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Bandwidth Hawk: Start Preparing for New TV Standard

After five years of development and a successful 2017 rollout in South Korea, the Advanced Television Systems Committee’s latest standard, ATSC 3.0, is poised to make an important contribution to the universe of broadband options. For broadband providers, the best advice is to start preparing for it, and to start writing it into business plans. Adoption is inevitable and desirable, although few network deployers will see an immediate business reason.

ATSC 3.0 is for over-the-air broadcasting but is based on the same Internet Protocol (IP) technology that over-the-top, other video-on-demand services and many cable systems already use. The standard accommodates more flexibility for broadcasters, allowing them to transmit data that can enhance TV broadcasts and deliver them optimized for everything from 4K Ultra HD to mobile phones.

Current broadcast TV stations will not have to change their over-the-air signals to the ATSC 3.0 format during an FCC-mandated transition period that will last at least seven years, but new content (especially games) and advertising revenue opportunities will likely emerge to speed the transition along.

After all, the first ATSC 3.0–capable TV sets won’t be on the U.S. market until later this year. But what happens as the penetration of new TV sets quickly increases? And what about customers who do most of their TV viewing on a computer, tablet or smartphone and can receive digital TV content through a broadband connection now?

SOME SCENARIOS ATSC 3.0 CREATES

Cooperation among cellular and wireless broadband providers. With 5G cellular alone, microcells would have to be spaced every 200 to 500 feet unless fiber backhaul is available. TV broadcasters could end up with some extra bandwidth on each 6-MHz channel if they don’t use all ATSC 3.0 features, and that bandwidth could be rented or swapped with broadband providers. Likewise, content providers could switch between cellular and ATSC seamlessly for secure (as far as viewing rights are concerned) over-the-air delivery to phones equipped with ATSC chips. There have been experiments with the idea in the United States (especially in New Jersey and in Phoenix) and in South Korea. There could be cooperation between satellite and cable/broadband deployers as well.

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More from Broadband Communities Magazine.

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Cocola Broadcasting, Broadcast Electronics and DigiCAP to Discuss LPTV at NAB Show 2020

Gary Cocola, Chairman/CEO of Cocola Broadcasting Companies, Perry Priestly, CEO/CSO of Broadcast Electronics, and Joonyoung Park, VP and Fellow at DigiCAP, will be speaking at NAB’s BEITC ATSC 3.0 Academy session at the NAB Show in Las Vegas that will take place from Saturday, April 18, 2020, to Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

Cocola, Priestley, and Park will describe a 3-step plan that will lead to this new phase of entrepreneurial growth. The plan will include a review of ATSC 3.0 LPTV and home gateway technology, how the aforementioned technologies can collaborate to produce new local spectrum services, and new services LPTV broadcasters can offer media companies.

The new services that LPTV broadcasters can offer are extending local radio service into the home, extending TV service, broadcast program enhancements, enhancing Nielsen measurements ATSC 1.0 channels, as well as ATSC 3.0 clock starter service for hi-power TV stations.

The session will take place at the NAB Show on Monday, April 20, 2020, between 3:20 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. The session will repeat a total of 3 times in room N260 LVCC at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

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Security, Content Protection High Priorities For NextGen TV

Early in the ATSC 3.0 development process it became readily apparent that for prevention of content piracy or unsanctioned signal retransmission, and to enable the capability to run auxiliary subscription services, the broadcast signal would need to be encrypted.

Within today’s completed set of ATSC 3.0 standards, encryption is indeed a fundamental part of the overall system. This includes cryptographic signing of signaling and applications, secure protocols in the Studio-to-Transmitter (STL) link and protection of broadcast content through encryption. All three of these areas need to be protected in order to thwart security attacks on ATSC 3.0 broadcast transmissions.

THE BACKSTORY

As a brief aside, here’s a little history: While it’s theoretically possible to achieve the above goals of content protection without encryption, the practical challenges make it quite difficult. Arguably, this mistake was made with the original ATSC digital TV service (now retrospectively referred to as “ATSC-1”), which was standardized in the mid-1990s, then launched as a totally in-the-clear service in the late 1990s (and remains so today). The idea of encryption really wasn’t investigated rigorously or pursued intently during ATSC-1’s development and deployment, because back then, free over-the-air television was considered synonymous with unencrypted, in-the-clear transmission.

