Although the ongoing TV broadcast spectrum repack has been commanding attention of station operators, moving ahead with implementation of next-generation television is getting a lot of thought, too. The enabler for transmitting UHD, high dynamic range, extended color gamut and immersive audio technologies is the freshly-minted ATSC 3.0 DTV transmission standard, and this year’s NAB Show is featuring 3.0 in a big way.
Once again, the Advanced Television Systems Committee has set up in the lobby between Central and North Hall and in the North Hall with the theme “Riding the Road to ATSC 3.0.”
These two spots will “provide a live stage for education and information about deployment of the Next Gen TV standard,” said ATSC 3.0 spokesman Dave Arland. The lobby location includes a live TV studio and the North Hall locale “includes a presentation area where speakers discuss 3.0 deployments, content security, advanced advertising possibilities, consumer devices for the standard and more.”
Arland added that the ATSC is distributing a “Where to Find ATSC 3.0 at NAB Show” guide that will pinpoint locations within the LVCC where 3.0 products or technology are on display. The guide is available for pick up at the ATSC 3.0 Information Center, located in the Central Lobby.
PUTTING 3.0 ON THE AIR
The transmitter plant and installation of an ATSC 3.0-capable exciter is the first place to start in preparing to offer 3.0 service, and as ATSC 1.0 and 3.0 peak-to-average power ratios are different, a more powerful transmitter may be needed to ensure the coverage now afforded.
Whether it’s only an exciter upgrade, or a completely new transmitter system, prospective next-generation TV adopters will find plenty to choose from, with multiple offerings from transmission equipment manufacturers including Hitachi Comark, Gates- Air, Rohde & Schwarz and others.
“The exhibit floor at this year’s NAB Show will be more active than ever with ATSC 3.0 innovations and demonstrations as the industry begins looking beyond the repack period to what’s next,” said Ray Miklius, GatesAir’s vice president and general manager of television. “GatesAir will play a large role in this, including demonstrations of seamless transition from ATSC 1.0 to ATSC 3.0, and operating ATSC 3.0 networks in SFN mode. We will also emphasize the ATSC 3.0 readiness of our transmission line, [which is] equipped with our software-defined ATSC 3.0-ready exciter.”
While Hitachi Comark will be showing their line of ATSC 3.0-ready Parallax liquid-cooled and E-Compact air-cooled transmitters, Joe Turbolski, the company’s director of sales operations, said attendees should look for a fully IP-enabled workflow of ATSC 3.0 equipment, beginning with live camera 1080p video, an Exact-V2 DTV exciter for generating 3.0 signals, reception on a 3.0-enabled consumer TV and a home gateway for Wi-Fi distribution to handheld devices.
Rohde & Schwarz also promises plenty to see, including a software-based implementation of the DTV standard in conjunction with R&S’s THU9evo liquid-cooled, high-power UHF transmitter. The company will also unveil a VHF version of the THV9evo that supports 3.0 broadcasting, as well as a new exciter, the SDE900, which provides an easy path to airing ATSC 3.0.
“Thanks to the purely software-based implementation, the exciter enables broadcasters and network operators to optimally leverage the full capabilities of the standard and gives great flexibility to upgrade for future standard evolution,” said Graziano Casale, transmitter account manager for Rohde & Schwarz. The exciter supports such ATSC 3.0 features as multiple physical layer pipes, multiple subframes, as well as SFN operation and layered-division multiplexing (LDM) to help maximize station coverage, according to Casale.
For those transmitting the new signals, being able to decode an off-air sample is essential. DVEO is at the show with its broadcast-quality TLV500E demodulator that accommodates both ATSC 3.0 and 1.0 signals. It’s joined by two new DVEO offerings for generating 3.0 signals. The Cortina 4K HDR IP: ATSC 3.0 provides 3.0-compatible MTP or TS outputs, and a compact portable device, the eYe Grabber ATSC 3.0 provides signals for 3.0 demos and testing.
DTV Innovations is showing its PSIP Pro/Central Platforms that provide ATSC 3.0 signaling and service announcement capabilities, as well as an interactive program guide and advanced emergency alerting. The company is also featuring their Hydra platform that combines audio/video encoding and multiplexing with PSIP Pro signaling to provide a basic “station-in-a-box” approach for either ATSC 1.0 or 3.0.
Harmonic is featuring a software-centric approach to video delivery, which allows broadcasters to comply with 3.0/1.0 broadcasting requirements, enabling everything from channel sharing to UHD, nextgen audio and hybrid OTA/OTT services. The system centers around Harmonic’s Electra XOS live video processor and stat mux technology for delivering high-quality signals and also “decorating” new 3.0 channels for targeted advertising, a feature specific to 3.0.
Enensys Technologies is introducing SmartGate, a fully-virtualized broadcast gateway, that provides IP stream adaptation, PLP allocation, timing, in-band control and signaling for modulators in a 3.0 SFN configuration.
Triveni Digital is showcasing its Stream- Scope XM Verifier, a Windows-based app for receiving, verifying and recording 3.0 broadcast signals via ROUTE or MMTP protocols. It checks multiple 3.0 signal components, including metadata, to provide a comprehensive view of ATSC 3.0 services being transmitted.
Greatly enhanced emergency alerting capabilities are part of the 3.0 standard, and Digital Alert Systems is demonstrating these with the DASDEC-II platform for alerting and CAP (Common Alerting Protocol) message management. The DASDEC’s EAS-Net software module handles the content management necessary for aggregating and presenting urgent information via ATSC 3.0.
TAKING ATSC 3.0 INTO THE FUTURE
Although ATSC 3.0 is “here and now,” look for exhibits in the NAB’s “Futures Park,” which demonstrate even more of the standard’s potential to transform TV broadcasting. Korea’s Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) is demonstrating several advanced capabilities inherent in the standard, with a spotlight on “seamless convergence” of ATSC 3.0 broadcast and IP broadband connectivities.
Look for demos of seamless switching between the SHVC base and enhancement layers in broadband and broadcast networks, as well as a hybrid service delivery with the base layer delivered by conventional OTA broadcasting and the enhancement layer traveling via broadband connectivity. ETRI is also showing 8K UHD transmission made possible by 3.0’s channel bonding capability.
Also, attendees can learn about the latest Next Gen TV developments in the ATSC 3 Academy, which includes panel and paper presentations from top experts in the field. The ATSC 3 Academy is part of the Broadcast Engineering and Information Technology Conference.
All in all, 2019 looks to be the biggest year yet for ATSC 3.0 at NAB Show. For broadcasters even remotely considering making the switch, this is the place to prepare for it.