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TeamCast Helps NAB and CTA Conduct Extended ATSC 3.0 Field Tests

Following the recent release of the ATSC 3.0 standards at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2018, final field tests are being conducted to ensure they meet broadcasters’ expectations for advanced digital terrestrial services.

The tests are being conducted by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in conjunction with the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) using transmitting equipment from TeamCast, a digital TV equipment maker headquartered in Rennes, France. The tests are taking place at Cleveland, Ohio in the US, using a terrestrial station owned by Tribune Broadcasting’s WJW-TV under an experimental broadcast license from the country’s regulator FCC (Federal Communications Commission).

This is the latest of two testing phases since 2016 while the standards have been being finalized, with the overall objective of collecting in-field “real world” performance data for ATSC 3.0 transmissions. The first phase 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 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). The exciter is the core part of the DTV transmitter, with its main function being to modulate the signal on the carrier in accordance with technical standards. It also reduces nonlinear distortion from the circuitry.

The trial has been extended to include data from a “real world” representative head-end system installation. In addition, NAB has asked for some “advanced configuration profiles” of ATSC 3.0. The ATSC 3.0 standard includes a large number of possible modes in order to provide maximum flexibility for broadcasters’ terrestrial network spectrum usage. These advanced modes include Multiple Physical Layer Pipes (MultiPLPs), Multiple Sub-Frames (Time Division Multiplexing – TDM) and 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 these “advanced configuration profiles” within a new software release for its VORTEX II exciter, now supplied to NAB. As part of this the VORTEX II exciter has been 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 final 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.”
Lynn Claudy, Senior VP Technology for the NAB.
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