Taking the TV experience to a new level is the objective of ATSC 2.0, an effort that will introduce a number of enhanced features based on newly-developed standards and the focused application of existing standards.   Work on ATSC 2.0, which has been under way since last year,  includes a suite of new services, including non-real-time transmission, Internet-related enhancements, 3D TV broadcasting, and advanced video compression.

Rapid changes in technology are driving the ATSC 2.0 effort, with more consumer devices emerging with Internet connectivity.  As consumer tastes evolve, so too is the ATSC responding to the changing world.

To explore the current status of the emerging ATSC 2.0 effort, The Standard interviewed ATSC President Mark Richer:

Work’s been going on with ATSC 2.0 throughout 2012.  What’s the current status?  Are we making progress?

Richer:  TG1 is on track to advance ATSC 2.0 to a Candidate Standard before the end of 2012.  We have a goal of completing the ATSC 2.0 Standard for adoption in the first quarter of 2013.

How would you best describe the difference between the immediate work on ATSC 2.0 versus the longer-term goals with ATSC 3.0?

Richer:  ATSC 2.0 is a major evolutionary step that will provide new backward-compatible functionality. These enhancements are in the transport/management and application layers of the DTV system.  Longer-term, ATSC 3.0 is more revolutionary and is likely to be incompatible with the current ATSC DTV Standards, with significant changes at the physical layer.

What do you see happening this fall with ATSC 2.0?  What new standards are likely to be adopted or what work is planned for the second half of the year?

Richer:  With the recent approval of the Non-Real-Time (NRT) Standard and complex issues related to triggers resolved, TG1 will be busy buttoning up the detailed documentation for the ATSC 2.0 Candidate Standard including the marriage of linear broadcast content, file delivery and Internet connectivity.

How complex will it be for broadcasters and CE manufacturers to implement the ATSC 2.0 standards?  Is backwards compatibility important with ATSC 1.0?

Richer:  Most of the broadcast equipment is already on the market and should be widely available to broadcasters.  Implementation complexity will depend to some extent on the specific services and content provided by broadcasters, of course.  And yes, backwards compatibility is a requirement of ATSC 2.0.  Consumer electronics manufacturers have been actively engaged in the ATSC 2.0 process, so early planning on implementation of some of the new TV features is likely already underway.