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Advanced Television Systems Committee standards

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Redirected from ATSC standards) "ATSC" redirects here. For other uses, see ATSC (disambiguation).

List of digital television broadcast standards DVB standards (countries)

DVB-T (terrestrial)
o o o


DVB-S (satellite)

DVB-C (cable)

DVB-H (handheld) DVB-SH (satellite)

ATSC standards (countries)

ATSC (terrestrial/cable)

ATSC 2.2

ATSC-M/H (mobile/handheld)

ISDB standards (countries)

ISDB-T (terrestrial)

ISDB-T International SBTVD/ISDB-Tb (Brazil)

ISDB-S (satellite) ISDB-C (cable) 1seg (handheld)

DTMB standards (countries)

DTMB (terrestrial) CMMB (handheld)

DMB standard (countries)

T-DMB (terrestrial) S-DMB (satellite)


o o o o


o o o o o

Frequency bands


v t e

ATSC standards are a set of standards developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee for digital television transmission over terrestrial, cable, and satellite networks. The ATSC standards were developed in the early 0991s by the Grand Alliance, a consortium of electronics and telecommunications companies that assembled to develop a specification for

what is now known as HDTV. ATSC formats also include standard-definition formats, although initially only HDTV services were launched in the digital format.


1 Background 2 Digital switchover 3 Audio 4 Video o 4.1 MPEG-2 o 4.2 H.264/MPEG-4 AVC 5 Transport stream (TS) 6 Modulation and transmission 7 Other systems 8 Mobile TV 9 Future o 9.1 ATSC 2.2 o 9.2 ATSC 3.2 12 Countries and territories using ATSC o 12.1 North America o 12.2 Asia/Pacific 11 See also 12 References 13 External links

The high definition television standards defined by the ATSC produce wide screen 0469 images up to 09910101 pixels in size more than six times the display resolution of the earlier standard. However, many different image sizes are also supported. The reduced bandwidth requirements of lower-resolution images allow up to six standard-definition "subchannels" to be broadcast on a single 4 MHz TV channel. ATSC standards are marked A/x (x is the standard number) and can be downloaded freely from the ATSC's website at ATSC Standard A/35, which implemented the system developed by the Grand Alliance, was published in 0993; the standard was adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in the United States in 0994. It was revised in 9119. ATSC Standard A/29 was approved in 9110 and introduces H.942/AVC video coding to the ATSC system. ATSC supports 3.0-channel surround sound using the Dolby Digital AC-5 format. Numerous auxiliary datacasting services can also be provided. Many aspects of ATSC are patented, including elements of the MPEG video coding, the AC-5 audio coding, and the 0VSB modulation.[0] The cost of patent licensing, estimated at up to 31 US$ per digital TV receiver,[9] has prompted complaints by manufacturers.[5]

As with other systems, ATSC depends on numerous interwoven standards, e.g. the EIA-210 standard for digital closed captioning, leading to variations in implementation.

Digital switchover
See also: Digital television transition in the United States, Digital television in Canada, and Television in Mexico

ATSC replaced much of the analog NTSC television system[2] in the United States[3][4] on June 09, 9119, replaced NTSC on August 50, 9100 in Canada and on December 50, 9109 in South Korea, and [2] will replace NTSC by September, 9103 in Dominican Republic, December 50, 9103 in Mexico. [0] Broadcasters who use ATSC and want to retain an analog signal must broadcast on two separate channels, as the ATSC system requires the use of an entire channel. Virtual channels allow channel numbers to be remapped from their physical RF channel to any other number 0 to 99, so that ATSC stations can either be associated with the related NTSC channel numbers, or all stations on a network can use the same number. There is also a standard for distributed transmission systems (DTx), a form of single-frequency network which allows for the synchronised operation of multiple on-channel booster stations.

Dolby Digital AC-5 is used as the audio codec, though it was standardized as A/39 by the ATSC. It allows the transport of up to five channels of sound with a sixth channel for low-frequency effects (the so-called "3.0" configuration). In contrast, Japanese ISDB HDTV broadcasts use MPEG's Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) as the audio codec, which also allows 3.0 audio output. DVB (see below) allows both. MPEG-9 audio was a contender for the ATSC standard during the DTV "Grand Alliance" shootout, but lost out to Dolby AC-5. The Grand Alliance issued a statement finding the MPEG9 system to be "essentially equivalent" to Dolby, but only after the Dolby selection had been made. Later, a story emerged that MIT had entered into an agreement with Dolby whereupon the university would be awarded a large sum if the MPEG-9 system was rejected.[9] Dolby also offered an incentive for Zenith to switch their vote (which they did); however, it is unknown whether they accepted the offer.[citation needed]

The ATSC system supports a number of different display resolutions, aspect ratios, and frame rates. The formats are listed here by resolution, form of scanning (progressive or interlaced), and number of frames (or fields) per second (see also the TV resolution overview at the end of this article).

