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ATSC 3.0—‘Best Of The Best’ For Broadcasting’s Future

Television viewing is now much more than something that needs just a TV antenna or cable line. Over the past two decades, viewers have enjoyed a plethora of new viewing options, from satellites to streaming and new services that take advantage of better connections that can deliver more choice and control.

The original ATSC Standard was set in 1995, before the availability of DVD players (not to mention Blu-Ray). The iPod wouldn’t even be a reality for another six years. And the DVB-T standard dates from about the same time period. DVB-T2 was a huge improvement, but that 10-year-old technology dates from the era of the iPhone3.

Meanwhile, Moore’s Law has been chugging away each year reducing chip cost by half (or doubling capacity), mobile broadband penetration has exploded and Internet Protocol (IP) has taken over as the de facto language of the communications world.

The broadcast industry’s response to this rapid pace of technological change is the new ATSC 3.0 standard, now literally the best in the world.

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More from TV Technology.

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ATBA Member Wins 2018 Channel ID and Branding Award

ATBA member Eric Wotila of MI News 26 received the 2018 Channel ID and Branding award presented by NewscastStudio on June 17, 2019.

“This award is quite a prestigious award,” said Eric Wotila, President of NewsNet, a twenty-four news network focused on presenting headlines without opinion or speculation. Newsnet also offers both over-the-air and streaming options. Wotila also launched MI News 26 in 2011, a low-power station which broadcasts local news and classic TV shows in northern Michigan.

“We were up against many national networks and for our LPTV station to win is absolutely thrilling,” said Wotila.

The Broadcast Production Awards’ purpose is to acknowledge those behind-the-scenes in broadcasting. In previous years, the awards focused solely on Set and Lighting Design, but this year more categories were added to successfully fulfill their purpose.

The categories for this year’s awards included Set of the Year, Lighting Design, Branding and Motion Design, Music, and Production, which were judged by industry professionals.

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Deadlines Approaching for Earlier than Usual Nationwide EAS Test

For the fourth consecutive year, the FCC, in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (“EAS”) on August 7, 2019. While the detailsof the test will be similar to years past, EAS Participants, which includes all cable television systems, TV stations, radio stations and low power TV stations, should start making testing preparations because this year’s test is occurring much earlier than tests in previous years.

Requirements for EAS Participants

EAS Participants must complete several action items prior to the August 7, 2019, nationwide EAS test. EAS Participants must file EAS Test Reporting System (“ETRS”) Form One by July 3, 2019. If an EAS Participant participated in the nationwide EAS test last year or the year before, it should have already registered with ETRS and completed Form One, which requires EAS Participants to supply identifying and background information. This year EAS Participants will need to renew their identifying information in Form One and file an additional Form One for any new facilities. Each EAS Participant should file a separate copy of Form One for each of its EAS decoders, EAS encoders, and units combining such decoder and encoder functions.

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Next Gen TV Conference Examines ATSC-3 Use Cases

Broadcasters, CE companies, equipment manufacturers and service providers met in Washington in late May at the Annual Next Gen TV Conference, to discuss real and anticipated products and services using the new ATSC-3 standard.

Welcoming remarks by newly-appointed ATSC President Madeleine Noland described the hallmark features of the standard, which include bandwidth efficiency, Internet alignment, and “evolvability.” These new characteristics, she said, offer high integration with IP networks, due to the use of IP as a transport layer, as well as a means to prevent obsolescence by using the Bootstrap Signal that allows for new transmission modes. The standard also presents new B2B opportunities, such as with mobile advertising in transportation vehicles.

Myra Moore, of Digital Tech Consulting, chaired a panel regarding the ATSC 1.0-to- 3.0 transition, and looked at ways to “Encourage Market Collaboration.” Dave Folsom, of Pearl TV, says that there is a growing effort aimed at implementing ATSC-3 in the Pearl member stations, comprising more than 300 TV stations that are network-affiliated with eight of the largest broadcasting companies in America.

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FCC Releases Info, Procedures for Auction 104

The FCC has released a public notice regarding notice and filing requirements, minimum opening bids, upfront payments, and other procedures for Auction 104.

