An ATSC 3.0 Air Chain Now Ready for Pure Cloud Play


Four years ago, 8 rack units brought to life the first ATSC 3.0 air chain. Then came a reduced footprint, in April 2019, followed by the 2020 arrival of the first 1-rack unit using a Blade server.

Now, a cloud application on Amazon Web Services (AWS) today is in place for what powers NextGen TV.

It’s the latest advancement since June 2017 for ATSC 3.0 Air Chain technology pioneered by DigiCAP.

The Seoul-based company provided Air Chain technology first moved forward with its ATSC 3.0 tools by working with the three major South Korean broadcast networks during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, enabling them to transmit live 4K over the air.

These first-generation Air Chains were eight rack units (RU) tall.

After the PyeongChang games, DigiCAP analyzed data from their 14 live ATSC 3.0 broadcast sites. Two years later, they introduced an improved version that was only two RU tall, a 75% reduction in size. But the inside changes were significant.

Sang Jin Yoon, SVP of Business Development at DigiCAP, noted, “We took data from extensive field tests at our Korean broadcast sites and analyzed the data using static and dynamic code analysis to holistically optimize our software.  In addition, we rebuilt the software to be more useful in the US, including improving the user experience by redesigning the system administrator, making our software compliant with the evolving ATSC 3.0 spec, and providing more meaningful system status information, and adding features to make DigiCaster more operation friendly.”

in June 2020, as the first commercially licensed ATSC 3.0 broadcast stations were launching in the U.S., DigiCAP introduced a new version on a single RU COTS blade. Yoon noted, “Every year COTS servers get less expensive and more productive. The use of software infrastructure in this configuration is a way to take advantage of the savings and efficiency boosts. Migrating from appliance to software is the unstoppable trend.”

Then, in February of this year, DigiCAP posted the first ATSC 3.0 Air Chain on Amazon Web Services (AWS). “This service will enable installations to go more quickly and let broadcasters pay for their Air Chains with a low monthly service fee instead of a large upfront equipment charge,” DigiCAP said.

Yoon concluded, “Our software infrastructure approach is catching on. Of the 28 US markets that have launched ATSC 3.0, DigiCAP has one or more users in over half of them. Add to that the 14 broadcast stations we have in South Korea and it makes a solid footprint for moving forward.”