Posted on June 1, 2012 in ATSC News
This article about the ATSC Annual Meeting is from the May 9 edition of Communications Daily. Reproduced by permission of Warren Communications News, Inc., 800-771-9202, www.warren-news.com.
Coming Broadcast Standards to Integrate Web, Mobile Devices With TV
Forthcoming standards from two industry groups will more closely integrate the Internet, mobile devices and other consumer electronics with broadcast TV, executives from the Advanced Television Systems Committee and Motion Picture Experts Group predicted at the ATSC’s annual meeting. Work at the ATSC is under way on its 2.0 standard, which is backward-compatible with the existing TV standard, ATSC President Mark Richer said Tuesday.
ATSC 2.0 has better video compression, and new features allow for audience measurement, digital rights management and “advanced” electronic program guides, he said. MPEG Chairman Leonardo Chiariglione summarized his group’s ongoing work on a variety of standards for any industry to use, including broadcasters.
The ATSC’s DTV standard has borne the test of time because of the MPEG-2 standard which it works with, Richer said as showing a slide about the “evolution” of the first standard.
“What we spent many years doing was evolving this standard in a backwards-compatible way,” he said. “Mobile DTV may be the most important thing that we’ve done” and that’s compatible with all TV receivers “out in the marketplace,” which was “really hard to do,” he said. The eventual ATSC 3.0 standard won’t be backward-compatible, Richer noted.
Broadcasters have been able to “incredibly” stretch the compression of MPEG-2 and -4, with the latter “twice as efficient,” he said. ATSC 3.0 is “the next generation, a clean sheet of paper” and “a fundamental technological shift,” Richer said.
“We’re starting to work” on it, and how long it takes is ‘really going to be up to the industry,” Richer said. He’s told us it could take anywhere from very little time to 20 years to finalize ATSC 3.0. Speakers at the recent NAB Show said they couldn’t hazard a guess when ATSC 3.0 as a standard might be ready. Also “moving along again” is 3D TV, which is backward-compatible with the current ATSC standard, Richer said.
“A lot of you have different views on 3D TV, no pun intended,” he told the Washington audience of broadcast and consumer electronics executives Tuesday, and “recognize that the market is going to keep changing” for the format. The ATSC’s board “specifically said make it a multimode system” so there are “different ways of doing 3D TV,” Richer said.
This decade has seen “mixed results” from introducing 3D TV services, Chiariglione said in a later speech. He showed a slide noting there’s “not a single format across all services” and said “the focus of our work is to develop a new 3D format and compression techniques.”
TV broadcasters have faced challenges to their industry from rivals, and it’s “time for the champions of ATSC to steal home” plate and be more like the Washington Nationals’ young outfielder Bryce Harper, said ATSC Chairman John Godfrey. “And we have the groundwork being laid right now in our standards committees.” Broadcasters are “well positioned” to expand to a “more mobile” market and be “more tightly integrated with the Internet,” said Godfrey, who works for Samsung. Improvements like audience measurement are “really big steps forward for the broadcasting business,” which “has endured a few brush-back pitches,” he continued.
Eventually, “ultra HDTV” will be in place, with 32 megapixels at 8K, said David Wood, who’s retiring from the European Broadcasting Union. He spoke in a video from the ITU’s headquarters in Geneva. Ultra HDTV is “not something for tomorrow, but you can be sure it’s something for our children to enjoy,” Wood said. It has “plenty of space for lots of detail” and “fantastic” sound, he said. “The higher the quality, the longer you’ll watch the program, all other things being equal,” and time spent viewing a program before changing channels could double, he predicted.
MPEG wants “to be a neutral body” and seen as such by all industries, including broadcasters, Chiariglione said: “You are our customers, and we treat you well. There are other customers that come to us, and we treat them equally well.” MPEG should be used by “broadest” array of businesses possible to preserve interoperability, he said.
“Video is indeed the largest consumer of bandwidth, or spectrum” and MPEG began working in 2010 on high-efficiency video coding, he said. MPEG-H has compression that’s more than 50 percent better than AVC and it works with mobile devices, Chiariglione noted of work that’s now at the “committee draft level” and being done jointly with part of the ITU. — Jonathan Make
Posted in ATSC News
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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.