Video: ATSC 3.0 Part IV – Advanced Emergency Alerting, AWARN & Interactive Content

In a country where the weather can be life threatenin and where earthquakes and wild fires pose a real threat to life, an Early Alert System (EAS) is very important. This talk looks at the ‘Advanced Emergency Alerting’ system (AEA) that is available in ATSC 3.0 and the coalition behind it. It also talks about some of the interactive features possible.

Richard Chernock is back to dig deeper in to the set of standards which is known as ATSC 3.0. He starts by looking at the broadcaster’s role in being a public information provider both to first responders and to the public at large. ATSC 3.0 was seen as an opportunity to go much further than EAS available in ATSC 1.0. One improvement, as covered previously, allows for very robust transmission methods. AEA also provides rich media, version information and expiry information. Additionally it can be delivered to targeted areas.

The AWARN (Advance Warning and Response Network) is a project to look world-wide at the different EAS activities ongoing in order to bring learning into ATSC and represents both broadcasters and national agencies such as FEMA and homeland security. It provides practical advice on resilience (backup generator provision), how to maximise the verboseness of information, encryption and much more.

Finishing off this short talk, Richard highlights the OTT-style interactive services possible with ATSC 3.0. He shows a quiz format where the graphics are within the control of the broadcaster. Other examples discussed are interactive access to sports replays, purchasing merchandise, the ability to synchronise with a second screen and advert displays.
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Please note this is a 30 minute video but the version on YouTube repeats hence lasting 1.5 hours

Richard Chernock Richard Chernock
Former CSO,
Triveni Digital

Video: Building Television Systems in a Time of Multiple Technology Transitions

Major technology transitions can be hard to keep up with, and when you have a project requiring you decide which one to go with, it can seem unmanageable. This panel put together by SMPTE New York looks gives the view from System Integrators on how to make this work and cover their experience with a wide range of new technologies.

SMPTE ST 2110 is an entire paradigm shift

John Humphrey
John Turner kicked off explaining the reasoning for using SDI over SMPTE ST 2110 in some circumstances. For that project, his client had a fixed space so wouldn’t see the benefits of 2110 in terms of expansion. Their workflow already worked well in SDI and at the time, the costs of 2110 would have been higher. Overall, the project went with SDI, was successful and they are a happy customer. Karl Paulsen agreed that new technology shouldn’t be ‘for the sake of it’ and added that whilst individual products with a new technology may be stable, that’s not certain to be the case when interoperating within a whole system. As such, this puts the implementation time up meaning the incumbent technologies do tend to get chosen when time is at a premium.

Turning to 5G, Karl answered the question “what are the transformational technologies”. For some applications, for instance back of the camera RF in a stadium, 5G is a major leap compared to microwave packs, but early on in a technology’s life, like we are with 5G, it’s a matter of working out where it does and where it doesn’t work well. In time, it will probably adapt to some of those other use cases that it wasn’t suited for initially. John Turner highlighted the elements that ATSC 3.0 transforms in a big way. From an RF perspective, its modulation is much stronger and more flexible, that it’s able to drive new business models.

John Mailhot’s view on transformational challenge is ‘the people’. He puts forward the idea that the technical constraints of router size and max cable length, to name two examples, embedded themselves into the routines, assumptions and architectures that people embody in their work. With SMPTE ST-2110, most of these constraints are removed. This means you are a lot freer to work out the workflows the business wants. The challenge here is to have the imagination and fortitude to forge the right workflow without getting paralysed by choice.

“SMPTE ST 2110 is an entire paradigm shift”, John Humphrey

After responding to the moderator’s question on how much turmoil these transitions are causing, Mark Schubin summarises the situation by saying we need to work out which of the technologies is like a fridge (replacing previous technologies), a microwave (used as well as a conventional oven) and an induction cooker (requires change in cookware, little adoption). John Humphrey adds that ST 2110 is a technology which viewers don’t notice since the visual quality is the same. HDR, is the opposite so they need different approaches.

During the last 45 minutes, the panel took questions from the audience covering how to hire talent, the perspective of younger people on technology, programming specifically made for smartphones, ATSC 3.0 implementation, reliability of home internet, PTP and more.

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Mark Schubin Mark Schubin
Consultant & Explainer
John Humphrey John Humphrey
VP, Business Development,
Hitachi Kokusai Electric America Ltd.
Karl Paulsen Karl Paulsen
John Turner John Turner
Principal Engineer
Turner Engineering Inc.
John Mailhot John Mailhot
Systems Architect for IP Convergence
Imagine Communications

Video: ATSC 3.0 Seminar Part III

ATSC 3.0 is the US-developed set of transmission standards which is fully embracing IP technology both over the air and for internet-delivered content. This talk follows on from the previous two talks which looked at the physical and transmission layers. Here we’re seeing how IP throughout has benefits in terms of broadening choice and seamlessly moving from on-demand to live channels.

Richard Chernock is back as our Explainer in Chief for this session. He starts by explaining the driver for the all-IP adoption which focusses on the internet being the source of much media and data. The traditional ATSC 1.0 MPEG Transport Stream island worked well for digital broadcasting but has proven tricky to integrate, though not without some success if you consider HbbTV. Realistically, though, ATSC see that as a stepping stone to the inevitable use of IP everywhere and if we look at DVB-I from DVB Project, we see that the other side of the Atlantic also sees the advantages.

