ATSC Moves Forward on 10 Candidate Standards

The Advanced Television Systems Committee continues to make significant progress on the development of a next generation broadcasting standard ATSC 3.0, with four parts of the ATSC 3.0 suite of standards being approved as candidate standards.

This month, the organization is also voting on six others for candidate standard status, the ATSC has announced.

These approvals and votes come on top of the fact that the organization has already approved the ATSC 3.0 transmission system “Physical Layer” as a candidate standard.

“With these latest candidate standards, the lion’s share of the overall ATSC 3.0 standard will be in place, as planned, by year-end,” said ATSC president Mark Richer in a statement. “Now that ATSC 3.0’s core technologies have been defined, broadcast and consumer equipment manufacturers can proceed with confidence in building prototype gear to test and demonstrate the capabilities of next-gen broadcast television next year.”

The candidate standards will then be reviewed before getting final approval as a standard.

The ATSC has been working under a tight deadline to complete ATSC in time for the FCC’s spectrum auction and repack.

The four approved candidate standards are:

The Companion Device Candidate Standard (A/338), which enables second-screen viewing. It explains the communication between a “primary” device (typically a television) and a “companion” device (second screen, such as a tablet or smartphone). This candidate standard will allow broadcasters to move interactivity from the primary screen to the companion device and provide additional services that are related to the broadcast in a synchronized manner.

The Service Announcement Candidate Standard (A/332), which describes encoding and transport of metadata used to create Electronic Service Guides. This will allow viewers to see an onscreen interactive listing of services offered by broadcasters.

The Video Watermark (A/335) and Audio Watermark (A/334) Candidate Standards. They provide a means for broadcasters to insert metadata information into the video signal to send information for interactive services to ATSC 3.0 television receivers connected to multichannel video programming distributors.

The six candidate standards being voted on this month include Video Encoding; Signaling, Delivery, Synchronization and Error Protection; Captions and Subtitles; Link Layer Protocol; Service Usage Reporting; and Audio/Video Watermark Payload.

The organization also noted that the few remaining ATSC 3.0 subsystems include audio, security and interactive capabilities. Those are expected to be voted on in early 2016.