ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV, Could Also Make Radio Even Better





ATSC 3.0 web photo

ATSC 3.0, the new global broadcasting standard primarily used to deliver over-the-air NextGen TV, could also power radio to reach more people. 

Liam Power, One Media’s senior systems engineer, and Skip Flenniken, Sinclair’s vice president of technology business development, break down in a TV Tech article how ATSC 3.0 could be used to enhance radio signals, since the standard is designed to deliver internet bits, regardless of whether they’re video or audio. 

“ATSC 3.0 enables the use of IP (Internet Protocol) as a core part of the standard, allowing enormous flexibility in the potential applications of the specification,” Power and Flenniken wrote. “As a result, we can deliver audio services through a remarkably efficient, far-reaching and modern system.”

While most people associate ATSC 3.0 with over-the-air TV, the technology holds potential benefits to radio. The standard allows radio station signals to stretch further, potentially expanding the base of listeners. The more efficient signal could also mean lower power costs as well as a decreased risk that the signal gets lost. 

Through experimentation, Power and Flenniken said their signal outperformed comparable FM stations in similar locations while using less bandwidth. 

“In our Baltimore tests, we were able to receive the signal out to the Delaware border, to 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania border, and down to Washington. In Detroit, the signal made it into Lansing going west and north past Flint,” Power and Flenniken said.  

The new standard could also be a “lifeboat” for AM stations, which are in jeopardy with some newer cars phasing out AM tuners. 

“[ATSC] 3.0 delivers improved audio quality and reach over traditional AM radio. This, of course, relies on vehicles having ATSC 3.0 tuners in them, but we have reasons to be optimistic on that front,” the pair said. 

With a few tweaks, satellite radio could also reap the benefits of the new standard, according to the report. 

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