Baltimore, MD (March 22, 2016) – Through the grant of Special Temporary Authority by the Federal Communications Commission, experimental facilities covering the Washington D.C. and Baltimore, MD markets began broadcasting today using the first-ever « Next Gen» Single Frequency Network (SFN). ONE Media and TeamCast jointly developed, built and deployed the experimental SFN to demonstrate a higher quality of service to a broadcaster’s community of license. In addition, the SFN validates, in a real world environment, the operation and performance of new and innovative concepts relative to an ATSC 3.0 SFN deployment, such as deploying a full range of Next Gen services including fixed, portable and mobile capabilities. This is the first of hundreds of SFNs Sinclair Broadcast Group (Nasdaq: SBGI) and other broadcasters will roll out in adoption of the Next Gen technology.
The testing, using a full power, multi-site test platform, using channel 43 in both markets, is designed to illustrate future opportunities such as addressing services and content to zones (geographically smaller areas of service), verifying SFN timing and distribution methodology (leading to standardization), impacting of SFN deployment on over-the-air (OTA) services to mobile, portable and indoor reception environments, and confirming various modeling techniques.
Under ONE Media’s direction and Acrodyne Services project management, the initial SFN network consists of two transmitters (one in Washington, D.C. and one in Baltimore, MD), each driven by the latest state-of-the-art TeamCast ATSC 3.0 exciter, integrated for U.S. applications by COMARK. These specific coverage field-tests will be used to support the finalization of the ATSC 3.0 Studio Transmitter Link (STL) document, defining the stream interface regimens to feed ATSC 3.0 SFN transmitters.
With the support of several participating partners and members of the industry’s standardization process, the success of this effort will drive many of the future business enhancements that can be realized through the deployment of Next Gen broadcasting. ONE Media and TeamCast extend their thanks to: Acrodyne Services which provided system design, installation and logistical support; Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. which provided the Baltimore, MD transmitter (an Acrodyne 60kW IOT) and tower facilities; Dielectric which provided filters, feedlines and antennae; COMARK Communications, LLC (ATSC 3.0 exciter integration); GatesAir which provided the Washington, D.C. transmitter (Maxiva Series ULXT-12 Solid-State transmitter); American Tower Corp which provided the Washington, D.C. site; Signal Above LLC (channel 43 permitee in Washington, D.C.; and LGE which provided the ATSC 3.0 receivers.
“With the build-out of a first-of-its-kind SFN platform, ONE Media’s ATSC 3.0 technology will be used to drive an understanding of the value new tools bring to broadcasting,” stated Kevin Gage, EVP of Strategic Development and CTO of ONE Media. “We intend this new platform to be a place where the broadcast industry can unite to launch new and exciting consumer and B2B products and services.”
« We are proud to contribute to this worldwide first over-the-air SFN implementation, which constitutes a clear recognition of our unmatched experience in implementing technologies for the distribution and the modulation of terrestrial Digital TV standards,» stated Eric Pinson, Business Unit Manager at TeamCast. « One of the key challenges for us has been to design and to implement a very innovative and unique solution to prepare and to transport the ATSC 3.0 stream dedicated to feed the transmission sites operated in SFN.»