Next Gen TV Station in Cleveland to Support ATSC 3.0 Implementation

The broadcasting and consumer technology industries are collaborating on a “living laboratory” test station in Cleveland, Ohio, to help broadcasters and manufacturers prepare to deliver Next Gen TV services powered by ATSC 3.0. Like they did with the original ATSC 1.0 HDTV Model Station project a generation ago, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and Consumer Technology Association (CTA®), have joined forces to oversee and manage the Cleveland test station’s activities going forward. 

“Just as we collaborated to implement a test station as we led the nation’s transition to digital and HDTV, this partnership will help us test and experiment with this flexible new standard across a variety of applications and with fixed and mobile receivers in a real-world environment,” said CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro. “We’re excited to continue our partnership with NAB to take this next critical step toward bringing the many benefits of Next Gen TV to viewers.”

NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith noted the test station’s “vital role in the further development and implementation” of Next Gen TV. “This is the place where broadcasters, professional equipment manufacturers, consumer electronics companies and other interested parties can work together and experiment with the innovative new standard,” Sen. Smith said. “Our technology team is working on everything from basic transmission to exercising the interactive features of the world’s first IP based broadcast standard. It’s a big effort, and we’re delighted to partner with CTA to enable this work.” 

The ATSC 3.0 experimental broadcasts in Cleveland are using the transmitter and broadcast facilities of WJW, the local Tribune Media-owned Fox affiliate.  NAB has been granted an FCC experimental license to operate the full-power Channel 31 transmission facility there.

Tribune Broadcasting’s Director of Engineering Operations Bill VanDuynhoven said, “With this test station, NAB and CTA are putting the new transmission standard through its paces to demonstrate how ATSC 3.0 technologies can deliver meaningful benefits to broadcasters and viewers alike.”

Already onsite and in operation at the station is Next Gen TV broadcast and consumer electronics equipment from more than a dozen different companies. The test station represents a collaborative living laboratory to fully exercise and understand the real-world capabilities of the new ATSC 3.0 standard.

The Cleveland station is no stranger to ATSC 3.0 testing.  A year ago, in a defining moment for the future of television, the station ushered in the era of Next Gen TV broadcasting with the first live ATSC 3.0 broadcast of a major professional sporting event – Major League Baseball’s World Series. The station broadcasted simulcast network and local programming from local Fox affiliate WJW-TV as the American League’s Cleveland Indians hosted the National League’s Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field in game two of the 2016 World Series.

Even before NAB and CTA took over management of the Cleveland test station, early field trials of the ATSC 3.0 Physical Layer standard were conducted there since 2015 by ATSC members including GatesAir, LG Electronics and Zenith. Those tests generated literally tens of thousands of data points showing how Next Gen TV with ATSC 3.0 can deliver 4K Ultra HD content, excellent robust mobile reception, deep indoor reception by fixed receivers and unparalleled spectrum efficiency.