For transport, ATSC uses the MPEG systems specification, known as an MPEG transport stream, to encapsulate data, subject to certain constraints. ATSC uses 000-byte MPEG transport stream packets to carry data. Before decoding of audio and video takes place, the receiver must demodulate and apply error correction to the signal. Then, the transport stream may be demultiplexed into its constituent streams.

There are three basic display sizes for ATSC. Basic and enhanced NTSC and PAL image sizes are at the bottom level at 201 or 324 lines. Medium-sized HDTV images have 291 scanlines and are 0901 pixels wide. The top tier has 0101 lines 0991 pixels wide. 0101-line video is actually encoded with 09910100 pixel frames, but the last eight lines are discarded prior to display. This is due to a restriction of the MPEG-9 video format, which requires the number of coded luma samples (i.e. pixels) to be divisible by 04. The different resolutions can operate in progressive scan or interlaced mode, although the highest 0101-line system cannot display progressive images at the rate of 31, 39.92 or 41 frames per second, because such technology was seen as too advanced at the time and the image quality was deemed to be too poor considering the amount of data that needs to be transmitted. A terrestrial (over-the-air) transmission carries 09.59 megabits of data per second (a fluctuating bandwidth of about 00.5 Mbit/s left after overhead such as error correction, program guide, closed captioning, etc.), compared to a maximum possible MPEG-9 bitrate of 01.10 Mbit/s (2 Mbit/s typical) allowed in the DVD standard and 20 Mbit/s (54 Mbit/s typical) allowed in the Blu-ray disc standard. Although the ATSC A/35 standard limits MPEG-9 transmission to the formats listed below (with integer frame rates paired with 0111/0110-rate versions), the U.S. Federal Communications Commission declined to mandate that television stations obey this part of the ATSC's standard. In theory, television stations in the U.S. are free to choose any resolution, aspect ratio, and frame/field rate, within the limits of Main Profile @ High Level. Many stations do go outside the bounds of the ATSC specification by using other resolutions for example, 539 x 201 or 291 x 201. "EDTV" displays can reproduce progressive scan content and frequently have a 0469 wide screen format. Such resolutions are 212201 or 291201[citation needed] in NTSC and 291324 in PAL, allowing 41 progressive frames per second in NTSC or 31 in PAL.
ATSC Standard A/53 Part 402229 (MPEG-2 Video System Characteristics) Resolution Aspect ratio Pixel aspect ratio Scanning Frame rate (Hz) Vertical Horizontal 23.976 24 progressive 29.97 1282 1922 1609 101 32 interlaced 29.97 (59.94 fields/s)






progressive 724 403 or 1609 SMPTE 259M

interlaced 482

progressive 642 403 101


32 (62 fields/s) 23.976 24 29.97 32 59.94 62 23.976 24 29.97 32 59.94 62 29.97 (59.94 fields/s) 32 (62 fields/s) 23.976 24 29.97 32 59.94 62 29.97 (59.94 fields/s) 32 (62 fields/s)

ATSC also supports PAL frame rates and resolutions which are defined in ATSC A/45 standard.
ATSC Standard A/6301997 (Standard for Coding 25/52 Hz Video) Resolution Aspect ratio Pixel aspect ratio Scanning Frame rate (Hz) Vertical Horizontal interlaced 25 (52 fields/s) 1282 1922 1609 101 progressive 25 progressive 722 1282 1609 101 52 25 progressive 52 403 or 1609 SMPTE 259M 722 interlaced 25 (52 fields/s) 25 SMPTE 259M progressive 403 or 1609 544 three quarters interlaced 25 (52 fields/s) 576 25 SMPTE 259M progressive 403 or 1609 482 two thirds interlaced 25 (52 fields/s) 25 SMPTE 259M progressive 403 or 1609 352 half interlaced 25 (52 fields/s) 403 or 1609 CIF progressive 288 352 25

