ATSC 3.0, or NextGen TV as it’s known by the public, is the new standard for TV. It’s coming to the US in 2020 and will bring a more pleasing, sharp, and accurate viewing experience for all viewers.
What Does the ATSC 3.0 Stand For?
ATSC 3.0 stands for Advanced Television Systems Committee. It is the latest set of standards established by the ATSC for television broadcasting all over the US. The new broadcasting standard will require a new digital antenna to pick up the signals that are broadcast over the air. Hence, to pick up the signals, the TVs will have to have the antenna or a companion converter box installed.
ATSC 3.0 Standards
ATSC 3.0 follows ATSC 1.0 and 2.0 for the standards of television broadcasting all over the US. The changes to the standards mainly serve to better the picture quality and the detail that can be broadcast. The standards include the mergers of broadcast and broadband and the use of the mobile internet.
The standards mainly have to do with compression. ATSC 3.0 enables scalable encoding through Scalable HEVC. This enables the convergence between broadband and broadcast. This way, the codec will exploit redundancies to avoid sending data that has already been encoded. These “reference areas” will work on data that has already been sent before to save bandwidth and data. Hence, the details of an image that don’t change will be kept the same.
This is a two-part process. First, the compression scheme will compress the stream. This will be called the base layer. If the next stream features a similar area as the base layer, the difference between the two will be encoded. The receiver antenna will only receive the difference and keep the base layer. Thus only the difference between the two layers will be broadcast, saving power and data.
This is at the heart of the video processing in ATSC 3.0. The base layers will be broadcast over the air while the enhancements or differences will be streamed over the internet. Thus, ATSC 3.0 will need hybrid receivers. This means that the best possible video experience for the viewer can be established.
Will I Need a New TV for ATSC 3.0?
All in all, you will not. You may need to get an external converter box, but your current TV will be fine to tune into ATSC 3.0. All new sets will be ATSC 3.0 TV compatible and will have built-in tuners. Also, the switch won’t be mandatory at once. Five years after the establishment of ATSC 3.0 as the norm, ATSC 1.0 signals will still be available.
New Features of ATSC 3.0
ATSC 3.0 will offer better quality audio and video to the consumer, but it will also offer much more. This will include better broadcasting capabilities, faster communications, hybrid systems, etc. it will not only result in better 4K television viewing experiences but broadcast and broadband mergers.
Better Emergency Alerts
Local broadcasts are still people’s number one source to keep informed. These local broadcasts are often the best way to deliver emergency warnings of impending attacks and natural disasters like earthquakes. ATSC 3.0 promises to deliver warnings through Advanced Emergency Alerting. This will allow broadcasters to target alerts. Hence, even sleeping devices will be accessed to spread the alert to each person.
ATSC 3.0 will allow for the merger of Internet Protocol and television. It will allow for the conflation of broadcast and broadband for better broadcasting. Hence, more diverse content and choices will be made available.
The move to ATSC 3.0 will allow for better audio to be broadcast to the home. For example, viewers will be able to experience sporting events, televised concerts and live events better. New systems will not be limited to stereo speakers and will allow for surround sound for more devices. Specifically, the new audio improvements will allow for Dolby AC-4 broadcasts of 7.1.4 channel audio. They will also support Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. At the moment, the audio standard is limited to 5.1 surround sound.
There is very little source content for UDH TV. Only on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime do people get this privilege. However, with ATSC 3.0’s high-quality signals more TV channels and shows will be able to take advantage of 4K. Not only that, but better color accuracy, picture quality, and accurate frame rates will be made available to consumers.
Specifically, the use of the H.265 codec will allow for the best quality 4K to be broadcast. This will be great for broadcasters as well since they will get to keep their 6 MHz band to broadcast without an increase in bandwidth. ATSC 3.0 TV will also have the capability of broadcasting at up to 120 frames per second.
Great Mobile Reception
Mobile digital TV has been an add-on to ATSC 1.0 for a long time. However, it’s not been baked into the standard since the beginning. ATSC 3.0 will change all that. With the advent of 5G, mobile broadband broadcasting will become an even bigger part of the TV. It will be a fundamental part of television going forward.
ATSC 3.0 Rollout
The ATSC 3.0 rollout will be slow and steady. Like any switch from the previous standard to the new, it will take time. This is the same thing that happened when people switched from 3G to 4G. This will take even longer to fully switch though since TVs aren’t things that are changed as often as phones. Hence, the consumers at home will make do with their current TVs or installed converter boxes for the time being.
The ATSC 3.0 rollout will mean better TV for everyone, and it’s about time.