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New proposals on ATSC 3.0 pouring in

After issuing an industry-wide call for proposals on methods for supporting the ATSC 3.0 broadcast system in March of this year, the Advanced Televisions Systems Committee has received 10 proposals from 19 organizations, revealing a real interest in helping to define the modulation and error coding technologies in the transmission system that will serve as the foundation for the ATSC’s proposed next-generation terrestrial broadcast standard.

Besides sharing the vision of a new way to deliver video over the air, these technology companies are looking to get their patented technology included in the final ATSC 3.0 specification and reap the rewards of years of royalties. The new standard, to be completed sometime in 2016, will give broadcasters a platform to implement 4K broadcasts, targeted advertising and more robust mobility.

The ATSC said its forward-looking 3.0 transmission requirements include higher system capacity, robust performance and improved efficiency.

“As technology continues to advance, the ATSC and its members are always looking to the horizon, said ATSC President Mark Richer, explaining the initial work now being done on the proposed ATSC 3.0 television broadcast standard. “Internet technology now permeates the consumer experience, and mobility has become a requirement. With the next generation of television standards, we want to take advantage of advances in compression, transmission and other technologies that will keep millions of people informed and entertained through broadcasting’s inherently efficient one-to-many architecture.”

Proposals came from a range of companies, including: Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB); Sinclair Broadcast Group and Coherent Logix; Samsung and Sony; Canada’s Communications Research Centre and South Korea’s Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute; Qualcomm and Ericsson; LG, Zenith and Harris Broadcast; China’s National Engineering Research Center of Digital Television; Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai Advance Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Bell Labs; and Allen Limberg and Technicolor.

Sinclair Broadcast Group, a major broadcast group that owns about 40 percent of U.S. television stations, joined Coherent Logix, based in Austin, TX, on a proposal. Coherent Logix manufactures C-programmable processors for the embedded systems market and specializes in video and imaging development systems. The technology they proposed is not yet commercially available.

The companies responded to the call for proposals, which were due on Aug. 23. Detailed technical descriptions of proposals are due on Sept. 27.

The overall ATSC 3.0 project, starting with the physical layer proposals, will include an assessment of technical requirements, investigation of possible solutions and development of the middle and upper layers to provide a complete technical standard for broadcast.

The committee said a primary goal of the ATSC 3.0 Physical Layer is to provide TV service to both fixed and mobile devices. Key considerations include efficiency and robust service, increased data rates to support new services such as Ultra High-Definition (4K) services, and enabling a smooth transition from existing systems for both broadcasters and consumers. The overall ATSC 3.0 standard must provide improvements in performance, functionality and efficiency that are significant enough to warrant the challenges of a transition to a new system.