AWARN at ATSC 2015 Broadcast Television Conference

Posted by on May 29, 2015 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Rapid progress toward development of the next-generation television broadcast platform, ATSC 3.0, was on full display on May 13th and 14th at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington DC. The Advanced Television Systems Committee 2015 Broadcast Television Conference was also the place to be to hear industry experts offer their insights on the future of broadcast TV. It was clear the future is bright indeed!

LG’s Futurecast demonstration was on display, as were other demos. Futurecast is one of the competing technologies being considered for the final ATSC 3.0 candidate standard, which is moving toward candidate standard status, perhaps by the end of 2015.

As part of the Futurecast demo, the AWARN demonstration was being displayed on a continuous loop. The LG 4K Ultra HD TV showed glorious views of a Greek costal village as the AWARN banner appeared on-screen. (The stunning images of Greece had me craving grilled octopus and olives!)

The AWARN demo alert consisted of an on-screen banner with the option to access rich media. A single click away was video, radar images and maps from a hurricane emergency scenario created by AWARN pioneer WRAL/Raleigh. It was easy to navigate – very user friendly – almost intuitive.

Invited members from FEMA’s IPAWS team viewed the AWARN demonstration a number of times. They expressed considerable interest in what they saw. ‘Emergency managers could really get a sense of what is possible in next-gen alerting with this demo,’ said one of the IPAWS team.

A session on ‘Business Issues Surrounding the Incentive Auction and the Future of Television” had panelists expressing differing views on the spectrum auction. All were agreed that broadcast spectrum is a highly valuable asset. How best to actualize that intrinsic value was the hot topic.

Former FCC Chairman Richard Wiley moderated an afternoon panel – ‘Industry Leadership Roundtable: The Future of Television.’ NCTA’s Michael Powel, CEA’s Gary Shapiro and NAB’s Gordon Smith participated in a discussion ranging from retrans consent to net neutrality and of course ATSC 3.0. Each panelist expressed strong support for ATSC 3.0 and its business potential.

Following the conference, TVNewsCheck’s Harry Jessell published column noting the technical progress toward ATSC 3.0 and urging the broadcast industry to start selling ATSC 3.0 on Capitol Hill.
Advanced Emergency Alerts such as AWARN are a core component of ATSC 3.0. This is something that the broadcasters and the Hill can get behind, in part because all emergencies are local in nature. We have already seen strong interest from the FCC, FEMA, and other federal agencies. NAB’s Smith stated, “Localism is the glue that brings communities together. Congress believes in it.” Broadcasters epitomize localism. That’s how they stay relevant, and, as was clear from the conference, ATSC 3.0 is what they must do in order to survive.

By – Fiona James, Convergence Services, Inc.

Leave a Reply