The (US) Advanced Television Systems Committee. Established in 1982 to co-ordinate the development of voluntary national technical standards for the generation, distribution and reception of high definition television. In 1995 the ATSC published “The Digital Television Standard” which describes the US Advanced Television System, referred to as ATSC A/53. This uses MPEG-2 compression for the video and AC-3 for the audio and includes a range of video resolutions (as described in ATSC Table 3) and audio services (Table 2). It uses 8 and 16 VSB modulation respectively for terrestrial and cable transmission.

ATSC M/H (mobile/handheld) allows digital TV to be received by mobile devices. Using 8VSB modulation it is subject to inherent problems of doppler shift and multipath interference, so additional channel coding has been added.

ATSC 2.0 is a backward-compatible revision of the standard, enabling interactive and hybrid television by connecting the TV with the Internet and allowing interactive elements. Video compression uses the more efficient AVC. There is also audience measurement, enhanced programming guides, video-on-demand services, and the ability to store information on new receivers, including non-realtime content.

ATSC 3.0 is work in progress. Many ideas are being examined including the use of OFDM modulation, as used in DVB, in place of VSB, HEVC video compression, and being able to deliver HD, 4K and 3D and probably SD too. Watch this space!

See also: VSB, Table 3, Dolby Digital (DD/AC-3), MPEG-2