LG field-tests 4K "Futurecast" using ATSC 3.0

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/scyther5)

4K adoption is starting to grow as supported hardware drops in price and content becomes available in glorious fidelity with over four times the amount of pixels as current "Full HD" hardware allows to be displayed. Although IPTV services like Netflix are delivering some of their library via internet streaming; a large amount of viewers still rely on broadcast TV. 

LG has announced over-the-air field tests of 4K broadcasts using the ATSC 3.0 standard. Using an experimental license in the 6-MHz channel from the FCC, tests being conducted in Cleveland since mid-May are using a TV transmitter provided by Tribune Broadcasting’s WJW-TV. 

John Cifani, chief engineer of WJW-TV, said: "We’re pleased to play an integral role in the future of TV broadcast technology, putting an unused transmitter and vacant channel to use so that the proposed transmission system could be tested throughout the day and night. These initial field test results show that ATSC 3.0 technologies are real and can deliver real benefits to broadcasters and viewers alike." 

Under the marketable name of "Futurecast" the collaborative efforts between LG, GatesAir and Zenith hopes to develop the next-generation ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard which is being standardized by the Advanced Television Systems Committee.

Field test results show that our ATSC 3.0-enabling technology performs exactly as expected. 

Initial results are promising. 75,000 pieces of data have been collected by engineers in the North Coast which have shown that the current ATSC 3.0 standard as it is now will be able to deliver 4K Ultra HD content and two robust mobile TV streams in a single 6-Megahertz channel; while optimizing indoor reception and offering unparalleled spectrum efficiency. 

The current standard has shown great finesse in a variety of test scenarios and environments - from viewing in fast-moving vehicles, to a range of diverse locations ranging from downtown’s concrete canyons to suburban and rural areas 50 miles from the transmitter. 

Dr. Skott Ahn, President and Chief Technology Officer at LG Electronics, said: "Our technology is designed to fully meet broadcaster requirements for ATSC 3.0 and advance the goal of moving rapidly to next-generation broadcasting. Whether watching from deep inside a building or along the Lake Erie lakefront, field test results show that our ATSC 3.0-enabling technology performs exactly as expected." 

Key benefits of the ATSC 3.0 technologies include: 

  • Data throughput increases of 30 percent and improved multipath performance (compared with the current DTV standard) for fixed and portable TV reception; 
  • Enhanced indoor TV signal penetration for mobile reception thanks to flexible system parameter choices; 
  • Advanced modes for delivery of very high data rates and very robust transmission capabilities; 
  • State-of-the-art error correction coding and signal constellations; 
  • Future Extension Frames to support evolution of future broadcast systems; 
  • Improved single frequency network service. 

Another key advantage of ATSC 3.0 is for improved emergency broadcasts which can leverage AWARN (the Advanced Warning and Response Network) to deliver broadcast emergency announcements to TV sets and mobile devices containing rich media, maps, graphics, video, text, and audio. 

Do you think ATSC 3.0 will help the uptake of 4K? Let us know in the comments.

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