DECODING ACRONYMS: MSW Launches ATSC 3.0 Transmission Seminar

As ATSC 3.0 deployment plans spread to more markets, industry engineers are interested in learning as much as possible about the transmission capabilities and how the Physical Layer of the new standard will enhance reception – even under very difficult conditions.

Reprising a popular seminar series first done to explain the transition to digital TV years ago, Gary Sgrignoli, principal at Meintel, Sgrignoli & Wallace, is taking his show on the road again this fall.  The first stop was at an Alabama Broadcasters Association event in August.

“Last year, the Alabama broadcasters had an overview of the ATSC 3.0 system that was well-attended, and the thought was that the deployment is near for ATSC 3.0 stations beyond just model stations and a deep dive of the transmission system was appropriate,” Sgrignoli explains.  Indeed, broadcasters in more than 60 U.S. markets are planning to launch ATSC 3.0 service by the end of 2020 – including stations in all of the top 40 U.S. Designated Market Areas.

“The seminar is packed with information about the new transmission system including theory, fundamentals, practical applications, field performance, and includes demonstrations.  Questions we are receiving about the technical features and their performance show an interest in how this new system works,  including questions about equipment implementation — both the commercial transmitter and consumer receiver,” Sgrignoli says.

If the Alabama event is any indication, there is a thirst for more information about ATSC 3.0 deployment.

“Attendees at future events will be television station engineers, corporate engineers (both network and broadcast groups where much of the ModCod parameter design is performed), consultants, sales/test/design engineers from equipment manufacturer, FCC engineers, and any engineering student groups that might be interested in getting involved at the ground level of this exciting new Digital TV system deployment. People interested in both analysis (applications) and synthesis (ModCod parameter design) would benefit from attending this seminar,” says Sgrignoli, who also sees future events as ideal for engineering upper management, too.

“These ATSC 3.0 seminars provide the industry with a means to initially understand the benefits of the new ATSC 3 digital television system as well as its basic physical layer (i.e., the transmission system) features and performance.  Since there is no known tutorial book on the market yet – not even an ‘ATSC 3.0 for Dummies’ – it became clear to a lot of people that something more tutorial would be not only helpful but also necessary to bring broadcast-industry-related engineers up to speed on this new DTV transmission system in order to properly deploy it in both a timely and smooth manner.”

Sgirgnoli says that reading and studying by participants on their own is absolutely necessary, which is why a 26-page summary handout is provided to every attendee to take home. This handout includes a summary of all the important tables and diagrams that describe the system.

“Perhaps the most important thing included in this summary handout is the extensive list of acronyms and definitions.  FAQs may be added later, when more preparation time allows.  And MSW will supply to all attendees a .PDF file of all the presentation slides. Another area to obtain reference material are the Society of Broadcast Engineers ATSC 3.0 webinars, which can be viewed at a reasonable cost on the SBE website.  And each MSW seminar attendee is eligible for an SBE credit for continuing education.

Sgrignoli says the team at MSW wants to make future seminars widely available to as many in the broadcast industry as possible.  If ATSC 3.0 equipment providers or other organizations are interested in helping to underwrite a future seminar, please contact Sgrignoli for more information.  He can be reached at: gary.sgrignoli@twc.com