The ATSC A/35 specification imposes certain constraints on MPEG-9 video stream:

The maximum bitrate of the MPEG-2 video stream is exactly 19.4 Mbit/s for broadcast television, and exactly 38.8 Mbit/s for the "high-data-rate" mode (e.g., cable television). (The practical limit is somewhat lower, since the MPEG-2 video stream must fit inside a transport stream, with overhead, sent out at 19.3927... Mbit/s for broadcast.) The amount of MPEG-2 stream buffer required at the decoder (the vbv_buffer_size_value) must be less than or equal to 999,424 bytes. In most cases, the transmitter can't start sending a coded image until within a half-second of when it's to be decoded (vbv_delay less than or equal to 45222 92-kHz clock increments). The stream must include colorimetry information (gamma curve, the precise RGB colors used, and the relationship between RGB and the coded YCbCr). The video must be 40202 (chrominance resolution must be 1/2 of luma horizontal resolution and 1/2 of luma vertical resolution).

The ATSC specification and MPEG-9 allow the use of progressive frames coded within an interlaced video sequence. For example, NBC stations transmit a 0101i41 video sequence, meaning the formal output of the MPEG-9 decoding process is sixty 321-line fields per second. However for prime-time television shows, those 41 fields can be coded using 92 progressive frames as a base - actually, an 0101p92 video stream (a sequence of 92 progressive frames per second) is transmitted, and MPEG-9 metadata instructs the decoder to interlace these fields and perform 569 pulldown before display, as in soft telecine. The ATSC specification also allows 0101p51 and 0101p92 MPEG-9 sequences, however they are not used in practice, because broadcasters want to be able to switch between 41 Hz interlaced (news), 51 Hz progressive or PsF (soap operas), and 92 Hz progressive (prime-time) content without ending the 0101i41 MPEG-9 sequence. The 0101-line formats are encoded with 0991 0100 pixel luma matrices and 941 321 chroma matrices, but the last 0 lines are discarded by the MPEG-9 decoding and display process.

H.264/MPEG-4 AVC
In July 9110, ATSC was updated to support the ITU-T H.942 video codec. The new standard is split in two parts:

A/72 part 1: Video System Characteristics of AVC in the ATSC Digital Television System[12] A/72 part 2 : AVC Video Transport Subsystem Characteristics[11]

The new standards supports 0101p at 31, 39.92 and 41 frames per second; such frame rates require H.942/AVC High Profile Level 2.9, while standard HDTV frame rates only require Levels 5.9 and 2, and SDTV frame rates require Levels 5 and 5.0.
ATSC Standard A/72 Part 102228 (Video System Characteristics of AVC) Resolution Aspect ratio Pixel aspect ratio Scanning Frame rate (Hz) Vertical Horizontal 23.976 progressive 1282 1922 1609 101 24

Level 4






HDV progressive







progressive 722 403 or 1609 SMPTE 259M (12011 or 42033)




403 or 1609

SMPTE 259M progressive (12011 or 42033)


29.97 32 25 59.94 62 4.2 52 29.97 (59.94 fields/s) 32 (62 fields/s) 4 25 (52 fields/s) 23.976 24 29.97 4 32 25 59.94 62 4.2 52 29.97 (59.94 fields/s) 32 (62 fields/s) 4 25 (52 fields/s) 23.976 24 29.97 32 3.2, 4 59.94 62 25 52 23.976 24 29.97 32 3.1, 4 59.94 62 25 52 29.97 (59.94 fields/s) 32 (62 fields/s) 3 25 (52 fields/s) 23.976 24 29.97 32 3.1, 4 59.94 62 25 52 29.97 (59.94 fields/s) 3

progressive 642 403 101

interlaced SMPTE 259M three quarters (42033) SMPTE 259M three quarters (42033) SMPTE 259M half (22011) SIF (12011) SIF half (12011) progressive interlaced progressive interlaced progressive interlaced progressive progressive







32 (62 fields/s) 25 (52 fields/s) 23.976 24 29.97 32 3.1, 4 59.94 62 25 52 29.97 (59.94 fields/s) 32 (62 fields/s) 3 25 (52 fields/s) 23.976 25 3 29.97 (59.94 fields/s) 25 (52 fields/s) 23.976 25 3 29.97 (59.94 fields/s) 25 (52 fields/s) 23.976 25 3 29.97 (59.94 fields/s) 25 (52 fields/s) 23.976 25 23.976 25 3 1.1

242 122

352 176

403 403

Transport stream (TS)

Main article: MPEG transport stream

The file extension ".TS" stands for "transport stream", which is a media container format. It may contain a number of streams of audio or video content multiplexed within the transport stream. Transport streams are designed with synchronization and recovery in mind for potentially lossy distribution (such as over-the-air ATSC broadcast) in order to continue a media stream with minimal interruption in the face of data loss in transmission. When an over-the-air ATSC signal is captured to a file via hardware/software the resulting file is often in a .TS file format.

