rulemaking by October 1.”

ATSC 3.0 will become the first over-the-air broadcast system based on internet protocol technology.

WRAL-TV plans to use it to provide a deep offering of on-demand content, access to multiple sources of video to enhance linear viewing, and a number of other 24/7 streams of TV and radio programming, representing the marriage of broadcasting and broadband.

WRAL is transmitting its ATSC 3.0 signal on Channel 39 under an experimental FCC license.

“Capitol Broadcasting believes strongly in the future of over-the-air broadcasting, and that ATSC 3.0 represents the technological breakthrough that will enable local stations to remain the primary source of news, information and entertainment on any device. In fact, Next Generation TV will provide the capacity for an extraordinary range of new interactive tools, and become a major part of the digital future,” said Capitol Broadcasting President and CEO Jim Goodmon.

James F. Goodmon, Jr., vice president and general manager of CBC New Media said, “Embracing new technology is part of who we are, and CBC is launching this new technology to see firsthand how it works and to explore its many applications. We intend to share what we learn with the broadcast industry while utilizing ATSC 3.0’s capabilities to become better providers of news and information for our viewers.”

WRAL-TV has assembled a team of leading technology partners to help design, test, and implement this new standard for TV. According to Capitol Broadcasting Director of Engineering and Operations Peter Sockett, “In order for CBC to take this extraordinary leap into the future, it required a team of forward-thinking companies.”

Key participants in this project:
• Electronics Research Inc. (ERI) – Antenna and Filter assembly
• GatesAir – Transmitter and exciter
• Harmonic – UHD real-time broadcast encoder
• Keepixo – Dash Packager
• LG Electronics – ATSC 3.0 receiving equipment
• Meintel, Sgrignoli & Wallace — Consulting engineers
• Monroe Electronics – Emergency Alert System technology
· Triveni Digital – Signaling, transport generator, ATSC 3.0 analyzer, and system integration support

“We will be broadcasting throughout Raleigh and Durham, N.C. and performing test measurements to learn about the characteristics of this new delivery platform. We will share this information with fellow broadcasters and equipment manufacturers to test their new designs in the real world,” Sockett said.

WRAL noted that only a handful of prototype ATSC 3.0 receivers are now available, including the one used by the station.

In its announcement, WRAL said, “It is hoped that for North Carolina early adopters Next Generation TV will be available as soon as late 2017.”

~ WRAL submitted this as a press release. Deborah McAdams contributed to the story.

For more news and analysis on the standard, check out our ATSC 3.0 silo.