The United States is proposing ATSC 3.0 to the International Telecommunication Union as an international digital broadcast standard. It is the first step in the evaluation process for worldwide acceptance of the next-generation terrestrial transmission standard, although encouraging adoption may prove another matter. The first 40 television markets to adopt the standard in the United States have been announced.

The United States delegation has proposed ATSC 3.0 to a working part of study group 6 of the ITU radio communications sector, which develops and maintains worldwide recommendations. It will be considered at its meeting in July.

Developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee, the ATSC 3.0 standard has been adopted in both the United States and the Republic of Korea. It was actively supported by the South Korean government delegation, with significant assistance from the Korean Electronics and Telecommunication Research Institute.

The suite of voluntary technical standards and recommended practices represents very significant enhancements from the original ATSC 1.0 standard adopted in 1996. It will provide an alternative to other digital terrestrial television standards including the European DVB-T, ISDB-T used in Japan and Brazil, and the Chinese DTMB platform.

In offering the new standard as part of an existing recommendation for second-generation digital platforms, the United States noted that the ATSC 3.0 standard is designed to deliver improvements in performance, functionality and efficiency so substantial to warrant implementation of a non-backwards-compatible system.

The terrestrial transmission standard, which uses Internet Protocol as part of its design, can deliver improved spectrum efficiency, enhanced quality for audio and video services, robust mobile reception on a wide range of devices, and interactive capabilities.

Jerald Fritz of ONE Media 3.0 presented the proposal on behalf of the United States delegation. “The Next Gen transmission standard will provide consumers with a host of new services and expand opportunities for broadcasters and service providers around the world,” he said, urging rapid adoption by the ITU. “By integrating broadcast and broadband services, ATSC 3.0 also can be part of the 5G transmission ecosystem for non-television data transmission services.”

The ATSC 3.0 standard was heavily promoted at the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas, with more than 30 companies and organizations exhibiting its various features.

“It was truly gratifying to see the enthusiasm for ATSC 3.0 and its myriad capabilities,” said ATSC President Mark Richer.

A broad coalition of broadcast television station groups, including both network owned-and-operated stations and affiliates, as well as public broadcasters, announced plans to deploy ATSC 3.0 in 40 television markets in the United States by the end of 2020.

A range of compatible reception devices are expected to be released, with CES 2020 in January expected to exhibit products including 4K Ultra HD televisions, gateway receivers and portable devices.