Webinar: ATSC 3.0 Physical Layer and Data Link Layer Overview

ATSC 3.0 brings IP delivery to over-the-air TV marking a major change in delivery to the home. For the first time video, audio and other data is all delivered as network streams allowing services available to TV viewers at home to modernise and merge with online streaming services better matching the viewing habits of today. ATSC 3.0 deployments are starting in the USA and it has already been rolled out in South Korea for the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in 2018.

Whilst the move to IP is transformational, ATSC 3.0 delivers a whole slew of improvements to the ATSC standard for RF, bandwidth, Codecs and more. In this, the first of three webinars from the IEEE BTS focussing in on ATSC 3.0, we look at the physical layer with Luke Fay, Chair of the ATSC 3.0 group and also a Senior Manager of Technical Standards at Sony.

Click to register: Wednesday, 15th January, 2020. 11am ET / 16:00 GMT

What is the Physical Layer?
The physical layer refers to the method data gets from one place to another. In this case, we’re talking about transmission by air, RF. Whilst this isn’t, in some ways, as physical as a copper cable, we have to remember that, at a basic level, communication is about making a high voltage in place A change the voltage in place B. The message physically moves from A to B and the medium it uses and the way it manipulates that medium are what we refer to as the physical layer.

In this webinar, Luke will talk about System Discovery and Signalling, defined by document A/321 and the Physical Layer Protocol defined by A/322. Both freely available from the ATSC website. The webinar will finish with a Q&A. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the topics which will be covered.

Choice of modulation

ATSC 3.0 has chosen the COFDM modulation scheme over the previous 8VSB, currently used for first-generation ATSC broadcasts, to deliver data over the air from the transmitter. COFDM, stands for Coded Orthogonal Frequency Devision Multiplexing and has become the go-to modulation method for digital transmissions including for DAB, DAB+ and the DVB terrestrial, satellite and cable standards.

One of the reasons for its wide adoption is that COFDM has guard bands; times when the transmitter is guaranteed not to send any data. This allows the receiver some time to receive any data which comes in late due to multi-path reflections or any other reason. This means that for COFDM, you get better performance if you run a network of nearby transmitters on the same frequency – known as a Single Frequency Network (SFN). A transmitters signal from further away will arrive later, and if in the guard interval, will be used to re-inforce the directly received signal. This means that, counter-intuitively from analogue days, running an SFN actually helps improve reception.

Multiple operating points to match the business case
Another important feature of ATSC 3.0 at the physical layer is the ability to be able to choose the robustness of the signal and have multiple transmissions simultaneously using different levels of robustness. These multiple transmissions are called pipes. As many of us will be familiar with, when transmitting a high bandwidth, the signal can be fragile and easily corrupted by interference. Putting resilience into the signal uses up bandwidth either due using some of the capacity to put error checking and error recovery data in or just by slowing down the rate the signal is sent which, of course, means not as many bits can be sent in the same time window.

Because bandwidth and resilience are a balancing act with each one fighting against the other, it’s important for stations to be able to choose what’s right for them and their business case. Having a high robustness signalm for penetration indoors can be very useful for targeting reception on mobile devices and ATSC 3.0 can actually achieve reception when the signal is below the noise, i.e. a negative signal to noise ratio. A higher bandwidth service delivering UHD at around 20Mbps can be achieved, however, by using 64 instead of 16 QAM.

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Speaker

Luke Fay
Chairman, ATSC Technology Group 3,
Senior Manager Technical Standards, Sony Home Entertainment & Sound Products – America

Video: Talk 2110

Is the industry successfully delivering what we need with SMPTE’s ST 2110 suite of standards? What are the benefits of IP and how can we tackle the difficulties?

In this panel from Broadcast Solutions’ Innovation Day, we hear from 5 vendors understanding their perspectives and plans for the future. Claus Pfeifer from Sony say they have now 60 sites up and running in IP. Lawo’s Phil Myers follows up saying “People know they have to go IP, it’s a matter of when they go IP.”

