President’s Memo: Broken Record and Breaking Records

Mark RicherLoyal readers of THE STANDARD may think I’m sounding like a broken record, repeatedly talking about our momentum, progress and milestones related to the ATSC 3.0 next-generation television broadcast standard.

Guilty as charged. We’re pretty proud of our momentum, progress and milestones. Thanks to the remarkable work of many people, we’re getting work done on schedule and driving innovation. In fact, innovation is thriving at ATSC, exemplified by the world’s first IP-based broadcast standard.

There’s still a lot of work to do as our technology groups finish developing the remaining elements of the suite of standards collectively known as ATSC 3.0. Most of the actual development work is done, so getting the documentation completed is a major focus in the months ahead. Major efforts now under way also focus not just in completing the standards and documents, but also on technology implementation.

Success, especially related to implementation, will depend on collaboration and cooperation – both with broadcaster groups like NAB, APTS and Pearl TV, and with allied organizations like SMPTE, NCTA, CTA and IEEE, to name a few; also TTA, ETRI and others in South Korea and around the world. (Pardon the alphabet soup!)

Accentuating this collaboration, the ATSC filed supportive comments with the FCC, supporting the joint petition by APTS, CTA, NAB and the AWARN Alliance, which asks the Commission to rapidly establish modest rule changes that will facilitate voluntary implementation of Next Gen TV using ATSC 3.0.

That same spirit of collaboration was alive and well at “Countdown to Launch,” the 2016 ATSC Broadcast Television Conference, which drew record-breaking attendance last month in Washington.

On behalf of the ATSC board, I want to thank the attendees, speakers, panelists, moderators and sponsors at our two-day event. Special thanks to our keynote speakers: FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly and Sony Professional Solutions CTO Hugo Gaggioni. And we especially appreciate the ongoing support of the Father of HDTV, former FCC Chairman Dick Wiley.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a press report calling the excitement at an ATSC meeting “palpable.” That’s a take-away about the 2016 conference by TV Technology’s Tom Butts in his editorial reprinted in this issue of THE STANDARD (along with press coverage of the event by Consumer Electronics Daily and TV Technology). Other highlights of the conference in this issue include Commissioner O’Rielly’s remarks and articles about winners of the prestigious Lechner Outstanding Contributor Award (congratulation’s to LG’s Madeleine Noland!) and the less-serious but equally deserved ATSC Rubber Chicken Awards.

Not to sound like a broken record, but we’re looking forward to hitting more key milestones as the year progresses – and, of course, stocking up on rubber chickens for more deserving honorees along the way.

Mark Richer

ATSC President