In 1995, the DTV Standard (A/53) was approved by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC). Since that time, the committee has successfully extended the system with new functionality such as the Mobile DTV Standard (A/153) and Non-Real-Time Content Delivery (A/103). The emerging evolutionary step — dubbed the “ATSC 2.0” standard — will enable new functionality, including non-real-time transmission, advanced video compression, enhanced service guides, audience measurement and conditional access.
ATSC 2.0 will provide interactive capability by creating connections between live TV and Internet content, as well as live TV and non-real-time content, through triggers and objects in the broadcast stream. Broadcasters will be able to insert interactive elements into the broadcast stream. Triggers cause the content to be activated, whether delivered in the stream or obtained via Internet. These enhancements are backwards-compatible.
ATSC is also looking further ahead, planning for terrestrial broadcast television’s next big development. This look includes transitioning to an “ATSC 3.0” system that will provide even more services to viewers, but requires a clean break from first-generation DTV system technology.
Broadcasting is similar to other industries; technology leads the way and is the impetus for major transformation. A change will be needed to adapt to expected technological advances. So, while working on the backwards-compatible ATSC 2.0 enhancements, the committee is also looking down the road to ATSC 3.0, a revolutionary OTA transmission system expected to emerge within the next decade.