ATSC 3.0 World Series Broadcast a Home Run!
It was meant to be: Experimental FCC license in hand for a Cleveland ATSC 3.0 TV station with ties to the local Fox affiliate… the October Classic being broadcast by Fox Sports … the Indians in The Series.
Using the newly-standardized A/322 Physical Layer ATSC 3.0 Standard, Channel 31 in Cleveland transmitted simulcast network and local programming from Fox8 as the American League’s Cleveland Indians hosted the National League’s Chicago Cubs.
The broadcasts on Channel 31 used the transmitter and broadcast facilities of WJW-TV, the Tribune Media-owned Fox affiliate in Cleveland. (Channel 31 was WJW’s pre-digital TV transition channel allocation; Fox8 WJW now broadcasts on Channel 8.) Pristine over-the-air ATSC 3.0 signals were received on a small antenna in the Fox Sports broadcast compound at Progressive Field.
ATSC Board Chairman Richard Friedel spearheaded the project. “This is a defining moment for the future of television. Together with Tribune, NAB and our technology partners, we are showing the FCC and our fellow broadcasters that Next Gen TV is a grand slam,” said Friedel, executive VP and general manager for Fox Networks Engineering and Operations.
The NAB received an FCC experimental license to operate the full-power Channel 31 transmitter as a living laboratory for broadcasters and manufacturers creating the Next Gen TV service.
In addition to the support of Tribune Media, Fox and the NAB, the ATSC 3.0 World Series broadcasts were made possible by technical contributions of:
- GatesAir (ATSC 3.0 exciter for over-the-air transmission),
- LG Electronics (ATSC 3.0 receivers and antennas),
- Harmonic (real-time encoders for HEVC video and Dolby AC4 audio) and
- Triveni Digital (signaling/announcement metadata, IP stream generation, ATSC 3.0 analyzer, and system integration support).
“With this test station we’re swinging for the fences,” said Tribune Media’s Director of Broadcast Engineering Operations Bill VanDuynhoven. “We’re putting the new transmission standard through its paces to demonstrate that ATSC 3.0 technologies are real and can deliver meaningful benefits to broadcasters and viewers alike.”
Field trials of the ATSC 3.0 Physical Layer standard using the Cleveland station – conducted this summer by long-time ATSC members GatesAir, LG and Zenith – generated literally tens of thousands of data points. Results show how ATSC 3.0 can deliver 4K Ultra HD content, excellent robust mobile reception, deep indoor reception by fixed receivers and unparalleled spectrum efficiency.
“ATSC 3.0 standards are nearing completion, and over the coming months in conjunction with partners, we expect to test real-world Next Gen TV applications – like UHD TV, interactive services, targeted advertising, advanced emergency alerting, and more,” said Sam Matheny, NAB executive VP and CTO, who called the test station “a platform for demonstrating the Big League capabilities of the ATSC 3.0 suite of standards.”