CHAT ROOM: Swan Song

In the Chat Room this month, THE STANDARD sat down with Dr. Richard Chernock, who is stepping down in May from his chairmanship, and we might add very able stewardship, of the TG3 Technology Group that developed ATSC 3.0. He’s also retiring in June as Chief Science Officer at Triveni Digital.

THE STANDARD: Rich, congratulations on your great run as TG3 Chairman for – it’s hard to believe – four-plus years (and on your impending retirement from Triveni Digital).  Tell us please about what you’re most proud of in the process to develop the suite of standards we call ATSC 3.0.

CHERNOCK: ATSC 3.0 actually works! While I didn’t have many doubts about the viability of the technology, I’m pleasantly surprised that folks have been able to implement end-to-end systems with only minor hiccups. For a system this complex and so different from what was used in the past, this is quite an achievement.

To address your original question about the process, I think what I’m most proud about is the amount of cooperation, collaboration and compromise that took place during the development of the 3.0 suite of standards. Talented engineers from all over the world contributed new ideas and technologies that came to make up this new system. Sure, there were bumps in the road, some arguments and friendly disagreements along the way, but that’s the nature of the beast. I think we ended up with a system that’s the best possible with today’s knowledge and that meets future needs too. We’ve also learned from the past and built a system that, in all the layers, is able to gracefully evolve.

THE STANDARD:  From your perch as TG3 Chairman, you bring a unique perspective to all the moving parts in the standard and the process. Now that the standard has been released, what do you see as Next Gen TV’s most compelling opportunities for broadcasters, manufacturers and consumers.

CHERNOCK: I think there’s big potential for everyone to benefit. For broadcasters, there’s the opportunity to become more nimble and adapt to the constantly growing entertainment technology world that we’re living in, rather than remaining an isolated silo. New business opportunities, like targeted ad insertion, flexible delivery to fixed and mobile devices and hybrid services give room to grow. For viewers, the ability to get higher quality content, more of what’s wanted (whenever and wherever), interactivity and personalization are all new and attractive features. The new AEA (Advanced Emergency Alerting) capabilities built into ATSC 3.0 may well prove to be lifesavers. For manufacturers, 3.0 means a new generation of products and new service opportunities.

One observation is that, with major advances in new technologies, it can be hard to figure out early on what the “killer apps” will be (from both the viewpoints of providers and consumers). With ATSC 3.0, sufficient tools have been provided in the toolkit for broadcasters to experiment and try different things to see what sticks.

THE STANDARD: Any friendly advice for your successor, LG’s Madeleine Noland, as she takes over as Technology Group Chair later this month?

CHERNOCK: My first thought is to suggest a bit of practice herding cats? Seriously, I think Madeleine is an ideal successor – ready to take the ATSC 3.0 activities on to the next phase. Most of my focus was on getting it done. Now is the time to look towards the future: education, implementation and evolution. And Madeleine already has some well-thought-out plans for doing this. I feel very comfortable leaving things in her capable hands.

Chat Room photos by John Gurzinski