NAB and the Consumer Technology Association have established an ATSC 3.0 test station in Cleveland, OH using facilities at Tribune-owned WJW. The goal of this project, being co-sponsored and co-funded with the Consumer Technology Association, is to provide a testbed to establish “proofs of concept” for various ATSC 3.0 elements and to act as an incubator for new products and services based on ATSC 3.0. Engineering firm Meintel, Sgrignoli and Wallace was selected to provide project management for the test station program and conduct the associated testing. Operating under an experimental license from the FCC, and with many in-kind contributions of equipment from manufacturers, the station has been used for several useful and timely test programs and events, including the following:
- Field tests of the ATSC 3.0 transmission system were conducted using a high VHF channel in early 2016. These were the first industry field tests of the ATSC 3.0 physical layer. The tests showed that the system works in the real world and found no “red flags” for operation in high VHF spectrum.
- The station transmitted the first live ATSC 3.0 broadcast of a major professional sporting event – Game 2 of Major League Baseball’s World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians in October 2016.
- In February 2018, in cooperation with NBC and SES, the 4K UHDTV satellite feed of the Winter Olympics in Korea was decoded at the Cleveland station, re-encoded in ATSC 3.0 format, broadcast from the test station and successfully received on Korean ATSC 3.0 TV sets adapted for the U.S. market.
- Field testing of four different modulation/coding combinations of the ATSC 3.0 physical layer was conducted in February and March 2018. The field tests showed how the robust and flexible nature of the ATSC 3.0 standard facilitates tailoring service applications throughout a major metropolitan area.
As equipment, devices and software become available, the test station will continue to explore the capabilities and features of ATSC 3.0. The station will act as a neutral test facility for broadcasters, consumer electronics and professional manufacturers to test prototypes, early commercial equipment, services and equipment interoperability.