TV broadcasters will be able to deploy many attractive ATSC 3.0 services like interactivity and targeted advertising long before the entire next-generation television standard receives final approval from the Advanced Television Systems Committee and FCC authorization thanks to the efforts of San Diego-based watermarking specialist Verance.
The company next week at the 2016 NAB Show in Las Vegas will demonstrate how television broadcasters can use its open watermarking technology, designed for ATSC 3.0 implementation, with today’s ATSC 1 (A/53) service to open up a world of new possibilities.
“While the broadcast industry waits for ATSC 3.0 to come out, we have a way to deliver some of the benefits of 3.0 in the 1.0 framework,” says Verance CEO Nil Shah.
That method relies on inserting open watermark signaling into an ATSC 1 transmission to deliver to the smart TVs already in viewers’ homes instructions to activate the broadband capabilities of ATSC 3, says Verance EVP and CTO Joe Winograd.
In essence, the watermark triggers an HTML5 run-time environment on TVs.
“All that is needed is a TV to receive the watermark signal and a broadband connection to contact the broadcaster’s servers to receive instructions as to what enhancements are available,” says Winograd. Watermark triggering is available for TV signals delivered over the air, over the top, via cable and from direct to home satellite providers, he adds.
Verance has partnered with Linear Acoustic to make it simple for broadcasters to embed the watermark signaling that’s needed. All that’s required is a field upgrade of the Linear Acoustic Aero audio processor to insert the watermark, making it possible for TV broadcasters to begin delivering advanced ATSC 3.0 services years before they would otherwise become available to the public.
“What we found is there are enough pieces that have been published and are openly specified that you can actually build working systems today,” says Winograd. “In fact, they are systems that can be fielded today that are not reliant on FCC approval of the RF transmission that will constitute ATSC 3.0 broadcasts.”
The open watermarking brings several ATSC 3.0 services to today’s TV broadcast ecosystem, including: personalization capabilities that, among other things, will allow viewers to select dialog in languages not transmitted as part of the program stream; advanced advertising to target individual households; and interactivity to provide access to information to supplement the TV presentation or give viewers real-time feedback to broadcasters via polling.
A Verance press release issued today quotes Pearl TV Executive Director Anne Schelle on the importance of the opportunities watermarking creates: “Open watermarking standards power content discovery, advanced advertising and audience data opportunities across distribution paths. It is a central enabler with the potential to allow local broadcasters to realize substantially increased revenue in the years following broad deployment.”
Verance’s new watermarking technology has been field tested by television stations and shown to work, adds Shah
The company will show its open watermarking in action in the NAB Show’s ATSC Pavilion in the south upper hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center (SU15811.)
More information is available on the Verance website.