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A Framework for New Standard Development

March 18, 2021

The Advanced Television Systems Committee’s latest standard, ATSC 3.0, paves the way for the next generation of television, with a true convergence of the best capabilities of broadcasting and broadband technologies.

This NextGen TV platform delivers pristine 4K Ultra High Definition images with High Dynamic Range and multi-channel immersive audio, as well as improved compression, robust transmission and interactive features that empower a wide range of new applications. The suite of more than 20 standards was conceived as an international broadcast platform that can be easily adopted by many countries and can converge with international data transmission systems such as the Internet and 4G/5G.

In their paper “ATSC: Beyond Standards and a Look at the Future,” authors Madeleine Noland, Jerry Whitaker and Lynn Claudy note that while the ATSC 3.0 platform does not provide inherent backward compatibility, the flexibility of the system to evolve in the future and avoid disruptive technology transitions was a cornerstone of its development. It was “designed from the beginning to last.” In detailing the process taken by the ATSC in building this standard from the ground up, the authors not only provide an interesting history of its development, but also delineate a framework for the evolution of other future technologies and standards.

The ATSC’s mission of "looking around the corner" for the Next Big Thing in the evolution of broadcast media encompasses not just developing advanced technologies and applications with the needs of manufacturers, broadcasters and consumers in mind, but also promoting the global recognition of these new standards and recommended practices. To achieve that end, the ATSC created three groups purpose-built to freely explore the various facets of future technologies, trends and issues that will shape the future of broadcasting.

Planning Teams study technology and market requirements, assessing potential advantages and improvements that new technologies might provide, to consider whether ATSC should undertake any technical efforts. Current teams, for instance, are studying Core Technologies for Broadcast, Future Broadcast Ecosystem Technologies, Automotive Applications, and Global Recognition of ATSC 3.0.

Technology Groups evaluate technologies for inclusion in the ATSC 3.0 standards and recommended practices, and draft the technical documentation. They focus their discussions on technical facets alone, relying on the other groups to explore market needs, implementation and communications.

Implementation Teams address the many business, technical and regulatory requirements for a successful roll-out of the standard. They facilitate discussions with manufacturers and broadcasters, and report findings and needed improvements back to the technology groups who draft the standards. The implementation teams also create implementation guides and stage demonstrations at tradeshows. Currently, teams are actively supporting the adoption of the NextGen TV logo which will identify the technology to consumers, in conjunction with the efforts of the National Association of Broadcasters (#NAB) and the Consumer Technology Association (#CTA).

ATSC’s organization, with discrete planning, technology and promotion functions, recognizes that the global acceptance of the ATSC 3.0 standard requires a well-planned industry roadmap, and that the technical ability of a standard to evolve with changing technology does not guarantee evolution of the market for the applications it delivers. Because it looks at all facets of the challenge, this three-faceted approach promises to be an effective framework for the development of other future technology standards and recommendations.

Read the complete article, “ATSC: Beyond Standards and a Look at the Future,” in the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal.

Tag(s): Featured , News , ATSC3.0

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