First End-to-End 4K IP Broadcast in Korea Marks Another Key Milestone for ATSC 3.0

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Korean broadcasters and global technology companies announced the world’s first end-to-end 4K Ultra HD broadcast using the next-generation ATSC 3.0 Candidate Standards.

Representing a significant development because past demonstrations have used pre-recorded material loaded directly to a transmitter, the first end-to-end 4K broadcast featured a live camera feed with real-time Internet Protocol (IP) transmissions from the SBS network studio in Mokdong to the broadcaster’s Gwanak Mountain transmitter.

The IP 4K signals transmitted over the air on Channel 53 were then received using a simple antenna and decoded by a 4K Ultra HDTV ATSC 3.0 receiver developed by LG Electronics.

The landmark experimental broadcast was a joint project of ATSC members including broadcasters SBS and MBC, researchers from the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), conditional access firm DigiCAP, and consumer electronics manufacturer LG Electronics, all of Korea; broadcast equipment supplier TeamCast of France; and video software supplier Media Excel of the United States.

Dr. Young-Soo Park, SBS technical director, said, “The success of this trial highlights the potential for Korea’s launch of terrestrial UHD TV commercial services using ATSC 3.0 in February 2017. And the fact that Korean companies are playing such an important role in ATSC 3.0 provides a good opportunity for Korean equipment manufacturers to advance in the U.S. market.”

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Signals in the Korean broadcast were delivered with next-generation IP technologies based on the DASH (Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP) streaming media format and ROUTE (Real-Time Object Delivery Over Unidirectional Transport) IP delivery protocol.

SBS coordinated a combination of broadcast equipment and systems, including the 4K video server, ROUTE-based HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) encoder, ROUTE-based multiplexer, signaling server, and ATSC 3.0 management system, all of which were used for the broadcasting demonstration. DigiCap provided the ATSC 3.0 signaling server, and Media Excel provided the HEVC real-time encoder. MBC participated in the broadcast transmission interface and reception measurement testing.

BFollowing the success of the experimental broadcast, SBS and MBC plan to work with ETRI and LG in the months ahead to continue to demonstrate ATSC 3.0’s capabilities as the South Korean government prepares to adopt its next-generation broadcast standard this year. “Together with broadcasters, we will continue our strong focus on commercializing ATSC 3.0 as the next great advance in terrestrial broadcasting,” said Dr. K.Y. Kwak, executive vice president, LG’s Advanced Standard Research & Development Lab.