“OTT over the air” – ATSC 3.0 deployment has started in the US and has been deployed in Korea. Promising to bring interactivity and ‘internet-style’ services to broadcast TV, moreover allowing ‘TV’ to transition to mobile devices. To help understand what ATSC 3.0 enables, NABShow Live brings together Sinclair’s Mark Aitken, Bill Hayes from Iowa Public Television and SMPTE’s Thomas Bause Mason all of which are deeply involved in the development of ATSC 3.0.
The panelists dive in to what ATSC 1 was and how we get to 3.0, outlining the big things that have changed. One key thing is that broadcasters can now choose how robust the stream is, balanced against bandwidth. Not only that but multiple streams with different robustnesses are possible for the same channel. This allows ATSC 3.0 to be tailored to your market and support different business models.
ATSC 3.0, as Bill Hayes says was ‘built to evolve’ and to deal with new standards as they come along and was at pains to point out that all these advancements came without any extra spectrum allocations. Thomas outlined that not only is SMPTE on the board of ATSC, but the broadcast standards upstream of distribution now need to work and communicate with downstream. HDR, for instance, needs metadata and the movement of that is one of the standards SMPTE has formed. As Mark Aitken says ‘the lines are blurring’ with devices at the beginning of the end of the chain both being responsible for correct results on the TV.
The session ends by asking what the response has been from broadcasters. Are they embracing the standard? After all, they are not obliged to use ATSC 3.0.
Thomas say that interest has picked up and that large and small networks are now showing more interest with 50 broadcasters already having committed to it.
Should HbbTV and ATSC 3.0 be seen as the last flailing attempts for over-the-air broadcasters to remain relevant, or an important step forward in terms of keeping in step with changing viewership? Both technologies enable traditional broadcast to be mixed with internet-based video, entertainment and services as part of one, seamless, experience.
ATSC 3.0 has taken hold in the US and some other countries as a way to deliver digital video within a single traditional VHF channel – and with the latest 3.0 version, this actually moves to broadcasting IP packets over the air. HbbTV, on the other hand, is more commonly found in Europe and Asia with deployments in nearly 40 countries.
ATSC 3.0 is ready for deployment in the US and is now at a turning poin. With a number of successful trials under its belt, it’s now time for the real deployments to start. In this panel discussion as part of the IBC 2019 conference we hear that CES 2020 will be the time to listen out for major ATSC announcements.
The approach to digital TV in most other places, through DVB, is to bring together many broadcasters in to one multiplexed signal. In the initial iterations of DVB-T, broadcasters have banded together under the same name: In the UK and Australia, for instance, it’s ‘Freeview’. So when moving to something like HbbTV, in contrast to the ATSC plan, it’s natural to do the same.
This panel brings together companies who are pushing the technologies forward from the Europe and the US.
That last in the current series of ATSC 3.0 posts. This one is a light, but useful talk which aims to introduce people to ATSC 3.0 calling out the features and differences.
Michael, showing off his colour bars jacket, explains how ATSC 3.0 came about and how ATSC 2.0 never came to pass and ‘is on a witness protection program’. He then explains the differences between ATSC 1.0 and 3.0, discussing the fact its IP based and capable of UHD and HDR amongst other things.
The important question is why is it better and we see the modulation scheme is an improvement (note Michael says ATSC 3.0 is based on QAM; it actually based on OFDM.)
The talk finishes talking about what ATSC 3.0 isn’t and implementation details and the frequency repack which is happening in the US.
Continuing our look at ATSC 3.0, our fifth talk straddles technical detail and basic business cases. We’ve seen talks on implementation experience such as in Chicago and Phoenix and now we look at receiving the data in open source.
We’ve covered before the importance of ATSC 3.0 in the North American markets and the others that are adopting it. Jason Justman from Sinclair Digital states the business cases and reasons to push for it despite it being incompatible with previous generations. He then discusses what Software Defined Radio is and how it fits in to the puzzle. Covering the early state of this technology.
With a brief overview of the RF side of ATSC 3.0 which itself is a leap forward, Jason explains how the video layer benefits. Relying on ISO BMMFF, Jason introduces MMT (MPEG Media Transport) explaining what it is and why it’s used for ATSC 3.0.
The next section of the talk showcases libatsc3 whose goal is to open up ATSC 3.0 to talented Software Engineers and is open source which Jason demos. The library allows for live decoding of ATSC 3.0 including MMT material.
Finishing his talk with a Q&A including SCTE 34 and an interesting comparison between DVB-T2 and ATSC 3.0 makes this a very useful talk to fill in technical gaps that no other ATSC 3.0 talk covers.