Posted on August 1, 2013 in ATSC News
Annual Strategic Planning Meeting Addresses Rapidly Changing Landscape
Rolling up their sleeves in their annual two-day strategic planning meeting in mid-July, members of the ATSC Board of Directors tackled big-picture issues facing the television industry for the near- and longer-term. With a sense of urgency characterized as a “need for speed,” the board dealt with a wide range of issues of critical importance to the ATSC and its members.
“The board took note of the extremely rapid pace of evolution and release of new versions of technology in virtually every other digital service and device ecosystem, including the Internet, WiFi, PCs, tablets, smartphones, browsers and applications,” says ATSC Board Chairman Glenn Reitmeier of NBC Universal.
“We have a need for speed, so the board encourages the technology groups TG1 and TG3 to consider a strategy of more rapid development and more frequent version releases to introduce new and incremental capabilities in ATSC standards. It’s crucial to all ATSC stakeholders that we innovate on pace with the rest of the digital world,” the chairman says.
STEPPING STONES TO THE FUTURE
Setting the stage for the marathon meeting was an astute presentation by guest speaker Steve Koenig, consumer research expert from the Consumer Electronics Association. He presented insightful data on the consumer device landscape, citing the maturation of the core television business, the explosion of tablet devices and the evolving ways that Americans consume television content. Industry trends like the upsurge of Internet-connected “smart” TVs and the expected growth of Ultra High-Definition (4K) Television are particularly relevant to the ATSC’s standards work.
Among the topics discussed by the board in excruciating detail, and with unbridled candor and good humor, was ATSC 2.0 implementation as a stepping-stone toward ATSC 3.0. The marriage of traditional television and Internet-delivered content received a lot of attention, especially the desire to demonstrate the capabilities of ATSC 2.0, to engage the content and business communities and to enable innovations in both smart TV and second-screen viewing environments.
The ATSC 2.0 Implementation Team, led by Cox Media Group’s Dave Siegler, will continue to discuss these issues and the scope and capabilities of ATSC 2.0 as it progresses. The board encourages all ATSC members with an interest in Smart TV and second-screen applications to join the ATSC 2.0 Implementation Team and participate in its activities.
A ‘SPECTRUM’ OF ISSUES
Building on the robust dialog about ATSC 2.0, the board had a free-wheeling, open and candid discussion about ATSC 3.0 and how the ATSC will define the future of television against the backdrop of a changing media landscape and evolving regulatory environment.
Guest speaker Rick Kaplan, former FCC official and now strategy head for the National Association of Broadcasters, provided useful perspectives and background for the board’s ATSC 3.0 discussions. In particular, while the ATSC has stayed out of the debate over broadcast spectrum, the board recognizes that our work needs to take the regulatory environment into account. As the board’s Spectrum Ad Hoc Group, led by PBS’s Jim Kutzner, looks ahead to transmission of Ultra High-Definition 4K content and interactive services, we note that sufficient broadcast spectrum will be required, even with powerful new video compression systems.
Similarly, mobile TV broadcasting, made possible through the ATSC A/153 standard, demonstrates the value of TV stations’ spectrum while expanding broadcast TV’s reach to portable and mobile devices, Kaplan said. He added that the NAB and its members are committed to growing the mobile TV ecosystem, especially with new services like Mobile Emergency Alert Services on the near-term horizon. Much like ATSC 2.0, the board views A/153 mobile TV as a key stepping stone to ATSC 3.0 – as mobile capability is anticipated as a centerpiece of the new standard.
NEED FOR SPEED
The sense of the board is that further accelerating the pace of the ATSC’s work and faster iterations of standard will help drive innovation throughout the ecosystem. A key part of that ecosystem will be consumer electronics manufacturers, working with ATSC to define new architectures, interfaces and solutions going forward. The Ad Hoc Group on Evolvability, led by NAB’s Kevin Gage, is encouraging a robust dialog among ATSC members on how to define innovation enabling interfaces in consumer devices that accommodate changes in transmission signals. More discussion will continue to take place in TG3 and its Specialist Groups.
The board also considered the ATSC’s culture of innovation and explored ways to further streamline our processes to drive change more rapidly. That may include making more effective use of architectural layers and versioning strategies, and enhanced interaction between the board and the technical committees.
ATSC IS THE PLACE
Referring to this year’s ATSC Annual Meeting theme, Reitmeier reminded board members that “ATSC Is The Place” where the future capabilities of television can be defined. With its diverse membership of content providers, broadcasters, equipment manufacturers and consumer electronics manufacturers, ATSC is uniquely positioned to consider every aspect of the television ecosystem as it establishes voluntary technical standards for the future.
Reitmemer said the board’s healthy discussions at the strategic planning meeting were aided by terrific preparation by the ATSC staff and all of our board members. On behalf of ATSC President Mark Richer (who has been under the weather), he gave special thanks to various members for their reports on ad hoc group efforts and technology committee work: the aforementioned Messrs. Siegler, Gage and Kutzner, as well as Triveni Digital’s Rich Chernock and Canadian Research Centre’s Yiyan Wu.
Posted in ATSC News
Subscribe to The Standard, our monthly newsletter. Learn More
ATSC is a membership organization with both voting and observer categories. Voting members include corporations, nonprofit organizations, and government entities, and they participate actively in the work of ATSC. Observers are individuals or entities not eligible to be a voting member.
Subscribe to The Standard, our monthly newsletter, to stay up-to-date with ATSC news and events around the world.
Advanced Television Systems Committee, Inc.
1300 I Street NW, Suite 400E
Washington, DC 20005
Do you have questions about ATSC?
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.