AZskibum, I totally agree that the words haven't changed, but the technology has. However, even debating supposedly "more robust" modulation schemes today, with the ubiquitous Internet in place, seems oh so 20th Century.
I simply do not believe that a more robust one-way broadcast service is going to carry the day for broadcasters. Signal robustness is not the only issue here, or even the major issue. ATSC 1.0 receivers have gotten considerably better over the years, and it seems clear to me that this ain't enough!
Junko, you miss the point as so many do. It has nothing to do with computing power. It's about cost. Unless you watch broadcast TV over the air, you have to buy a subsciption, be it cable, internet access and Hulu/Netflix on top of that. You pay and pay.
That is a common misconception, perpetrated in part by vendors of the popular Internet TV platforms, such as Roku and AppleTV.
There is actually an abundance of TV available free over the Internet, including from sites such as cbs.com, abc.com, nbc. com, fox.com, hulu.com, etc. (Did you know there is tons of TV material on free Hulu, not to be confused with Hulu Plus?) You need the flexibility of a PC to get to these sites, and who knows why. Not any live TV from these sites, but you can watch all the prime time shows, on demand, in many cases with just a few hours of delay from when the show was broadcast.
And if you're into international TV, there are thousands of TV channels to watch, over the portal w w w dot w w itv dot com. Many live streams and on demand streams. In fact, use your search engine, and you can find lots of other sources.
ATSC-MH is ATSC with some extra forward error correction, layered on top of basic ATSC 1.0. It was meant for mobile handheld devices. But it requires a dedicated receiver, because naturally, the cellcos have no incentive to include ATSC-MH reception in their smartphones, right? They'd much rather sell you their own TV service.
Plus, TV broadcast to mobile devices is questionable in my mind. It didn't work in Europe either (DVB-H). I have to believe that traditional broadcast, i.e. TV by appointment, won't be all that popular for mobile users MOST of the time. People on the go aren't likely to worry about some TV program about to start.
And indeed, like you say, some of the words we see about ATSC 3.0 have already happened. ATSC-MH also carried TV content with it IP overhead. But let's get real: to what end? IP headers are used for routing packets through a routed network. If you broadcast packets to all receivers within range, what exactly do you gain from the IP overhead?
Yes, with RF it always depends on the location, terrain, etc. This is also a complaint from cell phone customers.
When I was in an apartment, the switch to digital basically eliminated most broadcast television for me no matter what kind of antenna I tried to put up in the apartment, and I was less than 40 miles from the broadcast antennas in San Francisco.
What most people don't realize is that there already is an alternative digital broadcast format in the US. It is called Mobile TV (originally ATSC M/H), and it applies a number of fixes to the original broadcast format including better compression and graceful degradation. It was meant for portable, mobile televisions, for which the original digital broadcast format didn't work at all.
It didn't catch on (has anyone here even heard of it?), yet it is actually being broadcast on several channels in several cities in the US.
So adding a new digital broadcast format has already happened!
We can do it again, this time for improved home digital viewing. Broadcasting 4K movies and shows would make broadcast television relevant again.
Unless you have a tall antenna on your roof, which pretty much eliminates everyone living in apartments, you are lucky to get a good signal, and unlike the old analog television, a poor signal means you receive nothing at all.
I think it's more complicated than that. Digital TV CAN be far easier to receive well than analog TV was, as long as you live within the echo tolerance of the receiver. In my case, I could get rid of the tall outdoor antenna I was using, and get by much better with indoor antennas, downstairs and upstairs. "Perfect" image, all the time, no ghost at all, none of which was possible with analog.
And this is for signals that come from as far as 46 miles (as the crow flies). So it all depends.
As to apartment buidlings or complexes, in the analog days, most apartment dwellers had to depend on a centralized building antenna system, to get half way reasonable pictures. That same arrangement would work perfectly well for terrestrial DTV too! Too bad that many apartment complexes grabbed that coax infrastructure and handed it over politely to a cable company or other. I'm not sure how that is even legal, but that's why terrestrial DTV is not easily available to apartment dwellers.