By the time the advantages of encryption (even for the free broadcasting service) became appreciated, ATSC-1 service had already been in place for awhile, and it was too late to add encryption at that point. Too many TV sets had already been sold and the thought of disenfranchising them was essentially unthinkable.

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More from TV Technology.

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Sinclair Broadcast Group Joins Pearl TV as Ninth Member of Broadcast Business Organization

Pearl TV, a TV broadcast business organization comprised of eight companies that operate local TV stations, today welcomed Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SBGI) as the organization’s ninth member, a move that boosts the reach of Pearl-member stations to nearly half of all broadcast television stations in the United States. Sinclair joins Cox Media Group, Graham Media Group, Gray Television, Hearst Television Inc., Meredith Local Media Group, Nexstar Media Group, the E.W. Scripps Company, and TEGNA, Inc. as a Pearl TV member, bringing the station count of Pearl membership to more than 750 stations.

“We are very pleased that Sinclair is joining Pearl TV in commercialization efforts to offer consumers the new NEXTGEN TV services across the country. The entire broadcast industry, including the TV networks and a large cross section of group owners, is committed to a successful roll out of ATSC 3.0. This remarkable new technology gives broadcasters the ability to deliver to viewers the compelling benefits of NEXTGEN TV – greatly enhanced video and audio that allows local stations to bring together over-the-air with over-the-top content,” said Pearl TV Managing Director Anne Schelle. Pearl is coordinating 11 local broadcasters that are working together in Arizona’s Phoenix Model Market, which is incubating the new TV services and testing with consumers.

“From the beginning, Sinclair has focused on the exceptional advantages of a fresh start in over-the-air broadcasting afforded by the introduction of ATSC 3.0,” said Chris Ripley, President & CEO of Sinclair. “That is why we have been invested in and committed to improving over-the-air broadcasting so that it can better compete in today’s marketplace. We are excited to link arms with Pearl to ensure that the coming transition to ATSC 3.0 can be both swift and achievable.”

Broadcasters working on the transition to NEXTGEN TV are very pleased with the plans announced last month by LG Electronics, Samsung, and Sony to launch 20 new NEXTGEN TV-enabled television models in 2020. These will be the first consumer NEXTGEN TV receivers to be introduced in the U.S. market, as broadcasters light up NEXTGEN TV signals in more and more cities.

The latest consumer research to come out of the Phoenix, Arizona Model Market confirms very high interest in the new TV technology as consumers look for the next big development that can deliver even better audio and video to the home. Magid research completed at the fourth quarter of 2019 shows key NEXTGEN TV features that strike a chord with consumers:

  • Consistent audio – This normalizes audio levels to minimize the difference in volume between programs so viewers don’t have to reach for the remote and manually adjust the volume.
  • 4K HDR video – 4K technology provides sharper images, while high dynamic range (HDR) technology can provide a wider range of contrast between light and dark images on the screen. Together they create a more realistic experience to make viewers feel more immersed in the show they are watching.
  • Immersive audio – This is “movie theater-like” surround sound through the TV or a soundbar (no additional speakers required) to bring greater realism to the soundtrack and place the listener inside the scene.
  • Multiple audio tracks – Whether it’s choosing the home or away team’s feed, a comedic track, a different language, no commentary altogether for a sports game, or choosing dialogue options for children or adults for an educational show, this audio feature will allow consumers to choose between different audio tracks to best suit individual needs and preferences.

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More from Business Wire.

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Rift Valley Arranges $1.4 Million Private Placement

Rift Valley Resources Corp. (the “Company”) (CSE: RVR) has arranged a private placement of $1,400,000 at $0.05 cents per unit. Each unit consists of one common share in the capital stock of the company and a one-half share purchase warrant. Each whole warrant permits the holder to purchase an additional share at 15 cents per share for 2 years.

The net proceeds from this private placement will be used for continuing project development of a broadband wireless net work in Crockett Texas and general and administrative costs.

Initial wireless ISP broadband network deployment is ongoing on the Crockett, Texas, the first of a proposed 130 regional networks throughout rural United States, representing an addressable market of over 44 million people.It is estimated that there are over 160 million people, primarily in rural areas in the USA, who have limited or no access to true broadband internet connectivity.

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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