Advanced Television Systems Committee 3.0 (ATSC 3.0) has been released and our government is allowing broadcasters to adopt it. Greater transmission efficiency combined with more robustness is going to allow broadcasters to do more in the same amount of spectrum and at the same time provide higher quality. Consumers will be able to get an internet type of experience combined with broadcast television (aka linear television).
What’s the big deal?
The move to ATSC 3.0 is not just about delivering better image quality and more channels; it’s about customization. Key audio features of the new standard play a major role in customization. While sound itself boasts improved azimuth, elevation and distance perspective, the use of channels and objects (or “elements”) with metadata allows for rendering at the decoder, with sound placed in the most accurate position the viewer’s sound system can support. This adaptability spans both fixed and mobile devices, and broadcasters can actually target different devices, setups and sound environments.
At the same time, broadcasters can use the standard’s support for object-based audio to give viewers the ability to choose and control audio channels. During a NASCAR race, for example, a viewer could select the pit crew radio channel for his or her favorite driver, and also adjust other audio channels to reduce crowd or background noise. In short, the viewer can control both the audio content and mix.
ATSC 3.0 also introduces the application environment critical to personalization of digital content delivery and interaction with that content. Today consumers already take for granted interactive abilities, such as voting and shopping, that are simply impossible with broadcast television’s one-way focus. Building on proven World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) technologies that power the internet, ATSC 3.0 enables broadcasters to offer a tailored and dynamic experience, complete with dynamic ad insertion, personalized graphics, and synchronization with second-screen applications. As a result, viewers enjoy the features and options they want, while advertisers enjoy the benefits of targeted ads and content (at a premium, of course), as well as more accurate audience measurement.
Beyond consumer personalization, ATSC 3.0 will enable reception in a car while it’s traveling at 60, 70, 80 miles per hour. Of course there will be limits as to how consumers will consume this broadcast. Manufacturers will likely enforce only back seat passengers are able to watch. Vehicles today are really just big computers, broadcasters desire a method to get broadband to them. ATSC 3.0 would be a big enabler in this regard due to its IP nature. ATSC 3.0 is the first, and thus far, the only IP based TV transmission standard.