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Zenith and Futurecast Test ATSC 3.0 Broadcasts in Wisconsin

LG's Zenith division, as well as the ATSC and Gates Air, recently completed a second round of test broadcasts in Madison, Wisc. to verify the format's reliability.


Zenith and Futurecast Test ATSC 3.0 Broadcasts in Wisconsin
Members of the Futurecast, Zenith and Gates Air engineering team looking at test equipment on a mobile cart during the recent test of an ATSC 3.0 broadcast in Madison Wisc.
Robert Archer · October 24, 2014

Recently a small group of broadcasters and video experts took part in a test of the Advanced Television Systems Committee’s (ATSC) 3.0 format in Wisconsin’s capital city of Madison.

WKOW-TV conducted a second round of real-world broadcast field testing utilizing Futurecast’s Universal Terrestrial Broadcasting System.

Futurecast is a contributor to the optimal “physical layer” solution at the heart of the next-generation ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard, which is being standardized by 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.

Results from initial field tests completed in August—-the first over-the-air broadcast trials of a compete ATSC 3.0 Physical Layer system—-showed how Futurecast can deliver 4K Ultra HD content and two robust mobile TV streams in a single 6MHz channel, while optimizing indoor reception and spectrum efficiency.

The summer field test in Madison collected nearly 50,000 pieces of data from scores of reception sites, including challenging reception areas inside buildings and fast moving vehicles, and at locations ranging from the downtown area to 50 miles from the transmitter. The recent follow-up tests evaluated the performance of hardware and software enhancements, and it shared the experience with members of the broadcast and TV industries.

“It’s exciting to play a role in the establishment of next-gen standards that will usher in the future of television,” says Brady Dreasler, chief engineer for Quincy Group, parent company of WKOW-TV in Madison. “Based on what I’ve seen in these Futurecast tests, the new standard will enable exciting new business models for broadcasters and exciting new services for viewers.”

Related: New ATSC 2.0 Will Change the Way We Watch TV

The three-hour Futurecast broadcasts on WKOW’s Ch. 26 (PSIP 27) began at 1 a.m. and it allowed outside observers, which included representatives of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, to see what’s possible with the new transmission system.

The Futurecast Universal Terrestrial Broadcasting System is designed to provide a combination of broadcasting capabilities for fixed, portable and mobile use.

“Initial testing results show the promise of the ATSC 3.0 standard to redefine television broadcasting. The Futurecast system 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,” states Dr. Skott Ahn, president and chief technology officer, LG Electronics, co-developer of the Futurecast system.

Rich Redmond, chief product officer for Futurecast co-developer Gates Air, adds, “Futurecast, which we first demonstrated for the broadcast industry at April’s NAB Show, represents technology breakthroughs that will give broadcasters the transmission technology needed to support new business models, including mobile and LTE network offload, and compete effectively in the 21st Century.”

Expected to redefine TV broadcasting, the overall next-generation ATSC 3.0 broadcast television system will require higher capacity to deliver 4K UltraHD services, robust reception on mobile devices and improved spectrum efficiency, according to the ATSC.



  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at [email protected]

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