A data structure of the format: descriptor_tag, descriptor_length, and a variable amount of data. The tag and length fields are each 8 bits. The length specifies the length of data that begins immediately following the descriptor_length field itself. A descriptor whose descriptor_tag identifies a type not recognized by a particular decoder shall be ignored by that decoder. Descriptors can be included in certain specified places within PSIP tables, subject to certain restrictions . Descriptors may be used to extend data represented as fixed fields within the tables. They make the protocol very flexible since they can be included only as needed. New descriptor types can be standardized and included without affecting receivers that have not been designed to recognize and process the new types.
Source: 65, 69
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The Advanced Television Systems Committee, Inc., is an international, non-profit organization developing voluntary standards and recommended practices for digital terrestrial broadcasting. ATSC member organizations represent the broadcast, broadcast equipment, motion picture, consumer electronics, computer, cable, satellite, and semiconductor industries. ATSC also develops digital terrestrial broadcasting implementation strategies and supports educational activities on ATSC standards.