ATSC 3.0 versus DVB-T2

ATSC 3.0 versus DVB-T2

On January 9th, 2018, the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) announced the release of ATSC 3.0 suite of standards, marking a significant milestone in the development of television broadcast systems. Since August 2016, PROGIRA® plan had already implemented ATSC 3.0.  From then in 2016 till now, PROGIRA had several upgrades to keep abreast with new developments as ATSC 3.0 underwent the standardization process. Henceforth ATSC users can rest assured they will receive the best support and crucial features that will make their transition to ATSC 3.0 simple. This is especially important for the early adopters. As PROGIRA plan supports all system standards available globally, you may be curious to know the differences between all the system standards.

The 3 Differences

We asked Technical Director, Mats EK to give us three ‘quick’, yet, fundamental differences, between ATSC 3.0 and DVB-T2:

First and foremost, it is important to remember that ATSC 3.0 and DVB-T2 have many similarities. DVB-T2 is, however, a more “mature” standard while ATSC 3.0 is still at an early stage of industrialization. For this reason, it is more difficult to say in which direction it will develop, and which countries will adopt the standard.  ATSC 3.0 and DVB-T2 both use OFDM and have similar performance and flexibility.

I will limit this brief comparison to just the physical layer, the transmission standard, where some of the differences are:
1. ATSC 3.0 has more options when selecting the MODCOD (Modulation and code rate). In particular, ATSC 3.0 allows the use of 1024 QAM and 4096 QAM, which can carry high data rate 4k UHD content. It remains yet to be seen how useful these options are for terrestrial transmission in the UHF band since it requires high signal levels for an error-free reception. Additionally ATSC 3.0 provides very robust system variants with low bit rate using QPSK modulation. These may provide robust reception to mobile receivers possibly using LDM.

2. LDM or Layer Division Multiplex is a new feature in ATSC 3.0, which make it possible to combine HD programs for rooftop reception and robust mobile reception in a single UHF channel, in an efficient way.

3. Channel Bonding in ATSC 3.0 distributes the content across two RF channels, aimed at carrying high data rate. The implication is receivers with two RF- tuners are required.