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CES 2016: Broadcast TV Won’t Be Left Out Of HDR Revolution

Live 4K HDR demos hit CES show floor; IP features shown at suite 1/08/2016 11:15:00 AM Eastern

High dynamic range (HDR) video won’t be limited to over-the-top streaming services or Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.

Two local TV stations are using next-generation ATSC 3.0 standards to beam 4K HDR video to Samsung and LG TVs on the CES show floor in the first-ever public demos of HDR broadcasting.

Meantime, at a Wynn suite, the Sinclair Broadcast Group and the Pearl TV consortium of station owners are demonstrating a suite of capabilities enabled by the IP-based digital broadcast standard. The features are seen as making over-the-air broadcasters more competitive with pay-TV providers.

The IP-based capabilities include the ability of TV stations to give consumers a choice between watching the overtime portion of a sports game or watching a regularly scheduled TV show. The groups also demonstrated the ability of future ATSC 3.0 converter boxes to distribute their IP-based streams via Wi-Fi throughout the house, enabling consumers to watch over-air stations on their tablet or smartphone from ay room in the house or in the yard. The broadcasts could also be sent to Wi-Fi-equipped smart TVs, turning the box into a whole-home converter box.

An ATSC 3.0 receiver chip could also be placed inside an over-the-top (OTT) settop box that could double as an ATSC 3.0 converter box and display local TV channels in a menu alongside OTT services.

Because ATSC 3.0 broadcasts will be IP-based, extensive information and photos associated with a live TV show could be pulled from the cloud via a home broadband network for display on an ATSC 3.0 TV.

ATSC 3.0 proponents also cite a variety of additional enhancements enabled by ATSC 3.0, including better in-building coverage with indoor antennas, ability to receive broadcasts in vehicles moving at high speeds, and extended range via the ability to broadcast a signal from multiple towers at a time in a geographic market.

TV stations could also band together to create a nationwide network of towers that delivers national entertainment services that automakers could use to deliver audio and video services to their car buyers.

The Sinclair Broadcast Group own 174 TV stations in 80 markets reaching 39 percent of the U.S. population. The Pearl consortium operates around 200 stations, and the two groups combined reach 80 percent of the U.S. population.

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) is “on target to finalize the entire suite of ATSC 3.0 standards for next-gen television broadcasting this year,” ATSC president Mark Richer told TWICE.

The 4K HDR demos and feature demos were based on ATSC 3.0 candidate standards approved by ATSC membership in 2015 and being used in field tests before adoption as final standards.

"CES marks the beginning of an important new phase for ATSC 3.0 as manufacturers and broadcasters begin demonstrating products and services based on the core ATSC 3.0 candidate standards adopted last year, Richer said. “The lion’s share of the standard has been completed and remaining items, like audio and interactivity, will be done in the months ahead. We’re on target to finalize the entire suite of ATSC 3.0 standards for next-gen television broadcasting this year.”

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