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Oct072016

Podcast #760: ATSC 3.0

In the United States and a few other parts of the globe, the standard that defines how digital television transmissions work over terrestrial, cable and satellite broadcasts is called ATSC, named after the Advanced Television Systems Committee. ATSC 1.0 is in use now as the current standard, adopted by the FCC in 1996. But the committee is actively working on the next generation of broadcast standards and has released both 2.0 and 3.0 versions - neither of which are actually in use yet. Some feel that ATSC 3.0 may leapfrog 2.0 and make it obsolete before it even gets any serious mileage on it.

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ATSC 3.0

In the United States and a few other parts of the globe, the standard that defines how digital television transmissions work over terrestrial, cable and satellite broadcasts is called ATSC, named after the Advanced Television Systems Committee. ATSC 1.0 is in use now as the current standard, adopted by the FCC in 1996. But the committee is actively working on the next generation of broadcast standards and has released both 2.0 and 3.0 versions - neither of which are actually in use yet. Some feel that ATSC 3.0 may leapfrog 2.0 and make it obsolete before it even gets any serious mileage on it.

One of the great characteristics of the ATSC 2.0 standard is that it is fully backward compatible with ATSC 1.0. This could, in many ways, make it a great bridge to the newer 3.0 standard. It has a ton of new functionality, like interactive and hybrid television experiences that connect your television with Internet content and services and actually merge the interactive elements directly into the broadcast stream. You don’t have two separate/disjoint experiences running side by side or on top of one another. But while it is cool, it doesn’t actually match the experience most viewers would be looking for in today’s world, so the odds are it will never make it over the airwaves.

The ATSC 3.0 standard is actually a collection of 20 individual standards. This week, on October 5, the Advanced Television Systems Committee gave its formal approval to 3 of those standards. This brings the overall picture to 5 published standards, 11 candidate or proposed standards and the remainder still in the documentation phase of development. Of the other 17 standards, many of them are quite noteworthy. Along with the interactivity features that build on the ATSC 2.0 spec, 3.0 adds support for 4K video, High Dynamic Range content and H.265 compression. The plan is to take the best of what modern technology has to offer, from 4k TVs to smartphones and tablets, and deliver it to you in a unified television broadcast.


New Standards

One of the three standards that received approval is the ATSC 3.0 Link Layer Protocol. Bear with us here, because this might go full geek for a bit.  For those familiar with the protocols used to make the Internet work, the standards that deliver websites from servers in the cloud to your browser at home, you’ll recognize the term Link Layer as the lowest layer in the Internet Protocol Suite, more typically referred to as TCP/IP. As it turns out, ATSC 3.0 Link Layer Protocol serves the same purpose for digital broadcasts as its namesake does for Internet communication. It is responsible for moving data between the network layer and the physical layer or the hardware itself.  On the sending side data moves from the network layer to the physical layer to be sent out as a broadcast. On the receiving side in your TV set at home, it is also responsible for moving data from the physical layer to the network layer so it can be processed.

Two other standards also approved were both Audio and Video Watermark Emission standards. As you would probably guess, they specify the audio and video watermark encoding used in ATSC 3.0 broadcasts. The Audio Watermark Emission Standard (A/334) specifies the audio watermark encoding for use with systems conforming to the ATSC 3.0 family of specifications. And the Video Watermark Emission Standard (A/335) specifies the emission format for video watermarks used by systems that conform to the ATSC 3.0 spec. Audio watermarks are signals embedded in the audio portion of the broadcast, typically inaudible, they are primarily used to identify ownership of a copyright. Video watermarks are more obvious, but the ATSC spec places them in an ancillary stream so they can survive any issues in video compression, transcoding or transmission.  The two streams are brought together on your TV.

This week, the ATSC Technology Group 3 members also began the voting process to elevate three other ATSC Candidate Standards to the elevated Proposed Standard status.  If they were a bill on Capitol Hill, this would be the last step before ATSC member approval.  The three are:


A/332 Service Announcement - More Info

The Service Announcement function enables ATSC 3.0 Service providers to describe the ATSC 3.0 Services that they make available. From a user’s point of view, the Service Announcement function enables an on-screen Service Guide that can be seen as an entry point to discover ATSC 3.0 services and to select services. Service Announcement provides descriptions of the content offerings and also may provide a filtering capability based on user preferences and content properties, such as the presence or absence of captioning, interactive enhancements, video formats (3D, SD, HD, UD), audio formats (stereo, 5.1, immersive), caption formats (IMSC1 text or image), content advisory ratings, genre, accessible audio tracks, alternate languages, etc. In the case of scheduled services, Service Announcement also provides information about the date and time each offering is scheduled to be broadcast.


A/333 Service Usage Reporting - More info

A Service that captures consumption information for a streaming A/V channel. The Service identifies a reporting interval during which a stream is accessed, the time the stream access started and the time the stream access ended. If any Applications are active during the report interval, it also records when the Applications are active (whether on a primary device or a “second screen”, companion device), including the Application Identifier, the time the Application started being active, and the time it stopped being active.


A/343 Captions and Subtitles - More info

The title pretty much says it all. This defines how content providers can embed subtitles and captions which include not Latin based languages.  

We’re all pulling for these guys to get their shot and be signed into full committee approval.



 

 

 

Download Episode #760

Reader Comments (2)

The Nest thermostat is FULLY programmable using the Nest app for a day of the week, time of day and termperature desired. Turn the learning mode off, by the way. Been using one since they came out and love it for setting the AC/heat not to run during the high demand rate periods from our electric utility among other uses.

October 7, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterStu

Hi guys, just wanted to make a quick correction about the August Lock. You stated that it goes "over" your existing lock and their is no installing parts. You do actually have to remove the inside component of the existing lock. It does not go "over" the inside thumb turner. You take that inside part off, and the august has to be screwed into the outer portion of the existing deadbolt. August then has the necessary internal parts to turn the lock based on the included parts and the requirements of the lock.

This makes it problematic for apartments or doors that have the handle and deadbolt integrated with each other. There is a device that is exactly how you describe that actually does go directly over your existing internal hardware and is fastened to the door via command strips. It's called the Sesame, by Candy House and can be found here: https://www.candyhouse.co

I like this method because it truly does not require any tampering with the existing locking mechanism. I've had mine for about a year and a half and I love it, recently moved to an apartment where the deadbolt is tied into the handle and would not work with an August Lock.

October 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoel

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