FUTURECAST broadcast system for ATSC 3.0 on show at NAB2014

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
LG Electronics logo

FUTURECAST™ Next-Gen TV Broadcast System Delivers Robust 4K, Mobile Transmission for ATSC 3.0

  • FUTURECAST hardware ready for over-the-air trials with cooperating broadcasters this summer

LAS VEGAS — Representing a leap forward in the race to develop the next-generation terrestrial broadcast system, next week will mark the first public demonstration of the robust transmission capabilities of the revolutionary new FUTURECAST™ Universal Terrestrial Broadcast System.

For the first time, broadcasters attending the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention will see how FUTURECAST will deliver Ultra High-Definition 4K content and two robust mobile TV streams in a single 6-Megahertz channel, while optimizing indoor reception and offering unparalleled spectrum efficiency.

A leading contributor to the optimal next-generation physical layer solution at the heart of the next-generation ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard, FUTURECAST will be demonstrated in the GatesAir booth (N609) in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Underscoring the rapid pace of its development, over-the-air trials using real world FUTURECAST hardware are planned with cooperating broadcasters for this summer.

The FUTURECAST Universal Terrestrial Broadcasting System is designed to provide the optimized combination of broadcasting capabilities for fixed, portable and mobile use. Flexible parameters allow broadcasters to mix diverse services within a single RF channel with maximum efficiency. Next-gen broadcasting services enabled by FUTURECAST range from deep indoor handheld reception to high-speed mobile reception to Ultra HDTV for the ultimate home entertainment experience.

“FUTURECAST is designed to fully meet broadcasters’ requirements for the ATSC 3.0 physical layer and advances the goal of moving rapidly to next-gen broadcasting,” said Dr. Skott Ahn, President and Chief Technology Officer, LG Electronics, co-developer of the FUTURECAST system. “Because it’s a complete solution that optimizes the inter-related aspects of the system, FUTURECAST can help accelerate the ATSC process.”

Rich Redmond, GatesAir’s Chief Product Officer, said FUTURECAST’s developers “share broadcasters’ sense of urgency” in advancing rapidly toward the next-generation broadcast standard. He put the FUTURECAST ATSC 3.0 physical layer system into context: “In light of the rapidly evolving media and regulatory landscape, FUTURECAST represents technology breakthroughs that will give broadcasters the transmission technology needed to support new business models and compete effectively in the 21st Century,” he said.

Expected to redefine TV broadcasting for decades to come, the overall next-generation broadcast television system will require higher capacity to deliver Ultra-High-Definition (4K) services, robust reception on mobile devices and improved spectrum efficiency, according to the ATSC.

FUTURECAST was co-developed by LG Electronics, its U.S. R&D subsidiary Zenith, and GatesAir as the foundation of next-generation terrestrial broadcasting in the United States and around the world.

Key elements of the FUTURECAST system include:

  • Design to both increase data throughput by at least 30 percent and improve multipath performance (compared with the current DTV standard) for fixed and portable TV reception;
  • Energy-saving features for consumer receivers and enhanced indoor TV signal penetration for mobile reception thanks to flexible system parameter choices;
  • Advanced modes for delivery of very high data rates or very robust transmission capabilities;
  • State-of-the-art error correction coding and signal constellations;
  • Future Extension Frames to support evolution of future broadcast systems; and,
  • Improved single frequency network service.

Designed for easy extension to various current and future transport formats, FUTURECAST optimizes efficiency for the most-used data formats (Internet Protocol, Transport Stream) via customized stream compression.
The system supports single-frequency networks and/or multiple transmitters, and its use of a single RF transmission’s flexible physical layer profile assures optimum quality of service. The extensible new system is designed to support evolution to future broadcast systems even beyond ATSC 3.0.

FUTURECAST’s superior RF approach addresses the co-channel and adjacent-channel interference challenges related to the anticipated UHF spectrum repacking.

The FUTURECAST Universal Terrestrial Broadcasting System is the latest collaboration among LG, Zenith and GatesAir (formerly Harris Broadcast), co-inventors of the transmission system behind the ATSC A/153 Mobile Digital TV Standard, adopted by the industry in 2009. Zenith invented the core transmission system at the heart of today’s ATSC A/53 Digital Television Standard, approved by the Federal Communications Commission in 1996.