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New ATSC 2.0 Points to New Media Age

The new ATSC standard for OTT services will enable targeted advertising, interactivity, second-screen viewing, and the potential to send all viewing history to broadcasters.

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“As the FCC remains myopically focused on broadband and delivering our spectrum to wireless companies, we must remind policymakers that in times of crisis, those wireless companies cannot match the reliability of broadcasting to deliver critical information to the masses,” Smith stated.

“I think the irony here is that the wireless industry covets our spectrum so that they can deliver video as efficiently as broadcasting’s one-to-many architecture, but their networks can never truly achieve this no matter how much spectrum they obtain. And even worse, they want to charge viewers for this service we provide for free.”

Looking forward, Smith added there is opportunity for the broadcasters to deliver what the public wants in a number of forms over the next several years.

“At the NAB Show, we explored many exciting innovations in television broadcasting. We saw the promise of 4K Ultra HDTV, which adds more resolution and contrast to broadcast video for sharper and brighter pictures that provide spectacular images on super-sized screens,” he told the audience. “We heard proposals for advanced television sound, which add amazing realism and power to the viewing experience, and we marveled at multi-screen services like ATSC 2.0, which demonstrated how today’s broadcast TV can be enhanced with synchronized with content via the Internet.”

What is ATSC 2.0?

Breaking down the specifics of the committee’s next-generation standard, Dr. Richard Chernock, chairman of the ATSC TG1 Technology Group, and CTO of the ATSC member company Triveni Digital. In an ATSC blog Chernock explains NRT (non-real-time) technologies are a centerpiece of the “emerging ATSC 2.0 standard.” NRT is described as a backwards-compatible package of broadcast services that includes new advanced coding technologies, Internet connectivity, enhanced service guides, audience measurement, and conditional access.

Defining the possibilities of ATSC 2.0 in more basic terms, Chernock says the platform enables users to have instant access to a variety of media at any time they wish.

“It involves the delivery of content in advance of consumption, so that when the viewer wants to view the content it’s already available,” he says. “When you stop and think about it, with the possible exception of live sports or breaking news, most television programs don’t need to be delivered in real time. They can download it overnight or at some other time, and it can be presented when the viewer wants to see it.”

Chernock points out another advantage of NRT content delivery is smart device owners can access media too whenever they want.
“NRT is especially attractive for mobile services, since consumers have clearly demonstrated a desire for on-demand applications,” he notes. “Experience has shown that most mobile viewing is done on an opportunistic basis—the consumer wants to watch something while waiting at the dentist’s office for example. Because of the generally unpredictable timing of mobile viewing, the concept of ‘appointment viewing’ may not always be practical for mobile television. NRT solves this problem by allowing the consumer to select what they want to see from a menu, with the program or service preloaded on their mobile device.”

Outlining some of the applications for NRT, Chernock adds NRT services can include push VOD (video on-demand) with everything from short videos to full-length movies; news, information and weather services, personalized TV channels, music, and other information that is based on specific topics.

“Delivery of NRT services allows broadcasters to continue to capitalize on a unique advantage: The deliver of localized content wirelessly to devices,” he emphasizes. “The development of complete end-to-end standards to enable NRT service delivery is expected to be a critical part of the future of broadcasting.”

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