At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Abertis Telecom is demonstrating Ultra High Definition Television over a digital terrestrial television network using the DVB-T2 standard. Meanwhile in America, a broadcaster in Baltimore is replacing its transmissions in the ATSC system overnight to trial the second-generation standard.

The test transmission in Barcelona is a collaboration between Abertis Telecom, Spanish Television, the European Broadcasting Union, Sony and others. It will use the second-generation DVB-T2 standard, in the same UHF frequency band currently used for television broadcasting.

The demonstration shows that so-called 4K television, which has four times the resolution of current high-definition television services, is a practical possibility, even over terrestrial transmission networks.

DVB-T2 is already used in the United Kingdom and some other European countries to carry high-definition television services.

KBS in Korea is already experimenting with UHDTV transmissions using the DVB-T2 standard.

Abertis is also separately demonstrating mobile reception using DVB T2-Lite, enabling reception on smartphones, tablets and laptops.

In America, the Federal Communications Commission has granted a six-month experimental broadcast licence to allow a broadcaster in Baltimore to test the DVB-T2 standard.

The FCC has granted WNUV-TV a temporary but renewable licence to operate non-commercial tests. It will replace its ATSC signal overnight with a test DVB-T2 transmission. One of the objectives is to test the ability to support UHDTV within existing 6MHz transmission channels. It will also test other standards such as DVB-NGH for use in broadcasting to mobile devices.

In its application, WNUV said it will work with others in the industry in the trial and says a large number of broadcasters, vendors and standards bodies will participate in the tests.

The station says it will share the results of the tests with the National Association of Broadcasters, the Advanced Television Systems Committee and others. The ATSC is currently looking to develop its own next-generation standard, ATSC 3.0.

The Baltimore CW network affiliate is operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group, which has long pushed for more progressive standards, to support services such as mobile broadcasting, for which the modulation system used by the ATSC standard is not well suited.

With broadcasting frequencies being auctioned off, Sinclair has said the FCC should support the development of a next-generation broadcast standard that would allow television services to improve, not just survive the government push towards wireless broadband.

In its licence application, WNUV said it was seeking to demonstrate to the industry and its leaders that there is a path to more effective distribution of current and future television content to multiple platforms to make best use of television spectrum.