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Sinclair and Coherent Logix Partner to Create Next-Gen Broadcast System

A new company established as a joint investment between Coherent Logix and Sinclair Broadcast Group, ONE Media, LLC, announced last week that it would "create a Next Generation Broadcast Platform (NGBP) to deliver the ultimate user experience of wireless access to premium video content anytime, anywhere without a data cap."

"There has been considerable time and effort spent on defining what the current and future anticipated needs of the industry are, and we are confident that an enabling platform can be built and demonstrated within 12 months," said Tommy Eng, ONE Media, LLC's president. "My unique backgrounds in silicon chip manufacturing, digital signal processing and the wireless carrier industry align with the requirements of the next generation television broadcasting. This opportunity allows us to bring the same Software Defined Radio (SDR) capabilities together and build products that have made other wireless industries a success."

The announcement said that the ONE Media platform, while initially based on the Coherent Logix/Sinclair Broadcast Group ATSC 3.0 proposal, "…will be open to all participants in the ATSC standardization process and will obtain continuous input from leaders in the wireless, broadcast, CE industries, as well as spectrum and content owners, through the establishment of a Global Technical Advisory Committee (GTAC)."

The "ONE" in the company name represents the goal of the company, to create an "Open Network Enabled" broadcast/broadband converged "Media" platform which extends 3GPP LTE standards to accommodate existing high power/tall tower broadcast infrastructure and business models, and eliminate the technical limitations of a conventional mobile TV standard to penetrate mobile devices. The One Media platform is designed to support services ranging from existing standalone traditional broadcasting to "interconnected cooperation" business models among/across multiple broadcasters and eventually cooperation between broadcasters and wireless operators.

(A 2013 NAB presentation by Mark Aitken, Next Generation Broadcast Platform: Business Opportunities Enabled by Better Technology provides an excellent operational overview of the system ONE Media NGBP is proposing.)

There was some concern expressed at last Thursday's annual ATSC television conference that this announcement implied that Sinclair, a major broadcast group, was pulling away from the ATSC 3.0 process. Mark Aitken stated that was not the case and that Sinclair and ONE Media would work with ATSC in developing the NGBP standard.

One of the key technical features of the ONE Media system is the flexibility to evolve through the use of software-defined radio (SDR) technology. Consumer electronics manufacturers have argued that SDR is too expensive to build into consumer devices where margins are slim and every cent counts. Coherent Logix's experience with SDR could help ONE Media refute that argument, at least for higher end devices.

At the Washington, D.C. ATSC conference presenters noted that broadcasters "had to get ATSC 3.0 right." Otherwise, the business of TV broadcasting was unlikely to survive.

However, that won't be easy. Anyone who has examined current communications standards, whether from 3GPP, ATSC or DVB, knows how complex they are. One of the challenges that the ATSC faces is defining a standard that consumer electronics manufacturers and broadcasters will accept that is able to carry the content, multimedia or data, that consumers want.

Engineers attending the Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers Luncheon Meeting on Friday, May 16, should learn more about what ONE Media will be proposing and how it will work in the ATSC standardization process when Mark Aitken presents Open Network Enabled (ONE) Media to the group. I hope that the AFCCE group will make the presentation available to non-AFCCE members and those unable to attend in person.

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.