Part 2: Canada and ATSC 3.0

By TRauMa - Own work, CC0

By TRauMa – Own work, CC0

Dear Minister Joly,

Figured I’d follow up my previous post about how small Canadian television broadcasters are planning (if at all) for ATSC 3.0 with a post about what the Canadian television broadcasters “owned by large English ownership groups” are planning.

While the 2017 CRTC decisions regarding these broadcasters are currently being “reconsidered” by the CRTC, as you know, I imagine their ATSC 3.0 plans will remain unchanged.

Once again, these large Canadian television broadcasters are looking to the CRTC and ISED to take the lead on if/how they should be planning for ATSC 3.0.

Source: Call for licence renewal applications – Submission of renewal applications for television licences owned by large English- and French-language ownership groups that will expire in 2017.

Rogers: (City, OMNI 1, OMNI 2)

“Rogers currently has no immediate plans to transition to ATSC 3.0 as this new standard is currently undergoing testing. There will be a variety of impacts on Rogers as a broadcaster and on our viewers with the upcoming transition to ATSC 3.0:

  • The current standard (ATSC A/53) is incompatible with ATSC 3.0, which means that our viewers will need to buy new television sets when they become available.
  • There is a lack of readily available ATSC 3.0 devices in the market such as television sets and smart mobile devices.
  • There is currently a limited supply and selection of ATSC 3.0 broadcasting equipment.
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) will need to develop a transition plan to support the migration to ATSC 3.0 as broadcasters will need to run both ATSC and ATSC 3.0 transmitters. This will be challenging as ISED also plans to repack the spectrum with the highest density.
  • Operational costs will double as broadcasters will be required to run both ATSC and ATSC 3.0 transmission facilities during a transition period to accommodate viewers.
  • It will be technically difficult and costly to retro-fit existing transmitter sites to support ATSC 3.0.”

Corus: (Global TV)

“ATSC 3.0 offers new opportunities in the delivery of scalable content to mobile and other devices. The ATSC 3.0 standard has not as yet, been finalized and as such Corus has no plans to transition. ATSC 3.0 is expected to be incompatible with the current ATSC 1.0 broadcast system. This will render obsolete any existing television receivers in the marketplace and require a significant new investment on behalf of the consumer. Corus participates in the CAB Technical Coordinating Committee (TCC) and the North American Broadcasters Association (NABA) and closely monitors the development of ATSC 3.0.

Furthermore, any near-future timeline for implementation of ATSC 3.0 standard completion would come soon after, or during, the time when Corus and other broadcasters would be implementing changes resultant from the release of a new channel and coverage plan prompted by the repacking of the 600 MHz spectrum, changes which themselves require significant recent spending of money and resources for transmission upgrades from analog to digital.

This issue is one that will need to be carefully managed by all industry stakeholders if the introduction of this new technology is to be successful.”

Bell: (CTV, CTV Two)

“We recognize that the next-generation ATSC 3.0 digital broadcast standard will offer enhancements and opportunities to meet consumers viewing habits across Bell’s various platforms. The over-the-air standard will enable Bell to transmit higher-quality 4K UHD video and immersive audio in the beginning with possible 8K support later in the future. It will give Bell the option to offer multiple channels within that single 6 MHz bandwidth.

As the standard is IP-based, ATSC 3.0 has the capability of broadcasting broadband content to smartphones and tablets as well as providing greater interactivity between the consumer and Bell by permitting viewers the chance to customize the type of content they want delivered, watch on-demand video, alternate video angles, audio language support and more. This will allow Bell to create new hybrid services and augment regular TV broadcasts with greater interactivity.

We also recognize that through ATSC 3.0, this will take emergency alerting to the next level by broadcasting features such as device wake up, maps, evacuation routes, video clips and more. These new capabilities will certainly enhance the current method that is limited to a text crawl on the bottom of your screen and an audio overlay.

Once ATSC 3.0 becomes an official standard, more effort will be placed on realizing its full potential on Bell’s existing platform. ATSC 3.0 will complement Bell’s existing services to our subscribers/viewers.”



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6 Responses to Part 2: Canada and ATSC 3.0

  1. Robert says:

    These Television Broadcasters as you put it aside from the CBC are nothing of the kind. They are Pay TV operators and they have no incentive to make any changes to Canada’s Broadcast Television. Our’s is a far cry from what exists South of the Border where currently there are 77 Million and more on Free Digital OTA TV

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