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Optical/IP Networks

'NextGenTV' goes for a ride

ATSC 3.0, the new IP-based broadcast signaling standard branded as "NextGen TV," targets the TV with a blend of enhanced capabilities such as 4K, high dynamic range (HDR), on-demand video, immersive audio and advanced advertising. But the standard is also being touted as a downstream broadband distribution pipe that can support a much wider range of use cases, including mobile applications.

That mobility angle is starting to lead to apps and services for connected automobiles, including the distribution of info and entertainment services and the delivery of other large files. In the US, some of those use cases are starting to emerge at the Motown 3.0 Open Test Track in Detroit, Michigan, where a mix of technology demos are underway.

Pearl Television, a consortium of several US broadcasters, serves as the test manager at the test track.

"We always thought automotive was a natural extension to our television service," Anne Schelle, managing director of Pearl TV, said on the Light Reading Podcast. "We've demonstrated in multiple markets that this is a really robust signal ... meaning it's easy to receive it in a car even when you're in a garage or underground."

Schelle said Pearl TV and other broadcasters view ATSC 3.0 as a distribution pipe that can complement cellular and even satellite. "Automakers need every option," she said, noting that companies that run fleets of trucks or limousines are among the areas of the automotive market that could suit this use case.

South Korea, a market that is about two years ahead of the US with the standard, is also exploring the connected car use case. There, Hyundai Mobis is developing a lineup of cars that will come equipped with ATSC 3.0 receivers starting in 2023.

Here's a snapshot of topics covered in this podcast:

  • The origins of the Pearl TV consortium and its involvement with the ATSC 3.0 standard (1:30)
  • How the delivery of data to autos is a natural extension to the new IP-based signaling standard (8:50)
  • Background on the Motown 3.0 Open Test Track and some details and findings from the recent trials conducted there (10:15)
  • How ATSC 3.0 is expected to fit in with other wireless and mobile network types, including 5G and satellite (12:15)
  • Potential other use cases for NextGen TV/ATSC 3.0 (19:30)
  • A brief overview of the regulatory environment on the new standard, including thoughts on the FCC's fresh inquiry into voluntary adoption of the new standard and what technical challenges might be faced by cable operators and other multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) in redistributing those signals (23:00)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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