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Broadcast Internet Drives Real-World Enterprises. Emerging businesses call for ATSC 3.0 coverage capability


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By Cora Leighter

Hunt Valley, MD–September 17, 2020– What is the broadcast internet? It’s a one-to-many enhancement to the public internet that enables specific, new business cases for local broadcasters and entrepreneurs.

“If you have spectrum and ATSC 3.0, you can have multiple unrelated services. It’s not all video and audio any longer,” said Louis Libin, vice president of Spectrum Engineering & Policy, at Sinclair Broadcast Group, during a Sept. 1 webinar on how to make money with ATSC 3.0, the technology standard that facilitates customized use of TV spectrum.

BUSINESS CASE #1: OFFLOADING
Current wireless networks deliver individual signals to individual devices. This causes dropped connections and delays, which will likely get worse, said Josh Weiss, CEO of ARK Multicasting, a Texas-based company deploying broadcast internet across its portfolio of 283 low-power TV stations.

For example, traffic on Verizon’s network clocked in at roughly 6.5 exabytes in March. On average, streaming video accounted for about 80 percent of that. By comparison, ARK’s ATSC 3.0-enabled Dallas LPTV station could handle nearly seven times that amount of data within that market alone, making the broadcast internet ideal for offloading video traffic. Offloading can also include such things as software updates and connected-car or distance-learning content. No return channel is necessary.

BUSINESS CASE #2: LIVE REMOTE PRODUCTION
Jerry Gepner, chief technology officer of CP Communications, has about four decades of live production under his belt.

“I remember the early days, when a network would broadcast a sporting event from a city, and the local station was actually heavily involved in providing services to the broadcaster at that point,” he said. “Those days are long gone with the growth of independent vendors and national fiber providers.”

“ATSC 3.0 provides a method for broadcasters to get back into this because it allows for a series of services that are completely unique to the broadcast community” and especially relevant during COVID-19, he said. The key is to “leverage technology to reduce the number of people on site and to make better use of remote-control things—robotic camera, drones, and virtual cameras,” Gepner said. This means using more wireless technology, but in a new way. Right now, Gepner builds out custom command-and-control infrastructures and juggles licensing, radiation and interference negotiations.

With broadcast internet, a low-power transmitter near a sports venue and connected to a truck or a TV station could deliver a command-and-control fabric as well as multiple video and audio feeds in a way that walls, licensing, and interference are not an issue, Gepner said. “This is a way for broadcast stations to get back in the game very quickly,” he said. “Commercially, it’s a passive revenue stream for the broadcaster. It can help defray some of the costs of getting to ATSC 3.0.”

BUSINESS CASE #3: AI IN ACTION
Computer graphics powerhouse NVIDIA is keen on the broadcast internet for its singular ability to support edge-dependent technologies like the voice-activated Comcast xFinity recommendation engine. The recommendations come from artificial intelligence residing on the edge—a server or node located closer to the end user than the origin server.

“The edge matters because you can’t wait on a response,” said Michael Kaplan, global leader for Media & Entertainment and Pro VR for NVIDIA. “Speed is important. Latency is super important here.”

Other NVIDIA partner edge-enabled, AI applications include medical uses, real-time noise suppression, audience “sentiment analysis” and a destination-and-prediction engine that Mercedes Benz intends to roll out in 2024. There is also the AnyVision smart camera system that can detect 115 million individuals in 0.2 seconds—using an amount of computation highly impractical to have housed in the cameras.

In agriculture, NVIDIA and a John Deere subsidiary are using edge AI on the edge to calculate crop herbicide and pesticide application.

BUSINESS CASE #4: THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
With today’s wireless infrastructure choking on video, it’s not likely to fully accommodate the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” an era defined by smart technologies, connectivity and automation, “in which ATSC 3.0 is beautifully positioned to play a major part,” said TV futurist Lynn Rowe, principal at One World Technologies.

The Federal Communications Commission agrees. The agency recently adopted a ruling allowing multiple broadcasters to offer ATSC 3.0 broadband services. Libin said further modifications would help make coverage more uniform and better able to support emerging industrial smart applications. Hiren Surti, director of Production Development for communications infrastructure provider Crown Castle, described how to fortify the broadcast internet for this purpose.

First, fiber-connected low-power towers would “densify” the network, laying the foundation for single-frequency networks, which can support hyper-localized data and content services. Much of computer power and management of this network can then be virtualized and operated by AI in a cloud environment where new applications and services can be cherry-picked or customized without a huge commitment or investment.

BUSINESS CASE #5: CREATE
The potential of an ATSC 3.0 broadcast internet is unlimited, so “if we try to answer every question about how someone’s going to utilize 3.0, you’ll get into the weeds,” Weiss said.

Libin.com said to “remember what the goal of ATSC 3.0 was from the beginning. It was to provide broadcasters with a new set of tools to allow them to construct their own business models, flexible and evolvable, and I think that is a big success.”

To view a recording of this webinar and others in the ATSC 3.0 Monetization Series from Sinclair Broadcast Group, go to www.ATSC3advocate.com

 


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