Korea to Launch ATSC 3.0 Broadcasts in 2017

SEOUL—Several Korean broadcasters announced this week that they will begin transmitting ATSC 3.0 OTA broadcasts starting in February 2017. The news comes after the two broadcast networks, SBS and MBC—in conjunction with LG Electronics, ETRI and several equipment vendors—announced the first successful live end-to-end ATSC 3.0 broadcast in the country, and represents perhaps the best confirmation yet that the ATSC 3.0 next generation broadcast standard is on schedule to be completed within the next 12 months.

The first end-to-end broadcast of 4K Ultra HD represents a significant development, according to LG, because past demonstrations (including several Futurecast tests conducted in the U.S. in 2014 and 2015) have simply used pre-recorded material loaded directly to a transmitter. This test broadcast featured a live camera feed with real-time IP transmissions from the SBS network studio (one of the two in Mokdong to the broadcaster’s Gwanak Mountain transmitter. The IP signals transmitted over the air on Channel 53 were then received using a simple antenna and decoded by a 4K Ultra HDTV ATSC 3.0 receiver developed by LG Electronics. Signals in the Korean broadcast were delivered with next-generation IP technologies based on the DASH (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP) streaming media format and ROUTE (Real-Time Object Delivery Over Unidirectional Transport) IP delivery protocol.

SBS coordinated a combination of broadcast equipment and systems, including the 4K video server, ROUTE-based HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) encoder, ROUTE-based multiplexer, signaling server, and ATSC 3.0 management system, all of which were used for the broadcasting demonstration. MBC participated in the broadcast transmission interface and reception measurement testing. DigiCap provided the ATSC 3.0 signaling server, and Media Excel provided the HEVC real-time encoder.

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