Broadcasters are always looking for ways to make better use of their allotted spectrum and since even the highest quality HD signals use a variable bit rate, there are always some bits that go to waste. Up until now broadcasters have used multicasting to put those extra bits to work, but since each channel has a minimum bitrate, this tends to lower the maximum bit rate of the primary HD feed -- which usually causes some very blocky HD. At NAB this week, LG was demonstrating new tech that could allow broadcasters to use those extra bits to send high quality (3D even) non-real-time programming -- of course the TV or set-top would need some disk space available to store the programming until you are ready to watch it -- kind of like the old Moviebeam service worked, but obviously a digital version. LG hopes this will make it into ATSC 2.0 in the next few years and we do too as this concept has lots of bandwidth potential. You see because while the big game on Sunday afternoon might require the full 19.3 Mbps, most other programming uses half that. So in other words, if a channel doesn't multicast, they are probably sending you about 553 Gigabytes of null bits a week.
Spare broadband capacity utilized to cache 3D programming for more home entertainment options
LAS VEGAS, April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- LG Electronics is paving the way for next-generation digital television (DTV) broadcast standards and advancing its leadership in 3D television with the first public demonstration of Non-Real-Time (NRT) technologies contemplated in ATSC 2.0, a new activity of the Advanced Television System Committee (ATSC). The world's first broadcast of NRT 3D TV takes place at the 2010 National Association of Broadcasters convention which runs through April 15 in Las Vegas.
LG's NRT technology takes advantage of unused bandwidth in broadband digital TV transmissions. While viewers are watching live ATSC DTV broadcasts, the NRT function can simultaneously cache other broadcasts in the background onto hard drives or USB flash drives so the content can be viewed at a later time. LG has successfully tested the ATSC-compatible technology in Korea with SBS, one of the country's premier terrestrial broadcasters.
"LG is at the forefront of developing this technology for digital broadcasting," said Dr. Woo Paik, president and chief technology officer, LG Electronics Inc. "NRT 3D broadcast is a prime example of our leadership in 3D TV, and it fits very well with LG's efforts in the developments associated with the newest ATSC technologies."
The demonstration at the NAB show, conducted in cooperation with SBS, is built around prototype LG NRT- and 3D-capable HDTVs to record and replay 3D ATSC programming stored on an external USB drive. The experimental broadcast showcases the capabilities of emerging ATSC 2.0 technologies, expected to be the next enhancement in the ATSC family of standards, perhaps as early as 2011 or 2012.
LG expects NRT technology to have enormous commercial potential with broadcasters and content providers taking full advantage of the flexibility of ATSC broadcasting to deliver additional services such as Internet radio and video-on-demand (VOD).
For consumers who have already bought or plan to purchase LG 3D HDTVs, the company plans to offer a software upgrade so they can take full advantage of additional content through the NRT and 3D ATSC services when they become commercially available in the years ahead.
Also at the NAB show, LG Electronics is demonstrating how Internet connectivity related to ATSC 2.0 will help enhance the DTV viewing experience. With a hybrid terrestrial transmission and IP (Internet-Protocol) service, Korean broadcaster KBS and LG will showcase enriched content for viewers and exciting applications for broadcasters. The demonstration will highlight features on prototype LG broadband TVs, including an advanced electronic service guide, VOD capability, and clip services.