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Sinclair-Samsung Team Provides Off-Air UHDTV Demo in Las Vegas

Samsung featured a display at this year’s CES with a poster proclaiming: “World's First UHD Broadcasting via Terrestrial Network Directly to TV with Integrated Tuner.”

The Samsung demo was performed in cooperation with Sinclair Broadcast Group, which transmitted the UHD video from atop Black Mountain, which is south of Las Vegas, to a rooftop antenna at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The UHD video was encoded using HEVC and transmitted at approximately 26 Mbps.

Sinclair did not use one of its Las Vegas full-power stations for the broadcast, as these were carrying ATSC-MH programs in addition to their normal ATSC programming.

I used my RF tool kit (more about which in my TV Technology February RF Technology column) to determine that the COFDM signal was being transmitted on KLSV-LD's Channel 50.

Mark Aitken and Bill Soreth from Sinclair provided more information about the signal, revealing that the transmitter was operating at 5 kW—23 dB less than the 1,000 kW full power ATSC stations on Black Mountain.

I didn't see any picture artifacts on the receiver in the Samsung booth. The transmission used 256-QAM with a code rate of 2/3, a guard interval of 1/32 and Pilot Pattern 4. The FFT size was 32K extended. With this configuration, the total available raw bit rate is around 28.5 Mbps with a calculated AWGN threshold of 17.8 dB.

Both Samsung and Sinclair are participants in the Advanced Television Systems Committee work towards the next U.S. terrestrial DTV standard, ATSC 3.0.

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.