ATSC 3.0 fixed and mobile performance field tested

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019
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ATSC 3.0 Field Tests Prove Out High-Quality Video to Fixed and Mobile Devices

  • Advanced Compression (SHVC), Multiplexing (Layered Division), and Technicolor SL-HDR1(High Dynamic Range) Together Demonstrate Impressive Improvements

HUNT VALLEY, Md. — ONE Media 3.0, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SBGI), today announced a series of live broadcast tests conducted from August 19-22 with partners Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), InterDigital and Technicolor. The team validated the integration and quantified the performance of key advanced components of ATSC 3.0, which together are instrumental in enabling Sinclair’s “Mobile First” objectives for ATSC 3.0 distributed commercial video services. The tests demonstrated noteworthy quality enhancements to mobile and fixed receivers including flawless delivery across a converged broadcast/broadband platform.

Advanced compression and multiplexing capabilities were combined with state-of-the-art quality enhancements to deliver exceptional HDR high definition services to mobile and fixed receivers simultaneously. Using Technicolor’s SL-HDR1, SHVC (Scalable HEVC) and LDM (Layer Division Multiplex), base layer Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) services provided robust mobile reception while fixed receivers combined the SL-HDR1 enhancement layer yielding HDR quality HD services. Both mobile and fixed reception experiments were conducted converging both broadcast and Internet delivery platforms

Testing involved simultaneous delivery of multiple multiplexed signals to mobile devices. In one of the tests, four independent SHVC video services were carried by two LDM PLPs (Physical Layer Pipes) simultaneously broadcast over a single 6 MHz channel, and the four LDM mobile PLP services were successfully received on various ‘on-the-move’ devices in mobile vehicles throughout the greater Baltimore metro area. Other mobile and fixed devices received the signal of both LDM PLPs showing the four services at 1080p HD HDR. Sinclair live television feeds from TBD Network and Stadium Sports Network, as well as a challenging reel of sports, film and entertainment TV programs were used to stress the SHVC-based system.

Additional live field tests included hybrid delivery using LTE links. While 540p video was delivered directly through ATSC 3.0 broadcast, 1080p HD HDR was made possible with the enhancement layer delivered through the LTE link during the mobile reception. Seamless switching of reception between ATSC 3.0 broadcast and broadband was also shown ensuring the best entertainment experience for the end-users.

Additional experiments targeted a combination of 720p mobile + 4K UHD HDR fixed reception. The nearly ‘transparent’ results derived from the SDR based 720p and 4k UHD HDR enhancement layer support some unique use cases otherwise not possible.

“InterDigital R&I is pleased to have played a leading role in Sinclair’s recent ATSC 3.0 field test in Baltimore. It is exciting to see our shared vision for a flexible, high-quality layered video approach based on SHVC, SL-HDR1 and LDM being commercially validated, and endorsed by Sinclair as key enabling technology for their high-density mobile + fixed HD/UHD/HDR broadcast service,” adds Alan Stein, Vice President Technology at InterDigital.

Sung-Ik Park, a project leader for ETRI said, “We are quite pleased that key advanced features of ATSC 3.0 were successfully tested by Sinclair/ONE Media. Among the many unique capabilities of the Next Gen standard is the mechanism to converge broadcast and broadband seamlessly which will be an excellent enhancement in the 5G era.”

For all experiments, Technicolor Intelligent Tone Management (ITM) technology was used to convert source content from SDR to HDR, using equipment provided by Cobalt Digital.

“We have been active in live production over the past several years with Advanced HDR by Technicolor. These successful tests were another positive validation of how our set of innovative and cost-efficient HDR technologies combined with ATSC 3.0 features can help Sinclair/ONE Media bring new value to its viewers and meet the high expectations they have today when consuming content,” said Thomas Bohan, Head of HDR Program at Technicolor.

In addition to key partners ETRI, InterDigital and Technicolor, commercial vendors Kai Media, CleverLogic, AGOS, LowaSIS, ATBIS and Cobalt Digital supported this field trial.

“It is essential that the mature state of the ATSC standard allow all of its key technical features to be used to drive real business opportunities,” said Mark Aitken, President of ONE Media 3.0. “Sinclair’s ‘Mobile First’ initiative continues to drive an understanding of the compelling, high quality services that we can offer. These field activities were aimed at underscoring that we have both the technologies and business objectives that can realize and sustain substantial future value for video services.”