But seamlessly mixing together a broadcaster’s on-demand services with their linear channels is only benefit. Richard highlights multilingual markets where the two main languages can be transmitted (for the US, usually English and Spanish) but other languages can be made available via the internet. This is a win in both directions. With the lower popularity, the internet delivery costs are not overburdening and for the same reason they wouldn’t warrant being included on the main Tx.

Richard introduces ISO BMFF and MPEG DASH which are the foundational technologies for delivering video and audio over ATSC 3.0 and, to Richard’s point, any internet streaming services.

We get an overview of the protocol stack to see where they fit together. Richard explains both MPEG DASH and the ROUTE protocol which allows delivery of data using IP on uni-directional links based on FLUTE.

The use of MPEG DASH allows advertising to become more targeted for the broadcaster. Cable companies, Richard points out, have long been able to swap out an advert in a local area for another and increase their revenue. In recent years companies like Sky in the UK (now part of Comcast) have developed technologies like Adsmart which, even with MPEG TS satellite transmissions can receive internet-delivered targeted ads and play them over the top of the transmitted ads – even when the programme is replayed off disk. Any adopter of ATSC 3.0 can achieve the same which could be part of a business case to make the move.

Another part of the business case is that ATSC not only supports 4K, unlike ATSC 1.0, but also ‘better pixels’. ‘Better pixels’ has long been the way to remind people that TV isn’t just about resolution. ‘Better pixels’ includes ‘next generation audio’ (NGA), HDR, Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) and even higher frame rates. The choice of HEVC Main 10 Profile should allow all of these technologies to be used. Richard makes the point that if you balance the additional bitrate requirement against the likely impact to the viewers, UHD doesn’t make sense compared to, say, enabling HDR.

Richard moves his focus to audio next unpacking the term NGA talking about surround sound and object oriented sound. He notes that renderers are very advanced now and can analyse a room to deliver a surround sound experience without having to place speakers in the exact spot you would normally need. Options are important for sound, not just one 5.1 surround sound track is very important in terms of personalisation which isn’t just choosing language but also covers commentary, audio description etc. Richard says that audio could be delivered in a separate pipe (PLP – discussed previously) such that even after the
video has cut out due to bad reception, the audio continues.

The talk finishes looking at accessibility such as picture-in-picture signing, SMPTE Timed Text captions (IMSC1), security and the ATSC 3.0 standards stack.

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Richard Chernock Richard Chernock
Former CSO,
Triveni Digital

Video: ATSC 3.0 Part II – Cutting Edge OFDM with IP

RF, modulation, Single Frequency Networks (SFNs) – there’s a lot to love about this talk which is the second in a series of ATSC seminars however much is transferable to DVB. Today we’re focussed on transmission showing how ATSC 3.0 improves on DVB-T, how it simultaneously delivers feeds with different levels of robustness, the benefits of SFNs and much more.

In the second in this series of ATSC 3.0 talks, GatesAir’s Joe Seccia leads the proceedings starting by explaining why ATSC 3.0 didn’t simply adopt DVB-T2’s modulation scheme. The answer, explained in detail by Joe, is that by putting in further work, they got closer to the Shannon limit than DVB-T2 does. He continues to highlight the relevant standards which comprise the ATSC 3.0 standard which define the RF physical layer.

After showing how the different processes such as convolutional encoding and multiplexing fit together in the transmission chain, Joe focuses in on Layered Division Multiplexing (LDM) where a high robustness signal can be carefully combined with a lower robustness signal such that where one interferes with the other, there is enough separation to allow it to be decoded.

Next we are introduced to PLPs – Physical Layer Pipes. These can also be found in DVB-T2 and DVB-S2 and are logical channels carrying one or more services, with a modulation scheme and robustness particular to that individual pipe. Within those lie Frames and Subframes and Joe gives a good breakdown of the difference in meaning of the three, the Frame being at the top of the pile containing the other two. We look at how the bootstrap signal at a known modulation scheme and symbol rate details what’s coming next such which allow this very dynamic working with streams being sent with different modulation settings. The bootstrap is also important as it contains Early Alert System (EAS) signalling.

Layered Division Multiplexing is the next hot topic we hit and this elicits questions from the audience. LDM is important because it allows two streams to be sent at the same time with independent or related broadcasts. For instance this could deliver UHD content with HD underneath with the HD modulated to give much better robustness.

Another way of maintaining robustness is to establish an SFN which is now possible with ATSC 3.0. Joe explains how this is possible and how the RF from different antennae can help with reception. Importantly he also outlines how toward out the maximum separation between antennae and talks through different deployment techniques. He then works through some specific cases to understand the transmission power needed.

As the end of the video nears, Joe talks about MIMO transmission explaining how this, among other benefits, can allow channel bonding where two 6Mhz channels can be treated as a single 12Mhz channel. He talks about how PTP can complement GPS in maintaining timing if diverse systems are linked with ethernet and he then finishes with a walkthrough of configuring a system.

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Joe Seccia Joe Seccia
Manager, TV Transmission Market and Product Development Strategy