Chernock: FCC Spectrum Auction Has ATSC 3.0 Implications

Related: From Here to ATSC

Richard Chernock, chairman of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) Technology Group on ATSC 3.0, and chief science officer for Triveni Digital, will receive the Television Engineering Achievement Award from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) during an April 20 luncheon at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.

A lecturer for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) Broadcast Technology Society (BTS), Chernock shared his thoughts on ATSC 3.0 at NAB with B&C contributing editor Chris Tribbey.

Of all the potential benefits ATSC 3.0 offers, which do you consider most transformative for the industry?

There are two benefits of ATSC 3.0, in particular, that will be most transformative for the broadcast community. The switch to an all-IP transport is a significant change. ATSC 3.0 will be the world’s first digital broadcast television system that uses IP transport exclusively. Aside from being equivalent to a broadcast extension of the internet, the switch from MPEG-2 transport to IP transport will enable a host of new offerings to be delivered, including the seamless integration of components distributed over broadcast and broadband into a single service and the ability to support personalized local content insertion.

The physical layer technologies of ATSC 3.0 are another major area of improvement. The ATSC 3.0 physical layer will allow broadcasters to deliver television services in difficult reception conditions—i.e., deep indoors, vehicular mobile and pedestrian mobile—as well as high-bandwidth services. Interestingly, broadcasters can operate in multiple modes simultaneously to provide a mixture of services. One mechanism that makes this possible is a brand new technology called Layer Division Multiplexing (LDM). Support for [single-frequency networks] and channel bonding is also provided.

Both of these advancements will help broadcasters provide services that were not possible previously with ATSC 1.0.

What do you consider to be the biggest obstacles in the way of making ATSC 3.0 adoption a reality for the broadcast industry?

I think the biggest obstacle will be how to do the transition. Given the FCC spectrum auction and repack, there’s less bandwidth available, getting in the way of broadcasters making a simple transition. Currently, there are groups and individuals working on developing transition approaches taking these factors into account.

At NAB dozens of companies, from Dolby to LG, will be showing off what ATSC 3.0 can do. Are there any that you’re most looking forward to seeing in action?

ATSC 3.0 will definitely be a key theme at the 2016 NAB Show. What I’m most interested in seeing is the collaboration between companies that are providing integrated systems built on ATSC 3.0. One example includes Dolby, GatesAir, Harmonic, LG Electronics, Triveni Digital and Zenith, who are teaming up for the end-to-end ATSC 3.0 workflow happening at NAB. The Consumer Experience area in the front upper south hall will focus on the viewer experience, whereas the Futures Park located in the upper rear of south hall will shed light on the broadcast side.