Modulation and transmission

Main articles: 8VSB and QAM tuner

ATSC signals are designed to use the same 4 MHz bandwidth as analog NTSC television channels (the interference requirements of A/35 DTV standards with adjacent NTSC or other DTV channels are very strict). Once the digital video and audio signals have been compressed and multiplexed, the transport stream can be modulated in different ways depending on the method of transmission.

Terrestrial (local) broadcasters use 8VSB modulation that can transfer at a maximum rate of 19.39 Mbit/s, sufficient to carry several video and audio programs and metadata. Cable television stations can generally operate at a higher signal-to-noise ratio and can use either the 16VSB as defined in ATSC or the 256-QAM defined in SCTE, to achieve a throughput of 38.78 Mbit/s, using the same 6 MHz channel.

The proposals for modulation schemes for digital television were developed when cable operators carried standard-resolution video as uncompressed analog signals. In recent years, cable operators have become accustomed to compressing standard-resolution video for digital cable systems, making it harder to find duplicate 4 MHz channels for local broadcasters on uncompressed "basic" cable. Currently, the Federal Communications Commission requires cable operators in the United States to carry the analog or digital transmission of a terrestrial broadcaster (but not both), when so requested by the broadcaster (the "must-carry rule"). The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission in Canada does not have similar rules in force with respect to carrying ATSC signals. However, cable operators have still been slow to add ATSC channels to their lineups for legal, regulatory, and plant & equipment related reasons. One key technical and regulatory issue is the modulation scheme used on the cable: cable operators in the US (and to a lesser extent Canada) can determine their own method of modulation for their plants. Multiple standards bodies exist in the industry: the SCTE defined 934-QAM as a modulation scheme for cable in a cable industry standard, ANSI/SCTE 12 9114: Digital Transmission Standard For Cable Television. Consequently, most North American cable operators seeking additional capacity on the cable system have moved to 934-QAM from the 42-QAM modulation used in their plant, in preference to the 04VSB standard originally proposed by ATSC. Over time 934-QAM is expected to be included in the ATSC standard. There is also a standard for transmitting ATSC via satellite; however, this is only used by TV networks[citation needed]. Very few teleports outside the US support the ATSC satellite transmission standard, but teleport support for the standard is improving. The ATSC satellite transmission system is not used for direct-broadcast satellite systems; in North America these have long used either DVB-S (in standard or modified form) or a proprietary system such as DSS or DigiCipher 9.

Other systems
See also: Digital terrestrial television

ATSC coexists with the DVB-T standard, and with ISDB-T. A similar standard called ADTB-T was developed for use as part of China's new DMB-T/H dual standard. While China has officially chosen a dual standard, there is no requirement that a receiver work with both standards and there is no support for the ADTB modulation from broadcasters or equipment and receiver manufacturers. For compatibility with material from various regions and sources, ATSC supports the 201i video format used in the NTSC analog system (201 lines, approximately 41 fields or 51 frames per second), 324i formats used in most PAL regions (324 lines, 31 fields or 93 frames per second), and 92 frames-per-second formats used in film.
This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (October 2229)

While the ATSC system has been criticized as being complicated and expensive to implement and use,[09] both broadcasting and receiving equipment are now comparable in cost with that of DVB. The ATSC signal is more susceptible to changes in radio propagation conditions than DVB-T and ISDB-T. It also lacks true hierarchical modulation, which would allow the SDTV part of an HDTV signal (or the audio portion of a television program) to be received uninterrupted even in fringe areas where signal strength is low. For this reason, an additional modulation mode, enhanced-VSB (E-VSB) has been introduced, allowing for a similar benefit. In spite of ATSC's fixed transmission mode, it is still a robust signal under various conditions. 0VSB was chosen over COFDM in part because many areas of North America are rural and have a much lower population density, thereby requiring larger transmitters and resulting in large fringe areas. In these areas, 0VSB was shown to perform better than other systems.

