ITU Adopts ATSC 3.0 as Recommended International Digital TV Standard

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The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the United Nations' specialised agency for ICT, has adopted ATSC 3.0 as a recommended digital broadcast standard, making it possible for countries around the world to evaluate and use it. The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) announced the news on 2 January 2020.

An IP-based digital broadcast standard, ATSC 3.0 is among the first of its kind in the world and was developed by industry experts seeking to create a broadcast system based on the same Internet Protocol language that OTT services use.

ATSC 3.0 is designed to transmit data ranging from 4K Ultra HD to robust mobile signals, which enables new business models and improves the viewing experience. By enhancing TV broadcasts and opening potential revenue opportunities, ATSC 3.0 affords broadcasters flexibility and adaptability in their businesses.

ATSC is an international committee with members from about 130 member organisations representing the broadcast, broadcast equipment, motion picture, consumer electronics, computer, cable, satellite and semiconductor industries. Taking a leadership role in the ITU process were ATSC members Sinclair Broadcast Group, ONE Media 3.0 and ETRI (Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, South Korea).

“With initial US deployments in place, we’re anticipating the first announcements of consumer receivers for the US market in the coming days. The decision by the ITU is a positive sign for the future of digital terrestrial broadcasting,” said ATSC Board Chairman Lynn Claudy, Senior VP of Technology for the National Association of Broadcasters.

“The system is currently commercially deployed in South Korea where audiences have been receiving high-quality Ultra HD video and audio through ATSC 3.0 broadcasts since 2017. US commercial deployment begins in earnest this year,” said Madeleine Noland, President of ATSC.

Their next step is to update the ITU Digital Handbook with best practices for implementation of ATSC 3.0, and ATSC members are also prepared to continue supporting international standards efforts, including through the new ATSC Planning Team 6 on Global Recognition of ATSC 3.0. This team will undertake strategic communications with international standards development organisations, presence at tradeshows and conferences, proposals for updates to ATSC 3.0 and so on.