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NAB to be ATSC 3.0’s Coming Out Party

At the Media & Entertainment Services Alliances’ (MESA) recent Metadata Madness event in New York, a group of experts on ATSC 3.0 — the industry’s upcoming, IP-based broadcasting standard — tackled exactly what the technology means for the industry.

Harold Geller, chief growth officer for the Advertising Digital Identification, LLC (Ad-ID) group, said it will change how everyone approaches over-the-air broadcasting, opening up all sorts of digital opportunities. Madeleine Noland with LG Electronics touted the possibilities of dynamic ad insertion. And Anne Schelle, managing director of the 200-plus strong TV station group Pearl TV, said it could represent a multi-billion dollar opportunity for the industry.

“What matters is it’s the world’s first IP standard, and allows us to do a lot of interesting things, with over-the-air 4K and HDR [high-dynamic range], better audio, and the compression technology HEVC [High Efficiency Video Coding],” she said. “It truly is a game-changer, allowing us to offer more programming and less spectrum post-auction [by broadcasters of their available spectrum].

“If we don’t do this, we’re not keeping pace with the marketplace, in terms of being able to address audiences and be able to offer high-quality, over-the-air services. The technology allows to constantly upgrade a network without impacting the consumer.”

With so much potentially at stake for the broadcast industry with ATSC 3.0, it makes perfect sense that this month’s NAB Show in Las Vegas sees an almost overwhelming push to promote the technology.

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), the group behind the standard, and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) have combined to offer two dedicated areas to ATSC 3.0 (a broadcast pavilion and an area showing off how consumers will experience the technology, via TVs and mobile devices). Tech companies will show off new broadcast equipment enabled with ATSC 3.0, and live transmission using the standard will be broadcast from the show floor.

“NAB Show marks a watershed moment for next-generation broadcasting with the lion’s share of the ATSC 3.0 standard nearing completion,” said ATSC president Mark Richer. “In collaboration with the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), NAB, Pearl TV and others, we look forward to showing how consumers will benefit from the new over-the-air transmission system and how broadcasters can take advantage of the many benefits of the flexible and adaptable ASTC 3.0 standard.

“Nearly 30 companies are coming to the 2016 NAB Show to show off various facets of ATSC 3.0, and attendees will find two major displays showcasing the capabilities of the emerging standard.”

NAB and ATSC will first open its ATSC 3.0 consumer experience display (located in the upper level of the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center) at 8 a.m., Monday, April 18, with Richer, and executives from NAB and CTA unveiling the offerings from a dozen companies, including Dolby, which will show off how it’s audio and Dolby Vision HDR technologies can be utilized using ATSC 3.0.

The consumer experience area will also see ATSC 3.0 work from LG Electronics, Fraunhofer, Linear Acoustic, Samsung, Sinclair Broadcast Group and more.

The ATSC 3.0 Broadcast Pavilion — a centerpiece of NAB’s Futures Park exhibit in the upper level of the South Hall — promises to be bigger, featuring nearly 20 organizations exhibiting broadcast equipment components designed for ATSC 3.0. Avateq, Enensys, Fraunhofer, Junger Audio, LG Electronics, Harmonic, Triveni Digital, GatesAir, Linear Acoustic, Verance and Unisoft are among those that will be on hand.

“ATSC 3.0 has the potential to strengthen broadcasters’ ability to provide a richer and more personalized content experiences for viewers,” said NAB CTO Sam Matheny. “The progress that ATSC has made in developing a new standard has been remarkable, and we look forward to showcasing next-generation TV technology at NAB Show.”

And where ATSC 3.0 has had its discussions in years past at NAB, the 2016 edition of the show has a slew of panels tackling the topic, including two dedicated tracks: “Building for ATSC 3.0,” on Saturday, April 16, and “ATSC 3.0 Update,” on Sunday, April 17. Here’s a selection of just a few of the ATSC 3.0 panels NAB attendees should keep in mind:

• “What you need for ATSC 3.0 – What’s different from 1.0,” April 16, 8 a.m., S219, with Rich Chernock, CSO of Triveni Digital, offering a deep dive into how different an ATSC 3.0 station will be, compared to one delivering ATSC 1.0 today.

• “IP Content Delivery for IP Broadcasting – Studio-to-Transmitter Links for ATSC 3.0,” April 16, 1:55 p.m., S219, with S. Merrill Weiss, president of Merrill Weiss Group, talking about the new infrastructure that’s going to be needed to support “the data carrying the content and its transport to one or more transmitters.”

• “ATSC 3.0 – It’s More than Just Television,” April 17, 4:30 p.m., S219, has Rich Redmond, chief products officer for GatesAir, discussing how ATSC 3.0 opens up opportunities beyond the TV, with “multimedia content, geo-locational targeted content, traffic information, file based content, podcasts and downloads.”

• “UHD for Broadcast and the ATSC 3.0 Standard,” April 18, 10:30 a.m., S219, features Thierry Fautier, VP of solutions and strategy for Harmonic, looking at how UHD will be delivered using the technology.

• “Leveraging Broadcast Television’s Infrastructure; ATSC 3.0,” April 19, 8 a.m., Encore 2, with experts from the Ennes Foundation and Sinclair Broadcast Group looking at “existing infrastructure and the infrastructure of the future, including towers, excess spectrum and the new ATSC 3.0 standard.”

“Consumer technology companies are poised to sell millions of 4K UHD TV receivers this year, as new capabilities such as HDR begin to populate the most advanced products,” said CTA SVP Jeff Joseph. “Consumers are hungry for new sources of 4K content, and we expect to see several examples of new product capabilities shown for the first time in … ATSC 3.0 [at NAB].”