NAB 2018: Dish, Spectrum Co. Team on ATSC 3.0 Test in Dallas

Dish Network and Spectrum Consortium LLC (Spectrum Co.) said they have successfully tested the emerging next-gen ATSC 3.0 format in the Dallas area using 700 MHz E Block spectrum.

Using spectrum formerly used broadcast TV channel 56, Dish deployed on Spectrum Co.’s Garland, Texas, Single Frequency Network (SFN) site, as part of a conversion to ATSC 3.0.

Spectrum Co. is a consortium of broadcasters that are attempting to spearhead the transition to ATSC 3.0, a new format that’s designed to deliver sharper images, immersive audio, interactive features and OTT-like capabilities to over-the-air TV. Spectrum Co.’s founders include Sinclair Broadcast Group and Nexstar Media Group, with Univision Local Media, Inc. having signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) to join it.

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Dish held that its 700 MHz E Block is “uniquely positioned” to provide coverage to about 95% of the license areas in the U.S.

They said two 6 MHz channels have been committed by market broadcasters (Univision and Cunningham Broadcasting Corporation) that will also accommodate Dish’s licensed E-Block spectrum.

Vendors involved in the Dallas area "Next Gen" rollout include: Hitachi COMARK (transmitters), ATEME (encoders), Enesys (gateway resource scheduler), Digicap (ESG and signaling), Dielectric (band-pass-filters, transmission line and antennae), Monroe Electronics (EAS Digital Alert Systems), TestTree (monitoring and control), Acrodyne Services (integration), ONE Media (configuration and design) and Progira (SFN coverage modeling).

A suite of standards for ATSC 3.0 were released in January, timed with the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Dish and Spectrum Co. made their announcement as the NAB show gets under way in Las Vegas this week.

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"We're seeking innovative ways of bringing next generation technologies and services, like ATSC 3.0, to American consumers," Tom Cullen, Dish’s executive vice president of corporate development,” said in a statement. “This trial helps us not only pursue opportunities with 'Next Gen' TV technology, but also identify synergies with our IoT and future 5G plans, for example broadcasting data to connected cars."

We are thrilled that one of the most innovative companies in telecom and media has joined Nexstar, Sinclair, Univision and American Tower in our Dallas SFN project,” added John Hane, Spectrum Co’s president. “DISH's involvement underscores that ATSC 3.0 is much more than the most transformational upgrade of broadcast television technology in history. It's the foundation of a robust new ecosystem of advanced services. The wireless economy is quickly outgrowing one-size-fits-all solutions. We look forward to working with DISH, broadcasters and others to bring exciting new capabilities online."