Jeffrey Krauss, president of Telecommunications and Technology Policy, in Rockville, Md., once again dives into the implications of ATSC 3.0 for cable operators.
In his latest CED magazine article,“Capital Currents: What is a ‘Good Quality’ ATSC 3.0 Television Signal?,” Krauss compares what is considered a good quality ATSC 1.0 signal with a good quality next-gen DTV standard signal.
Krauss points out that while determining what constitutes a good ATSC 1.0 signal is rather straightforward, the same cannot be said for ATSC 3.0.
Unlike with ATSC 1.0, the new standard is designed to give television stations what’s often metaphorically referred to as knobs to customize the type of signal that gets delivered over the air, allowing broadcasters with different business models to deliver signal strength, robustness and coverage that best suit what they are trying to accomplish.
For example, one broadcaster might choose to deliver 4K service for viewers to watch in their living rooms and forego the robustness that another station would deem appropriate for its business plan focused on mobile television service. Or, there may be a different mix of robustness, coverage and service altogether that’s appropriate for what a third broadcaster wishes to accomplish.
This new flexibility afforded broadcasters via ATSC 3.0 raises “a whole raft of new cable carriage questions, including what constitutes a ‘signal of good quality,’” Krauss writes.
The article offers much to think about.
One question I wish Krauss would have explored is what are the implications for cable carriage if a broadcaster delivers an ATSC 3.0 4K signal directly to a cable headend via fiber optic cable, for instance, but chooses to reserve its over-the-air signal in the market, which includes the headend, for delivery of multiple robust, but lower-res, mobile channels.
Will the cable operator, in this case, be more likely to pass the 4K signal to deliver the highest-possible quality signal to its subscribers or simply choose to pass the lower-res mobile signal on its cable system?
I don’t know, but I sure would like to find out, and I think it’s a safe bet broadcasters would like to know as well.