The easy hint is, if you have apartment windows that look generally in the direction of the broadcast towers in your market, use of a decent antenna, such as those from Antennas Direct, placed close to a window, should allow straightforward reception of DTV signals.
Junko, I watch most of my TV, by far, streaming over the Internet. From the web sites of the broadcast networks. For live TV, which really means news for me, I watch over the air.
The era of one-way broadcast TV signals, i.e. continuous stream determined by the broadcaster, which mandates either a PVR at the user end or watching TV by appointment, may not be over yet. But it sure is not the only way of getting your TV anymore. And there are now online sources of TV content that are not even duplicated in your cable or satellite TV.
To answer your question, IMO, the role of the broadcasters, i.e. the local stations, has to be upgraded. They have to become involved somehow in distributing TV content over the Internet. I'm afraid that any supposed IP packaging of TV, if these packets are broadcast over any one-way broadcast network, won't amount to much. IP overhead is essentially useless UNLESS the packets are routed over a two-way infrastructure. IP packets that are broadcast to all receivers out there, over a one-way infrastructure like ATSC, pretty much defeat the purpose of IP. The overhead is only usable to identify the packet, and you don't need IP for that.
This is why the leased LTE service is truly where it's at, in my book, if you want TV from broadcasters to appear more like the Internet TV some of us have grown accustomed to over the past several years. But for that, the broadcasters would have to make their content available, on demand as well as live, from servers located at the edges of the LTE network. So this is really a different setup from what you'd expect for broadcast TV over ATSC. I frankly do not understand what any "pairing" of ATSC 3.0 and LTE even means, in a technical sense.
In short, I do not see merely using LTE broadcast service, for access to mobile devices, as being enough. Mobile users are rarely intrigued by live TV streams, except in special cases such as the Superbowl. That's why systems like DVB-H and ATSC-MH failed in the marketplace. So IMO, the LTE infrastructure has to be used also in two-way mode, unicast rather than broadcast, to provide mobile users with the on-demand service they are accustomed to!
I saw a 4K television in a showroom the other day and it was breathtaking. I know you read how 'you can't really tell the difference if you are sitting across the room', but I was 5 feet away and it was very noticable.
We'll never get 4K over the network without a lot of compression, and there's no 4K BluRay (yet, I've heard it is coming next year).
Digital television pretty much killed off broadcast television. Unless you have a tall antenna on your roof, which pretty much eliminates everyone living in apartments, you are lucky to get a good signal, and unlike the old analog television, a poor signal means you receive nothing at all.
As AZskibum mentions, we didn't know enough to do it right. But now we do. I think this is great. It doesn't have to replace all channels and be incompatible with what we have now, but a handful of UHD channels would be a boon to broadcasters, television manufacturers, and customers like me who would love to watch uncompressed 4K over the air.
I don't think it is too late to fix our mistakes and create something better.
Luke & I were among the handful of Motorola engineers back then who worked on both ATSC 8-VSB & DVB-T COFDM receivers. That definitely afforded us unique technical perspectives.
Back then, there was surprisingly little hard data on the dynamic multipath RF channel experienced by a UHF terrestrial broadcast signal, and despite the reams of data collected by field testing, many of those results were more qualitative than quantitative. An advantage they have in developing a new system today is a much better understanding of the channel characteristics, and that understanding will drive better engineering decisions than some of those that were made back in the 90s.
@Junko, video is such a large part of the IP traffic because it is unicast for the most part rather than the broadcast model that the, well, broadcasters are mostly associated with. I rarely watch live TV anymore. Practically all of the network shows that I watch are on my schedule thanks to my DVR, and I am preparing for the day when I don't have to maintain terabytes of disk storage and can instead watch pretty much everything on demand.
The entire infrastructure setup for the broadcasters is around broadcasting. They are finally allowing for a return channel, but I am unclear as to what they are going to use it for. Voting for dancers on Dancing with the Stars? Yawn. I could do that now if I had any interest via my cellphone. Their old business model is broken. Show me a compelling new one and I might change my mind, but I haven't seen it yet.
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