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Cable/Video

Synamedia extends bridge to ATSC 3.0 for cable ops

Synamedia has broken out a new receiver for ATSC 3.0, the next-gen, IP-based broadcast signaling standard that will support 4K, enhanced audio and targeted advertising along with an aim to reach not just TV screens but mobile devices too.

Expanding on Synamedia's ATSC 3.0 platform for TV broadcasters, the new receiver is billed as a bridge that can enable cable operators and other multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) to receive IP-based 3.0 feeds but continue to distribute them to set-top boxes in the traditional ATSC 1.0 format via legacy MPEG transport streams.

Those MVPDs also have the ability to reprogram the receiver to support and feed through ATSC 3.0 signals in their full glory, Elke Hungenaert, VP of product management at Synamedia, explained. But the general idea is to allow cable ops to start testing the new broadcast signaling standard on a small scale and add new features and capabilities at their own pace, the company noted.

Synamedia, which introduced the product this morning during a press event held in place of what it had planned for the cancelled NAB 2020 show, noted that the system is also designed to receive and distribute those signals via on-premises or public cloud setups.

Synamedia's ATSC 3.0 receiver, which uses the vendor's new Media Edge Gateway, emerges during the early stages of testing and deployment of the new signaling standard, which is being marketed by the US broadcast industry under the "NextGen TV" brand.

The vendor said it's already working with Pearl (a consortium of broadcasters that include Cox Media Group, E.W. Scripps Co., Graham Media Group, Hearst Television, Meredith Local Media Group, Nexstar, Gray Television and Tegna) as well as yet-unnamed "major" cable operators on testing of the new ATSC 3.0 gateway. Initial trials are expected to get underway this month.

Also on the ATSC 3.0 front, Synamedia announced integration partnerships with Thomson Broadcast and Triveni Digital for ATSC 3.0 "channel in the cloud" configurations that aim to minimize disruption and reduce on-premises equipment costs of broadcast stations while they begin to test and deploy 3.0-based services. That setup integrates Synamedia's video encoding and packaging systems with Triveni's broadcast gateway and GuideBuilder (for metadata management) and Thomson's tower transmission products.

The broadcast and pay-TV industry is at "tipping point" with respect to virtualization and the use of public cloud and software-as-a-service models as these new technologies begin to provide the kind of reliability and quality of experience provided by traditional hardware-based, on-premises solutions, said Julien Signes, Synamedia's SVP and GM of the video network.

Sabine Bravo, VP of business development at Synamedia, also expanded a bit on the company's new partnership with Google Cloud. While Synamedia will remain cloud-agnostic and support other public clouds, the Google Cloud partnership carries with it the opportunities for both companies to promote and resell each other's products, she said.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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