Physical Layer Tutorial Set for SBE at PBS TechCon

ATSC 3.0 and the rapid launch of NextGen Broadcast are the drivers behind the first-ever SBE/PBS TechCon collaborative tutorial day, which takes place Saturday, April 6, 2019 at PBS TechCon, held at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel. Open to anyone eager to learn what ATSC 3.0 means for the future of broadcast, the tutorial takes place the day after TechCon, is affordable ($95 for SBE and PBS members), and open to all. Online registration is now open for the event at bit.ly/SBEatPBS.

Luke FayLuke Fay, senior manager technical standards, Sony Electronics US Technology Standards Office, is involved with the development of the next generation of broadcast television in a variety of standards organizations and their efforts to educate members of the new possibilities available with ATSC 3.0. He is the vice-chair of the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) Technology Group 3 (TG3), chair of ATSC TG3 Specialist Group on Physical Layer and vice-chair of ATSC TG3 Specialist Group on Interactive Environment for ATSC 3.0.

In his session, 3.0 PHY, Luke will provide a concise tutorial on the physical layer (PHY). The fundamentals of transmission change dramatically compared to 8-VSB or any other more traditional broadcast modulation scheme. Originally, this alone was the motivation for replacing ATSC 1.0. It is the Physical Layer (PHY) that enables single-frequency networks and mobile reception. Beyond OFDM, a “bootstrap” signal and Physical Layer pipes (PLPs) empower NextGen (NGBT) over-the-air (OTA) TV to reach receiving devices in an extremely broad set of circumstances and for a multiple of uses.

Make plans to attend SBE at PBS TechCon on Saturday, April 6, 2019, held at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel. Register now: bit.ly/SBEatPBS.

Regulatory Session Announced for SBE at PBS TechCon

ATSC 3.0 and the rapid launch of NextGen Broadcast are the drivers behind the first-ever SBE/PBS TechCon collaborative tutorial day, which takes place Saturday, April 6, 2019 at PBS TechCon, held at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel. Open to anyone eager to learn what ATSC 3.0 means for the future of broadcast, the tutorial takes place the day after TechCon, is affordable ($95 for SBE and PBS members), and open to all. Online registration is now open for the event at bit.ly/SBEatPBS.

Jerald FritzThe regulatory session segment has been confirmed for the event. Jerald Fritz, executive vice president for strategic and legal affairs for ONE Media 3.0, oversees long-term strategic planning and government relations for the company, supporting the adoption and implementation of the broadcast industry’s NextGen transmission standard.

In his session, Fritz will cover NextGen regulatory and contractual deployment requirements. These include simulcasting carriage mandates, program hosting agreement issues for 1.0 and 3.0 stations, government applications and notifications. Meeting these obligations and preserving station cashflow require that broadcast engineers have a good handle on how far ATSC 1.0 content compression can be pushed and at what cost. It’s valuable to have a firm grasp of video quality measurements. Partnering through channel sharing is a big part of broadcasters’ deployment plans. It’s a broadcast engineer’s role to fill in the technical specifications competently in each of these legal arrangements.

Make plans to attend SBE at PBS TechCon on Saturday, April 6, 2019, held at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel. Register now: bit.ly/SBEatPBS.

Launching NextGen Broadcast: An SBE Tutorial at PBS TechCon 2019

ATSC 3.0 and the rapid launch of NextGen Broadcast are the drivers behind the first-ever SBE/PBS TechCon collaborative tutorial day, which takes place Saturday, April 6, 2019 at PBS TechCon, held at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel. Open to anyone eager to learn what ATSC 3.0 means for the future of broadcast, the tutorial takes place the day after TechCon, is affordable ($95 for SBE and PBS members), and open to all. Online registration is now open for this session at bit.ly/SBEatPBS.

PBS TechCon 2019Periodically, broadcast goes through an extensive revamp. The launch of TV, FM, DTV – and now NextGen Broadcast – are pervasive and swift. For decades, the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) has held programs and tutorials to help broadcast professionals build the necessary new skill sets required in our industry. This year, several dozen NextGen stations take to the air. The pace is likely to pick up. Broadcast engineers need to understand the potential of ATSC 3.0 and see what’s under the hood: the architecture, equipment, configurations, and options that go into NextGen. What follows are highlights of the daylong agenda.

– The regulations that dictate the requirements of the transition and technical compliance. These include MVPD notifications, carriage and 1.0 host requirements and agreements. Meeting these obligations and preserving station cashflow require that broadcast engineers have a good handle on how far ATSC 1.0 content compression can be pushed and at what cost. It’s valuable to have a firm grasp of video quality measurements. Partnering is a big part of Pearl’s and many others’ transition plans creating channel shares. It’s a broadcast engineer’s role to competently fill in the technical specifications in each of these legal arrangements.

