Our June meeting was a joint collaboration of SBE Chapter 37, Washington DC Audio Engineering Society, and Washington DC Section of SMPTE. We kept business for each organization brief to accommodate the program in reasonable fashion.
This month, Neal Roberts, Manager Broadcast Marketing and Licensing for Dolby Laboratories delved into the AC4 broadcast audio standard of the Next Generation ATSC 3.0 system. Highlights include seamless end-to-end workflow from live, through post, to air and streaming. Immersive audio in 3D space, dialog enhancement, intelligent loudness, descriptive services, personalized streams, and more efficient compression are further features.
Perry Priestly, CEO of Anywave Transmission, started the program with a short timeline and overview of the ATSC 3.0 system. He also brought a commercial working exciter and analysis software to show how far along ATSC 3.0 has progressed—literally ready for prime time.
In addition to the in-depth talk, there were hands-on encoder / decoder hardware demonstrations. This timely and exciting presentation was of interest to a wide range of production, IT, broadcast, and content creation professionals.
It’s hard to believe our existing digital TV standard is more than 20 years old. As of this year’s NAB show, the next generation television broadcast standard, ATSC 3.0, has become omnipresent and mainstream. Mid-2017 will likely see official completion of the ATSC 3.0 standard, with FCC approval to allow broadcasters to use the new system expected later this year. South Korea is starting official broadcasts this month in preparation for live UHD coverage of the 2018 winter Olympics.
The 3.0 standard is built on an IP backbone and offers much more robust modulation for use on tablets and mobile devices in motion at high speed. It can include 4k video resolution, increased visual dynamic range, higher frame rates and wider color gamut; a “magnitude greater” enhanced audio experience, built in audience measurement, improved accessibility, and enhanced emergency alerting. Development of 3.0 is becoming mature, with several standalone and SFN experimental transmitters and arrays around the country, including one here in Washington, DC operated by Sinclair.
Neal Roberts offers fifteen years of professional product/project management and integration experience in commercial and residential environments. He holds a U.S. patent, is a member of CEDIA, and worked on the Olympic games at Rio, Sochi, and London.
Sandwiches were kindly provided by our friends at Dolby Laboratories. Special thanks to William Harrison and our host WETA for allowing us to use their meeting facilities. We also appreciate the assistance from SBE, SMPTE, and AES volunteers who helped make this meeting a success.