American Television Systems Committee (ATSC) 3.0 Standard — NextGen TV

ATSC 3.0 is a hybrid broadcast and IP-based delivery standard that is considered the biggest technological update to antenna TV since the transition to high-definition digital signals in 2009. The ATSC 3.0 coverage objective is 62 markets, covering approximately 75% of the country. The American Television Systems Committee (ATSC) has published a map of NextGen TV deployments in the United States.

Broadcasting technology is defined as the 1-to-many delivery of audio or video content to a dispersed audience using any electronic mass communications media which supports the electromagnetic spectrum. AM radio was the first kind of broadcasting, and it became widespread around 1920 when vacuum tube radio transmitters and receivers became more widely available. Before this, all modes of electronic communication were 1-to-1, with the message meant for a single receiver. The term “broadcasting” came from the agricultural practice of scattering seeds across a field. Later on, it came to be used to describe the mass dissemination of knowledge via printed materials or the telegraph. In 1898, it was applied to “1-to-many” radio transmissions from a single station to several listeners.

The over-the-air broadcasting type that requires a broadcasting licence is primarily linked with radio and television, while cable has lately begun to distribute both radio and television signals (cable television). The signal can be received by anyone with the necessary receiving technology and equipment (e.g., a radio or television set). Both government-run services such as public radio, community radio, and public television, as well as private commercial radio and television, are included in the field of broadcasting. Transmissions across a wire or cable, such as cable television, are also considered broadcasts but do not always require a licence. Streaming digital technology transmissions of television and radio programs have increasingly been referred to as broadcasting in the 2000s.

Broadcast Television Signals

Video and sound signals that are broadcast over the air are known as broadcast television signals. They can be picked up for free by anyone with a television set that has a receiver and an antenna. Antennas are used to capture as much signal as possible and, on occasion, to magnify it.

All television sets have the ability to change the tuner on the receiver to pick up specific channels. Each station has its own frequency that the television set may tune into and receive.

Television Transmission Bands

The broadcast can be done in a variety of bands and frequencies. The transmission bands differ from country to country. Bands III to V are used in the United States.

Band I

It’s vital to remember that lower band transmissions, for example, Band I, don’t have adequate bandwidth and can be used to transport a lot of data.

Band II

FM radio is carried on Band II in the United States. While this band can carry an audio signal, adding video to the signal will overcrowd it and result in a signal that is inferior to what viewers currently receive.

Bands III, IV, and V

Band III, IV, or V is where normal TV signals are found. These bands usually need a lot of capacity to carry both audio and visual signals. The video element of most TV transmissions has about 4 MHz of bandwidth; when the sound portion is incorporated, the signal has roughly 6 MHz of bandwidth. Each TV channel has a bandwidth of 6 MHz, as determined by the FCC. The channels are as follows:

  • Band III — Channels 2–6 having frequencies from 54 to 88 MHz
  • Band IV — Channels 7–13 having frequencies from 174 to 216 MHz
  • Band V — Channels 14–83 having frequencies from 470 to 890 MHz

VHF and UHF

Very high frequencies are a group of channels that typically range from 2 to 13. Ultra-high frequencies are a group of channels that typically range from 14 to 83.

Both very high frequencies and Ultra-high frequencies are excellent frequencies for transmitting television signals, including both audio and video. They can pierce structures such as walls and have a long range.

NTSC

NTSC regulations apply to all standard television signals broadcast in the United States. The visual signal must have a video line resolution of 525 lines, a 3.58 MHz chroma carrier (colour TV signal), and must cycle at 60 cycles per second, according to the NTSC (National Television Standards Committee). Frames must be presented at a rate of 30 frames per second, according to the document. The NTSC standards make it simple for all television sets to pick up the same signals that broadcasters send out. It’s worth noting that this guideline only applies to analogue television.

Broadcasting System

Several images and sound-generating devices, such as studios, VTRs, video servers, video routers, and character generators, as well as a master control switcher, make up the above system. The Controller of voice and image forms an interface between the controller computer, image, and sound-producing device, master control switcher, serial connection (RS-232, RS-422), and picture and sound signal reference. The master control switcher’s output will then be transferred to the sound and picture output device for broadcasting to the home audience. The operating idea is as follows: there is a list of programming arrangements that will work sequentially on the computer controller that uses the software. When the software indicates that the controller computer has detected something, the controller computer will work according to the list. The device on which the software will be executed. If the program that will display on the screen originates from the VTR, for example, the computer will identify the VTR’s readiness and transfer it from the starting time code to the final time code entered by the operator. Controller computers that have acquired programming files that are ready to go live will prepare the video server as the source picture and sound according to the controller’s computer’s list. The controller computer sends the master switcher to place the video server into standby mode after a few seconds, when the material from the video server has been displayed for a time frame of 3 seconds, and later the monitored material will be in the preview position. The master switcher will then transfer the preview position on the monitor to the program position which will start the material, after 3 seconds the material must be aired.

