Extended ATSC 3.0 field tests conducted by NAB and CTA in Cleveland powered by TeamCast

Vortex II in TX

The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) & the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) launched in spring 2016 ATSC 3.0 field testing in Cleveland (Ohio – US), using a terrestrial station owned by Tribune Broadcasting’s WJW-TV under an experimental broadcast license from the FCC.

Since 2016, two testing phases have been conducted with the general objective of collecting in-field “real world” performance data for ATSC 3.0 transmissions. The first phase was focused on a VHF test plan covering outdoor, indoor and mobile receiving conditions. The second phase prioritizes ATSC 3.0 broadcast transmission in UHF using basic ATSC 3.0 configuration modes and waveforms. TeamCast and NAB worked jointly to gather highly accurate data of ATSC 3.0 performance during these tests. As a key part of the testing, TeamCast supplied its first generation of ATSC 3.0 exciters (VORTEX 1 and exTra3.0).

As this trial authorization has been extended, NAB will implement a complete and advanced “real world” representative head-end system installation. In addition, NAB has expressed the need for testing some “advanced configuration profiles” of ATSC 3.0. The ATSC 3.0 standard contains a large number of possible modes in order to provide the maximum flexibility for Broadcasters’ terrestrial network spectrum usage. Some of these modes are Multiple Physical Layer Pipes (Multi- PLPs), Multiple Sub-Frames (Time Division Multiplexing – TDM) as well as Layered Division Multiplex (LDM). All these possible modes have been included within the ATSC 3.0 physical layer standard.

In order to meet the new requirements of testing for NAB and CTA, TeamCast has implemented all these new “advanced configuration profiles” within a new software release onto its VORTEX II exciter, now provided to NAB (TeamCast second generation of DualCast ATSC 1.0/3.0 rack exciter). The VORTEX II exciter has been successfully integrated with a Comark transmitter at the Cleveland test site and is ready to operate any of these new advanced ATSC 3.0 modes as required for this new phase of advanced ATSC 3.0 testing.

“With the recent announcement of the release of the ATSC 3.0 suite of standards at CES 2018, ATSC 3.0 is now real and these field tests we are sponsoring with the Consumer Technology Association aim to demonstrate that ATSC 3.0 meets broadcasters’ expectations as being the most advanced service platform. TeamCast is a great partner in this test process and the use of the TeamCast exciter is critical to successfully evaluating the capabilities of this new broadcast technology” stated Lynn Claudy, Senior VP Technology for the NAB.

“We’re excited to continue our partnership with NAB, highlighting unique capabilities brought with our latest generation of ATSC 1.0/ATSC 3.0 exciter supporting now LDM waveform” states Eric Pinson, Business Unit Manager at TeamCast. “This constitutes again a clear recognition of our experience and our leadership in supporting early tests and trials for this emerging standard” adds Eric.

TeamCast VORTEX II comes as the second generation of DualCast ATSC 1.0/3.0 rack exciter designed by TeamCast. The very last software release allows Broadcasters to conduct field trials of the advanced configuration profiles including Multi-PLPs, Multi-Subframes and LDM waveform. VORTEX II features specific functionalities in order to ease the integration within existing Transmitters which constitutes a unique solution to upgrade transmitters from ATSC 1.0 to ATSC 3.0.


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