PRESIDENT’S MEMO: Evolution and Revolution

At the 2019 ATSC Next Gen TV Conference, in her first address to members as ATSC President, Madeleine Noland explained her evolutionary and revolutionary future vision.  Her remarks are summarized in this June President’s Memo:

As a standards organization, ATSC needs to focus on the present and simultaneously lay the groundwork for the future.

In the near term, ATSC is laser-focused on supporting successful commercial deployment of ATSC 3.0 in the U.S. We are honing the Standards as feedback from the field comes in. We are drafting Implementation Guides and Recommended Practices to help implementers navigate the Standards. We are supporting out-reach and education efforts underway in NAB, SMPTE, IEEE BTS and SBE. We are organizing multiple plugfests to assist interoperability testing. And we are supporting the consumer electronics industry’s efforts to offer ATSC 3.0 receivers as Next Gen TV broadcasts in the U.S. are launched in the coming months.

Looking to the future, we can take a page from Mark Richer’s book. Our former ATSC President and our members had the foresight to begin work on ATSC 3.0 a decade ago, and that incredible vision has created the opportunity we have today to launch new technology that will give us a strong future for years to come. We will continue that commitment to envisioning the future in order to have valuable standards ready for our members at the time they are needed.

While we look to the long and bright future, we must balance the evolution of the ATSC 3.0 system with the stability needed for successful implementation at every step of the way.

Among the tons of requirements for the new system, “evolvability” has been one of the most important goals. ATSC is defining a process for evolving the standard as market trends change, while providing the necessary stability for product development and implementation in the marketplace. We are establishing a rhythm for incorporating revisions, which allows the standard to evolve in response to market forces while maintaining stability for implementation. And so our goal is not to stand still, but to march thoughtfully and deliberately into the future.

ATSC will explore a number of avenues for preparing for our future:

  • We must continue to facilitate usage of all features that the ATSC 3.0 system offers – including those that rely on upstream and downstream partners and systems. Will new technical interfaces create new efficiencies?
  • We will consider new sectors for our data pipe, such as automotive. Will these sectors have additional requirements we should consider?
  • We will consider the global economy in which we operate, which includes international data delivery networks such as 4G/5G and the Internet. How can the standard best support our members as our businesses become more and more globally focused?
  • And we will always keep our eyes on the road ahead. What new technology advancements are coming that can improve and expand our businesses?

ATSC is committed to helping usher in the 21st Century ecosystem for digital terrestrial broadcasting. The flexibility of ATSC 3.0, together with its underlying IP backbone, enables integrations and connections with other systems that can foster a global outlook of scale and innovation for our industry today and into the future.

Needless to say, I’m pretty excited about the opportunity to lead these efforts in collaboration with our talented board of directors, industry partners and of course, the hundreds of ATSC members who are the volunteer leaders making Next Gen TV a reality.

Madeleine Noland, ATSC President