Table 3 (ATSC)

Table 3 of the ATSC DTV Standard, Annex A, summarizes the picture formats originally allowable for DTV transmission in the USA. Any one of these may be compressed using MPEG-2 and transmitted. An ATSC receiver must be able to display pictures from any of these formats.

The range of formats in Table 3 caters for schemes familiar to both television and computers, and takes account of different resolutions, scanning techniques and refresh rates. For each frame size, frame rates are available to provide compatibility with existing transmission systems and receivers. 29.97 Hz is needed to keep step with NTSC simulcasts. Technically this is not required once NTSC is no longer transmitted! 30 Hz is easier to use, and does not involve considerations such as drop-frame timecode. 24 Hz progressive (24P) offers compatibility with film material. A choice of progressive or interlaced scanning is also available for most frame sizes (see Progressive and Interlaced).

Table 3 is concerned with video formats to be handled in the ATSC system rather than defining standards for video production. ATSC’s Table 1 of annex A refers to the standardized video production formats likely to be used as inputs to the compression table.

Vertical size valueHorizontal size valueAspect ratio informationFrame rate codeProgressive sequence

Video standard          Active lines                 Active samples/line

SMPTE 274M              1080                            1920

SMPTE S17.392           720                              1280

ITU-R BT.601-4            483                              720


ATSC Annex A, Table 1: Standardized video input formats

Video standardActive linesActive samples/line   
SMPTE 274M10801920
SMPTE S17.3927201280
ITU-R BT.601-4483720