Whilst this is a positive start, the panel moves on to talking briefly about difficulties implementing SMPTE ST 2110. Jan Eveleens from Riedel points out many of the issues will go as we are waiting for technology to catch up regarding CPUs and bandwidth. We no longer have the same processing issues we used to for audio. Similarly with video, technology will improve and remove many of the challenges. Phil Myers feels that cloud implementation issues are not a large problem at the moment as he sees a move to bring equipment into private clouds rather than public. This way they are doing ‘remote production for buildings’.

After each vendor outlined their future plans for IP, Zoltan highlighted that IP allows NDI to co-exist with ST 2110. Many may want to use 2110 for high end sports, for others NDI fits well. Then panel felt that a concerning area of IP is the worry of how to fix problems. The knowledge level is different from country to country. So vendors not only need to work on education about IP, both for NDI and 2110, but they need to do this in a focussed way for the different markets.

As the panel comes towards the end, Claus feels that the industry started to talk too early about pure technology. “Did not discuss enough about the business benefits.” he explains such as remote production and more efficient use of equipment – avoiding ‘sleeping Capex’. Installing IP makes a lot of sense for large-scale systems. Recently broadcasters have been working at a scale requiring much more than 1024 squared routers roughly where SDI routers top out. But also, these large systems tend to have a life of over 10 years. Faced with SDI development, particularly in routers, is slowing down or stopping, for these long-lived systems it makes much more sense to use IP.

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Speakers

Jan Eveleens Jan Eveleens
Director Business Development Video Solutions,
Riedel
Joachim Kuhnen Joachim Kuhnen
Strategic Solution Manager EMEA
Imagine Communications
Zoltan Matula Zoltan Matula
Regional Sales Manager Central Europe,
Newtek
Phil Myers Phil Myers
Chief Technology Officer, Chair of the Advisory Board,
Lawo
Claus Pfeifer Claus Pfeifer
Head of Connected Content Acquisition – Media Solutions,
Sony
David Davies David Davies
Moderator

Video: Designing and Utilising SMPTE 2110 for Broadcast: Opportunities and Challenges

A meeting of experienced minds here at the Pittsburgh SMPTE section talking about the opportunities and challenges of ST-2110. Phil Myers from Lawo talks optimistically about the challenges that can and often have been solved in implementing 2110 whether that be network infrastructure or timing, giving a good primer on the whole topic as he starts the session.

Hugo Gaggioni from Sony, talks about NMOS, explaining what AMWA does and the difference between their IS-04,05 and 06 specifications.

Karl Kuhn from Tektronix then discusses packet pacing, PTP and network architectures. He then looks at how to monitor PTP and see it is working well.

With the panel session at the end, joined by Dan Turk from NEP, there is a free-ranging discussion covering some of the following topics:

  • Control of IP networks
  • The limits of IP
  • Multicast traffic
  • Network Architecture
  • True non-blocking switches
  • Break-even points of IP systems
  • Split essences & dropping blanking
  • Network planning for UHD
  • Handling loss of network on PTP implementations
    plus much more!

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Speakers

Phil Myers Phil Myers
Senior Director, IP Systems,
Lawo
Karl Kuhn Karl Kuhn
Senior Field Video Applications Engineer,
Tektronix
Hugo Gaggioni Hugo Gaggioni
CTO, Broadcast and Production Systems Division
Sony
Dan Turk Dan Turk
Chief Engineer, Mobile Units
NEP

Video: AMWA NMOS IS-04 and IS-05 Scalability and Performance

AMWA’s discovery and registration protocols IS-04 and IS-05 play a big role in making IP systems usable, allowing the system to easily identify new kit when it’s plugged in and understand its capabilities. However, deploying such systems at scale should give anyone pause for thought – how scalable are they? How does the system recover after a network outage? Clearly we wouldn’t want the system to be brought down by the administrative burden.

Rob Porter, from Sony Europe Ltd., has done the research and presents it here at the VSF’s IP Showcase at the 2018 IBC.

Rob gives a brief overview of the two specifications, describing their APIs and the open source nature of them. He then goes on to explain how he emulated this large number of devices and what he found.

Finally, Rob wraps up the session by explaining how he optimised network-loss recovery times and summarises best practices.

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Speaker

Rob Porter Rob Porter
Project Manager – Advanced Technology Team,
Sony Europe Limited