The auction is designated for low power tv stations and translator stations that were displaced due to the broadcast incentive auction that repurposed 84 megaHertz of the band spectrum.

An auction tutorial will be available via the internet on July 8, 2019. The tutorial will allow viewers to review written notes, an audio recording of the notes, and will also be able to search for auction-related topics.

A short-form application will open on July 16, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern time and will close at 6:00 p.m. on July 22, 2019. The bidding for this auction will begin on September 10, 2019 with the auction being closed to anyone not on the list.

Any and all upfront payments must be paid by wire transference on August 14, 2019 by 6:00 p.m. Eastern time. A mock auction will be held on September 6, “to become familiar with the FCC auction bidding system prior to the auction,” the public notice said. The FCC also stated, “We strongly recommend that all bidders participate in the mock auction. Details will be announced by public notice.” The actual auction will begin September 10, 2019.

Those permitted to participate in Auction 104 must submit a short-form application by 6:00 p.m. Eastern time on July 22, 2019 and an upfront payment by 6:00 p.m. Eastern time on August 14, 2019.

Bidding credits will be offered to winning bidders who are eligible. The bidding credit options are 25% if the winning bidder has an attributed interest in no more than three mass media facilities, 35% if the winning bidder has no interest in any other mass media facilities, and no credit is given if the winning bidder owns a commonly owned mass media facility in the same area as the construction permit proposed in the auction.

Any one of the bidding credit options can be given to those who are eligible, but no more than one of the credits can be received.

For more information about how to apply for Auction 104 visit https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-19-477A1.pdf

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Dear Fellow LPTV Broadcaster and Industry Leaders,

The auction has ended and most of us are still here.  While it was not only our hope but the hope of many others that the auction would not take place . . . it did, but it did not have the devastating effect that it might have had. 

The world after the auction looks different and amazingly so has a very bright future!

What does that future look like?  Not only the amazing possibilities of ATSC 3.0 but the landscape of a nation of people who are increasingly cutting their cable cords and looking for free, over the air, broadcasting content.

That’s why it’s more important than ever that you join the Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance.  Our board of directors have a combined 500+ years of experience which beginning with your membership we are going to start making more available to our members on an increasing basis.

Soon as an ATBA member, you will be eligible to start tapping into not only this brain trust through unique services available only to our members but regular news updates regarding our collective broadcast future.  We are exploring new ways to tap into information from Washington as well as important updates that will benefit you right there where you live.

The need for the ATBA has increased with the new opportunities that are becoming available for those of us who still know that the future of LPTV, Class A and Translators is bright!  Are you selling your station to local sponsors?  Are you maximizing your spectrum to the advantage that you truly can?  Are you struggling with FCC rules and regulations that you either don’t understand or can’t get explained?

The ATBA is developing a database of information to help you find the answers you need! 

In addition we are still working with the true decision makers in Washington.  Your ATBA has earned the respect and the ear of the true movers and shakers that continue to shape our collective broadcasting future.

So what can you do to get involved and begin to take advantage of these, and many other, benefits?  Join the ATBA today!  Your membership benefits will include:

  1. Members only access to hundreds of years of LPTV experience through our new “Brain Trust”
  2. Early entry to our annual NAB LPTV evening event with access to our special event guest(s)
  3. Exclusive digital content regarding real world information you need to know
  4. Eligibility for recognition for your hard work through our ATBA LPTV Awards
  5. Access to equipment manufacturers with discounts available especially for ATBA members!

To be honest you can’t afford not to be a member of the ATBA! 

We’re making it affordable because it’s a win – win!  When you join, you’re going to receive more than just the benefits listed above but also you’ll be aligning with hundreds of others who, like yourself, have a vested interest in the continued forward movement of free, over-the-air broadcasting.  It’s a win for your ATBA because we will increase our strength through numbers as we grow together.

So what’s the next step?  If you’re ready follow this link https://www.broadcastingalliance.org/join-us/ to sign up.  If you have more questions please don’t hesitate to call a member of the ATBA board of directors by calling this number (877) 214-4277.   You’ll get a rapid response!

Thanks for taking the time to read this note and for your ongoing passion for the future of communication in this great country.

Respectfully,

The Board of Directors – The Advanced Television Broadcast Alliance