– Converting a transmitter to 3.0 service and performing the proof-of-performance and acceptance testing will be covered by the engineers that build the transmitters. Further, some studio-to-transmitter links (STL) can be reutilized or upgraded; others cannot. While most stations will start with converting a “big-stick,” many will be looking at extending their coverage and increasing their penetration with the additional boosters that OFDM enables in a way that no other modulation previously used in broadcasting has. We will give you a good foundation for designing (or selecting vendors and partners that can help), planning and building your NextGen distribution system, including single-frequency networks.

– The centerpiece of NextGen is the scheduler. This cannot be understated. You will understand why this is, and we’ll cover the most practical configuration options. Key vendors will address how to use their solutions and explain the tradeoffs and system limitations for each as well as existing workarounds. We will also look at the field measurements of the past and future and how they impact an ultra-flexible system where so many variables are in play.

– Performance. We will cover monitoring the performance of the NextGen system and look at what test equipment, TVs, dongles and first-day hacks are available. These are all critically important to a successful launch. The options are early in their development cycle, and broadcast engineers will be doing a lot of hand-holding and integrations (read that “MacGyvering”).

– Finally, we’ll address some of the issues of adoption, timing, budgeting, project planning and (looking further out), the enhanced content and services that NextGen Broadcasting is designed to enable. Everybody in your world will want to know what NextGen is all about. Some will have overindulged in the hype. Most will have more misunderstandings than real knowledge (we don’t throw out TVs this time). For others, there will be fear, uncertainty and dread. We’ll conclude with what is real and what is not, matching adoption curves with equipment life cycles. We will separate what happens today and what happens further down the road. In particular, we’ll look at what changes in broadcast station architecture and workflows, including digital ad insertion and ad tech, will help move the revenue needle.

We’ll do the best we can to give you what you need. But when the hype becomes real, it is always a big deal. This year, you might want to get support to come to Vegas a couple of days before NAB opens, and join us Saturday, April 6, at the PBS Technology Conference. Register now: bit.ly/SBEatPBS.

Also at TechCon, Another ATSC 3.0 Option
The IEEE Broadcast Technology Society will be hosting the ATSC 3.0 Roadshow at PBS TechCon 2019. BTS will be hosting the ATSC 3.0 training seminar taught by expert Gary Sgrignoli of Meintel, Sgrignoli, and Wallace, the noted digital TV transmission consulting firm. This course will cover the ATSC 3.0 Physical Layer and prepare participants to take the SBE ATSC 3.0 certification exam. Registration and seminar information can be found on bts.ieee.org.

EAS Blue Alert Code Becomes Effective January 18, 2019

By Larry Wilkins, CPBE, chair, SBE EAS Advisory Group

In January 2018 the FCC amended its regulations governing the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) to add a new event code, BLU, to allow alert originators to issue an alert whenever a law enforcement officer is injured or killed, missing in connection with his or her official duties, or there is an imminent and credible threat to cause death or serious injury to law enforcement officers.

Delivery of Blue Alerts over EAS will be implemented January 18, 2019.

Sage Endec users: Update firmware will be available next week.

DasDec users: The BLU event code is in the v4.0 software update.

Trilithic/Viavi: includes BLU event code in its v18.10 software update.

Gorman-Redlich: has a update, contact their office for details

As a reminder the BLU event code is in the “voluntary” list, that is, it is not one of the FCC required relay alerts (EAN, NPT, RMT). Stations can elect to relay these alerts or not, with guidance from their state and local EAS plan.

Broadcasters and Cable Operators should watch for information updates from your SECC (State Emergency Communication Committee).

Blue Alerts over WEA takes effect July 18, 2019.

Read the FCC ruling.

Senate Moves READI Act Forward

By Larry Wilkins, CPBE, chair, SBE EAS Advisory Group

Just before the end of the year, the Senate passed the READI (Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement) Act, a bipartisan bill meant to improve the Emergency Alert System, extend it to new platforms, and avoid a repeat of the false alarm nuclear missile strike alert in Hawaii that drew an FCC investigation.

While most of the points in the bill deal with the creation and origination of EAS alerts, one item is of interest to broadcasters: It would allow broadcasters to repeat presidential and FEMA alerts, something they can’t do now.

The bill still must be passed by the House and approved by the president, after which it will be sent to the FCC and FEMA to work out details of implementation, followed by an FCC notice of rule changes. So, it will be some time before any changes to the way EAS Alerts are created and/or distributed.

The SBE will continue to issue updates as the bill moves through the approval process.