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ATSC Addresses ATSC 2.0, M-EAS

Carmel, Ind. — The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) said Tuesday it has formed new implementation teams for the evolving ATSC 2.0 and the Mobile Emergency Alert Systems (M-EAS).

“Today’s announcement is a significant step in the move to expand the capabilities of ATSC broadcast TV. We want to keep the ATSC standard relevant and up-to-date for broadcasters and consumer device manufacturers. The introduction of implementation teams for both ATSC 2.0 and M-EAS underscores our progress and will help drive next-generation technologies toward marketplace introduction,” said ATSC President Mark Richer.

The new implementation teams, including representatives of companies developing enhancements to digital TV broadcast standards, will pursue a range of initiatives from market studies to prototype development and testing.

The backward-compatible ATSC 2.0 standard will feature new capabilities, including Internet-related features, advanced video coding, conditional access and enhanced service guides for TV broadcasters.

ATSC 2.0 also will have the capabilities of the recently approved ATSC A/103 Non-Real-Time (NRT) standard that allows broadcasters to deliver file-based content, including programs and clips to both fixed location and Mobile DTV receivers.

The ATSC said that the new NRT standard will give broadcasters the capability to deliver content that a viewer may watch at their convenience.

“The overarching goal of ATSC 2.0 is to create new value for viewers, consumer electronics manufacturers, and broadcasters. To that end the ATSC 2.0 implementation team provides a venue for industry discussions of issues related to commercialization of the emerging ATSC 2.0 standard. The 2.0 implementation team may address business and operational requirements for the successful rollout of ATSC 2.0, which is nearing final standardization,” Richer explained.

David Siegler of Cox Media will serve as chairman of the ATSC 2.0 implementation team.

ATSC 2.0 is expected to become a Candidate Standard in the second quarter of 2013.

Meanwhile, a Mobile Emergency Alert system was moving toward standardization, sparked by recent disasters. The system provides critical news information through local broadcasters, enabling public safety officials to access an instantaneous means of reaching millions of people at once.

Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath in the Northeast demonstrated the limits of cell phone networks in times of emergency and the life-saving ability of TV broadcasting.

The Mobile EAS will permit a single broadcast to deliver reliable, rich-media alerts to Mobile DTV-equipped devices anywhere, anytime.

The new alerting application developed for M-EAS utilizes existing standards for implementation.

The U.S. broadcast standard for mobile television, the ATSC A/153 Mobile DTV Standard, uses Internet Protocol (IP) at its core. The use of IP allows the new application to be flexible and extensible. Data delivery, non-real-time delivery, and electronic service guides are all included.

“The addition of M-EAS with its alerting capabilities and the accompanying rich-media emergency alerting information is widely considered a compelling application of Mobile DTV. The ATSC M-EAS implementation team provides a venue for industry discussions of issues related to implementation of this exciting enhancement to the A/153 standard,” Richer added.

Jay Adrick of Harris Corporation will serve as chairman of the ATSC M-EAS Implementation Team.