ATSC 1.0 vs 2.0 vs 3.0

1) ATSC 1.0

The ATSC 1.0 was introduced in 1996. As the US was undergoing developments in digital signal transmission, ATSC 1.0 was properly implemented in 2009.

The following are the major characteristics of ATSC 1.0-:

  • It supports a 1-bit rate of 19 Mbps.
  • The range of coverage is 15 DB.
  • It offers easy implementation for high-definition TV, multicasting, and data transmission.
  • The television and internet can individually be operated.
  • It allows HDTV and SD multicast.
  • The ATSC 1.0 functions on 8 vestigial sideband modulations.

2) ATSC 2.0

The following are some of the characteristics of ATSC 2.0: -

compatible with ATSC 1.0

  • It supports hybrid television while using the internet.
  • It allows video compressing
  • It allows ad streaming
  • Video on demand

Hitherto, ATSC has released only 2 standards, i.e. ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0. While ATSC 2.0 was being implemented, due to the non-availability of the 4K resolution feature in ATSC 2.0 it was not released.

3) ATSC 3.0

On March 26, 2013, ATSC made an announcement about ATSC 3.0 physical layer. In June 2020 the first commercially licensed ATSC 3.0 broadcasting station was launched. The ATSC 3.0 broadcast technology standard, sometimes known as “NextGen,” is currently available. ATSC 3.0 is the first major update to the Improved Television Systems Committee’s standard for delivering and receiving over-the-air transmissions. The ongoing collaborative rollout of ATSC 3.0, a codified new standard for over-the-air digital transmission that allows for two-way interactivity and multi-screen applications, has the potential to revolutionise the broadcast industry, working both over-the-air and digitally in tandem with the internet connections.

ATSC 3.0 is a hybrid broadcast and IP-based delivery standard that is considered the biggest technological update to antenna TV since the transition to high-definition digital signals in 2009. The ATSC 3.0 coverage objective is 62 markets, covering approximately 75% of the country. The American Television Systems Committee (ATSC) has published a map of NextGen TV deployments in the United States.

Fox-owned KTTV and KCOP, as well as Nexstar’s KTLA, was among the first to embrace the format in Los Angeles. Various TV models with built-in tuners will be offered to start at $599 from three different manufacturers: LG, Samsung, and Sony. Standalone tuner units that can be connected to any TV are being developed. In addition, some local television stations around the country will be changing their broadcast frequencies over the air which means the individuals who watch free over-the-air television with an antenna will need to rescan their TV set each time a station moves to continue receiving the local channel. Consumers have grown accustomed to being able to see information on any device, at any time, and from any location. And, if pay-tv, linear TV, and over-the-top (OTT) adapt and collaborate, those viewers who belong to the “when you want, where you want” programming platform will be able to see all content, regardless of source, using the ATSC 3.0 platform.

Advantages of ATSC 3.0

The following are the advantages of ATSC 3.0 -:

  • Better audio — immersive audio and the option to tailor audio tracks
  • Better picture quality — 4K and high dynamic range (HDR)
  • A modernised guide — the possibility to sync with subscription video-on-demand, ad-supported video-on-demand, broadcast, and cable content providers
  • Interactive content — customized commercials and offers, enhanced camera angles, sports analytics, and enhanced localised emergency alerts ATSC 3.0 was designed from the ground up to be a hybrid over-the-air (OTA)-OTT system, Noland says, and it’s the first television standard that uses IP.

Conclusion

ATSC 3.0 develops an IP-based broadcast transmission technology, commonly known as next-gen TV. The standard, which incorporates digital two-way communication into the broadcast environment, was greatly influenced by web technology. The first commercial network broadcast went live in Las Vegas, and a number of other cities around the United States have followed suit or will do so soon. Instead of instantly switching from ATSC 1.0 to ATSC 3.0, broadcasters must make spectrum-sharing arrangements and pool their bandwidth within their cellular market area (CMA) to use half of the spectrum for 1.0 and a half for 3.0 for a period of time. This implies that broadcasters and streaming businesses still have time to incorporate 3.0 into their plans.

The ability to multicast audio, video, and data is the promise of ATSC 3.0. Because live streaming does not permit multicast transmission, it frequently fails to scale to TV-sized audiences. ATSC 3.0 accomplishes this, as well as allowing for targeted tailored advertising, implying that the broadcast industry has merged the digital promise of targeting with the audience support for broadcast, effectively leveling the playing field in the broadcast versus streaming rivalry.

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