Newly released field testing done by Sony Electronics shows that delivery of a NEXTGEN TV signal via ATSC 3.0 signals can be done successfully, and with nearly zero reception trouble.
That’s the latest ATSC 3.0-related news from Pearl TV, the business organization of U.S. broadcast companies with a shared interest in making NEXTGEN TV a success.
That said, watching NEXTGEN TV while on the road isn’t the only thing exciting broadcast TV station executives.
“While robust passenger infotainment is one potential benefit, another more substantial opportunity exists for local TV stations to easily transmit software updates and information to fleets of future cars and trucks,” Pearl TV says.
Field test were carried out jointly by Sony’s Semiconductor and Home Entertainment and Sound Products groups and Pearl TV broadcast TV members in the Camelback Mountain region of central Phoenix and Paradise Valley, Ariz.; and at the News-Press and Gazette Co. stations based in of Santa Barbara, Calif.
Testing was focused on how new worldwide demodulator chips from Sony Semiconductor and related software for ATSC 3.0 created by Sony Home Entertainment and Solutions of America would perform in a real-world environment.
Difficult mountain passes and urban settings near Phoenix provided one complex reception challenge. Traveling along with California State Route 192, which connects San Marcos Pass Road with Casitas Pass Road, had its own difficult reception environment. Additionally, four different routes in Arizona and two in California allowed engineers to test different signal-to-noise power levels and highway speeds above and below 55 MPH.
“For the field testing areas selected, there are some rolling hills, rural canyons and light urban canyon terrain causing echo delays,” said Mike Nejat, VP of Engineering at Sony Home Entertainment and Solutions of America. “We wanted to find out if ATSC 3.0 can support multiple services, show an example configuration for automotive service, test the configuration with separate solutions in a variety of markets, terrains, and driving conditions, and test the simultaneous delivery of files not related to television entertainment to see how this transmission and reception system might appeal to new customers like automakers and fleet operators.
A key finding: to accommodate all channel conditions of strong and weak signal strength, it could be beneficial to have a mix of active and passive reception antennas. “Diversity can only help reception,” Sony found.
“Sometimes simplicity contains the greatest brilliance,” Pearl TV Chief Technical Officer Dave Folsom said. “The real brilliance in Sony’s chip and implementation is the use and enabling of diversity antenna reception. Pearl TV and the Phoenix Model Market partners know that mobile reception is particularly hampered by smaller, less efficient antenna systems in a motion environment with the signals reflecting off of adjacent automobiles, buildings, or terrain. In Sony’s implementation they can use up to four antennas and their signal outputs which likely arrive at different levels and times at any given time that are then added together efficiently. Diversity reception has been around for years and has been used in situations like wireless microphones and microwave reception. The brilliance of Sony’s design is the reduction of this capability to a small chip and using it to enable efficient NEXTGEN TV mobile reception.”
Broadcasters in Detroit recently launched a “Motown 3.0 Test Track” and expect to test the Sony implementation this spring, as part of the broader initiative now underway in Michigan.
Detroit is one of more than 20 cities now offering NEXTGEN TV broadcasts powered by ATSC 3.0 technology.