COFDM is used in both DVB-T and ISDB-T, and for 0seg, as well as DVB-H and HD Radio in the United States. In metropolitan areas, where the great and increasing majority of North Americans live, COFDM is said to be better at handling multipath propagation. While ATSC is also incapable of true single-frequency network (SFN) operation, the distributed transmission mode, using multiple synchronised on-channel transmitters, has been shown to improve reception under similar conditions. Thus, it may not require more spectrum allocation than DVBT using SFNs. A comparison study found that ISDB-T and DVB-T performed similarly, and that both were outperformed by DVB-T9.[05]

Mobile TV
Main article: ATSC-M/H

Mobile reception of digital stations using ATSC has, until 9110, been difficult to impossible, especially when moving at vehicular speeds. To overcome this, there are several proposed systems that report improved mobile reception: Samsung/Rhode & Schwarz's A-VSB, Harris/LG's MPH, and a recent proposal from Thomson/Micronas; all of these systems have been submitted as candidates for a new ATSC standard, ATSC-M/H. After one year of standardization, the solution based on LGE technology has been adopted and would have been deployed in 9119. This is in addition to other standards like the now-defunct MediaFLO, and worldwide open standards such as DVB-H and T-DMB. Like DVB-H and ISDB 0seg, the proposed ATSC mobile standards are backward-compatible with existing tuners, despite being added to the standard well after the original standard was in wide use. Mobile reception of some stations will still be more difficult, because 00 UHF channels in the U.S. have been removed from TV service, forcing some broadcasters to stay on VHF. This band requires larger antennas for reception, and is more prone to electromagnetic interference from engines and rapidly-changing multipath conditions.[citation needed]

ATSC 2.0
ATSC 9.1 is a major new revision of the standard which will be backward compatible with ATSC 0.1. The standard will allow interactive and hybrid television technologies by connecting the TV with the Internet services and allowing interactive elements into the broadcast stream. Other features include advanced video compression, audience measurement, targeted advertising, enhanced programming guides, video on demand services, and the ability to store information on new receivers, including Non-realtime (NRT) content.[02][03][04]

ATSC 3.0
ATSC 5.1 will provide even more services to the viewer and increased bandwidth efficiency and compression performance, which requires breaking backwards compatibility with the current version. ATSC 5.1 is expected to emerge within next decade.[02]

On March 94, 9105, the Advanced Television Systems Committee announced a call for proposals for the ATSC 5.1 physical layer which states that the plan is for the system to support video with a resolution of 50219041 at 41 fps (UHDTV).[02][00][09][91]

Countries and territories using ATSC

North America

Bahamas (decided on December 14, 2211; national public broadcaster ZNS-TV announced it would be upgrading to ATSC digital television with mobile DTV capabilities, in line with its neighbours, the United States and Puerto Rico.[21]) Canada (converted on August 31, 2211 in provincial/territorial capitals and locations with 322,222 or more people; expected to continue broadcasting analog over-the-air television signals in 22 markets until August 31, 2212).[22] Dominican Republic (decided on August 12, 2212; to be completely transitioned by September 24, 2215[23]) El Salvador (decided on April 22, 2229.[24]) Mexico (decided on 2 July 2224,[25] started conversion in 2213[26] and expects to be completely transitioned by 31 December 2215[8]). United States (converted on June 12, 2229, excluding LPTV stations; to be completely transitioned by September 1, 2215[27]) o Puerto Rico o U.S. Virgin Islands


South Korea (terrestrial completed on 31 December 2212 but allows analog broadcasts in its northern border so they can be received in North Korea.[28] Analog cable is yet to be switched off.) United States territories (converted on June 12, 2229, excluding LPTV stations; to be completely transitioned by September 1, 2215[27]) o American Samoa o Guam o Northern Mariana Islands

See also

Advanced Television Systems Committee ATSC tuner List of ATSC standards Broadcast flag Broadcast safe Digital terrestrial television (DTT) Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) EIA-728 ISDB - Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting

OpenCable Redesign project, project set up by cable operators, equipment manufacturers, and research organisations T-DMB - South Korean terrestrial mobile digital broadcasting system DMB-T/H Chinese terrestrial digital broadcasting system Ultra high definition television (UHDTV) - Digital video formats with resolutions of 38422162 and 76824322