PRESIDENT’S MEMO: Completing the Skyscraper

Over the past six months, ATSC watchers have seen our infographic depiction of the 23 floors of the skyscraper – representing the key building blocks of the ATSC 3.0 next-generation broadcast standard – make great progress. As we usher in summer, I am pleased to report that the ATSC 3.0 skyscraper (what I like to think of as Next Gen TV built from the ground up) is nearing completion.

Another important floor on the skyscraper has been completed – the final A/341 Video Standard just approved by ATSC members. On this floor are all kinds of amenities, including 4K Ultra HD, high dynamic range, wide color gamut, and higher frame rates. Together with the already approved advanced audio standards, the new video standard is poised to deliver a significantly enhanced consumer experience with Next Gen TV.

That enhanced consumer experience was one of the key takeways from the ATSC’s 2017 Next Gen TV Conference, highlighted in this issue of THE STANDARD. The two-day conference – the Day 1 deep dive on technology and implementation issues and the Day 2 dialogue on pressing business and policy issues – brought together industry stakeholders as Next Gen TV moves from the lab to the marketplace. I was excited to see lots of new faces at the conference, both onstage and in the audience, reflecting the high level of interest in ATSC 3.0.

Noteworthy additions to the 2017 conference included a Grammy-worthy performance by “The Multicasters,” the ATSC’s own jam band, and a special guest appearance by Don McMillan, the recovering engineer who delighted attendees with his ATSC-centric techie stand-up routine. Former FCC Chairman Dick Wiley’s “fireside chat” with key FCC officials and Technology Group Chairman Rich Chernock’s skyscraper construction update (with Rich donning a hard hat) were among the many highlights. Special thanks go to ATSC TG3 Vice Chair Madeleine Noland of LG Electronics for organizing Day 1 of the conference and to Dave Arland of Arland Communications, ATSC’s Communications Chair, John Tayor of LG, and the ATSC’s Daro Bruno for overseeing the production.

We look forward to a busy summer as we complete the remaining floors of the ATSC 3.0 skyscraper, with the A/331 (Signaling, Delivery, Sync and Error Protection) and A/360 Security and Service Protection) Proposed Standards moving to member ballots for final standardization. In June/July, the A/300 ATSC 3.0 System Candidate Standard is expected to progress to Proposed Standard, while construction on the few remaining other floors continues apace.

Finally, hearty congratulations to 2017 Bernard J. Lechner Outstanding Contributor Award going to the NAB’s Skip Pizzi in recognition of his tireless efforts on ATSC 3.0 use cases, system requirements and audio standards, to name a few. Congratulation again, Skip!

Mark Richer

ATSC President