Advanced Television Systems Committee

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) is the group, established in 1982, that developed the eponymous ATSC standards for digital television in the United States. These standards have also been adopted by Canada, Mexico, South Korea and recently Honduras, and are being considered by other countries.

Advanced Television Systems Committee
ATSC logo

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ATSC-M/H (Advanced Television Systems Committee - Mobile/Handheld) is a U.S. standard for mobile digital TV that allows TV broadcasts to be received by mobile devices.ATSC-M/H is a mobile TV extension to preexisting terrestrial TV broadcasting standard ATSC A/53. It corresponds to the European DVB-H and 1seg extensions of DVB-T and ISDB-T terrestrial digital TV standards respectively. ATSC is optimized for a fixed reception in the typical North American environment and uses 8VSB modulation. The ATSC transmission method is not robust enough against Doppler shift and multipath radio interference in mobile environments, and is designed for highly directional fixed antennas. To overcome these issues, additional channel coding mechanisms are introduced in ATSC-M/H to protect the signal.

ATSC (disambiguation)

ATSC is the Advanced Television Systems Committee standards.

ATSC may also refer to:

Advanced Television Systems Committee, the committee that wrote the ATSC Standards

Acetone thiosemicarbazone, a chemical compound

Air Technical Service Command, one of the many predecessors of the Air Force Material Command

Army Training Support Center, a United States Army facility at Fort Eustis

ATSC (UK) Ltd, the manufacturer of the fake ADE 651 bomb detection device

ATSC 3.0

ATSC 3.0 is a major version of the ATSC standards for television broadcasting created by the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC). ATSC 3.0 comprises around 20 standards covering different aspects of the system and in total will have over 1,000 pages of documentation.The standards are designed to offer support for newer technologies, including HEVC for video channels of up to 2160p 4K resolution at 120 frames per second, wide color gamut, high dynamic range, Dolby AC-4 and MPEG-H 3D Audio, datacasting capabilities, and more robust mobile television support. The capabilities have also been foreseen as a way to enable targeted advertising and finer public alerting.

The first major deployments of ATSC 3.0 occurred in South Korea, with the country's major television networks launching terrestrial ATSC 3.0 services in May 2017 in preparation for the 2018 Winter Olympics. In November 2017, the United States' Federal Communications Commission approved regulations allowing broadcast stations to voluntarily offer ATSC 3.0 services (Next Gen TV); however, they must be offered alongside a standard ATSC digital signal, and there will not be a mandatory transition as was done with the transition from analog NTSC to ATSC.

ATSC standards

Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) standards are a set of standards for digital television transmission over terrestrial, cable, and satellite networks. It is largely a replacement for the analog NTSC standard, and like that standard, used mostly in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Other former users of NTSC, like Japan, have not used ATSC during their digital television transition because they adopted their own system called ISDB.

The ATSC standards were developed in the early 1990s by the Grand Alliance, a consortium of electronics and telecommunications companies that assembled to develop a specification for what is now known as HDTV. The standard is now administered by the Advanced Television Systems Committee. The standard includes a number of patented elements, and licensing is required for devices that use these parts of the standard. Key among these is the 8VSB modulation system used for over-the-air broadcasts.

ATSC includes two primary high definition video formats, 1080i and 720p. It also includes standard-definition formats, although initially only HDTV services were launched in the digital format. ATSC can carry multiple channels of information on a single stream, and it is common for there to be a single high-definition signal and several standard-definition signals carried on a single 6 MHz (former NTSC) channel allocation.

ATSC tuner

An ATSC (Advanced Television Systems Committee) tuner, often called an ATSC receiver or HDTV tuner is a type of television tuner that allows reception of digital television (DTV) television channels transmitted by television stations in North America, parts of Central America and South Korea that use ATSC standards. Such tuners may be integrated into a television set, VCR, digital video recorder (DVR), or set-top box that provides audio/video output connectors of various types.

Another type of television tuner is a digital television adapter (DTA) with an analog passthrough.

Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act

The Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (H.R. 1084/S. 2847) (CALM Act) requires the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to bar the audio of TV commercials from being broadcast louder than the TV program material they accompany by requiring all "multichannel video programming" distributors to implement the "Techniques for Establishing and Maintaining Audio Loudness for Digital Television" issued by the international industry group Advanced Television Systems Committee. The final bill was passed on September 29, 2010.No specific penalties are given; those are to be set by the FCC in its regulations. A TV broadcaster or distributor is "in compliance" if it installs and uses suitable equipment and software. Unlike some FCC regulations, cable system operators are subject to the rule in addition to broadcast stations.After issuing regulations, the FCC began enforcing those regulations on December 13, 2012, after a one-year grace period.

Dolby AC-4

Dolby AC-4 is an audio compression technology developed by Dolby Laboratories. Dolby AC-4 bitstreams can contain audio channels and/or audio objects. Dolby AC-4 has been adopted by the DVB project and standardized by the ETSI.

Dolby Digital Plus

Dolby Digital Plus, also known as Enhanced AC-3 (and commonly abbreviated as DD+ or E-AC-3, or EC-3) is a digital audio compression scheme developed by Dolby Labs for transport and storage of multi-channel digital audio. It is a successor to Dolby Digital (AC-3), also developed by Dolby, and has a number of improvements including support for a wider range of data rates (32 Kbit/s to 6144 Kbit/s), increased channel count and multi-program support (via substreams), and additional tools (algorithms) for representing compressed data and counteracting artifacts. While Dolby Digital (AC-3) supports up to five full-bandwidth audio channels at a maximum bitrate of 640 Kbit/s, E-AC-3 supports up to 15 full-bandwidth audio channels at a maximum bitrate of 6.144 Mbit/s.

The full set of technical specifications for E-AC-3 (and AC-3) are standardized and published in Annex E of ATSC A/52:2012, as well as Annex E of ETSI TS 102 366 V1.2.1 (2008–08), published by the Advanced Television Systems Committee.

Ghost-canceling reference

Ghost-canceling reference (GCR) is a special sub-signal on a television channel that receivers can use to attenuate the ghosting effect of a television signal split into multiple paths between transmitter and receiver.

In the United States, the GCR signal is a chirp in frequency of the modulating signal from 0 Hz to 4.2 MHz, transmitted during the vertical blanking interval over one video line (line 19 in the U.S.), shifted in phase by 180° once per frame, with this pattern inverted every four lines. Television receivers generate their own local versions of this signal, and use the comparison between the local and remote signals to tune out any ghost images on the screen.

GCR was introduced after its recommendation in 1993 by the Advanced Television Systems Committee.


KZHO-LD is a low-power television station in the Houston area, licensed to Lake Jackson, Texas, owned by Hispanic Christian Community Network. It broadcasts in digital on UHF channel 36, displaying channel 38 to tuners via Program and System Information Protocol (PSIP).

List of ATSC standards

Below are the published ATSC standards for ATSC digital television service, issued by the Advanced Television Systems Committee.

A/49: Ghost Canceling Reference Signal for NTSC (for adjacent-channel interference or co-channel interference with analog NTSC stations nearby)

A/52B: audio data compression (Dolby AC-3 and E-AC-3)

A/53E: "ATSC Digital Television Standard" (the primary document governing the standard)

A/55: "Program Guide for Digital Television" (now deprecated in favor of A/65 PSIP)

A/57A: "Content Identification and Labeling for ATSC Transport" (for assigning a unique digital number to each episode of each TV show, to assist DVRs)

A/63: "Standard for Coding 25/50 Hz Video" (for use with PAL and SECAM-originated programming)

A/64A "Transmission Measurement and Compliance for Digital Television"

A/65C: "Program and System Information Protocol for Terrestrial Broadcast and Cable" (PSIP includes virtual channels, electronic program guides, and content ratings)

A/68: "PSIP Standard for Taiwan" (defines use of Chinese characters via Unicode 3.0)

A/69: recommended practices for implementing PSIP at a TV station

A/70A: "Conditional Access System for Terrestrial Broadcast"

A/71: "ATSC Parameterized Services Standard"

A/72: "Video System Characteristics of AVC in the ATSC Digital Television System" (implementing H.264/MPEG-4 as well as MVC for 3D television)

A/76: "Programming Metadata Communication Protocol" (XML-based PMCP maintains PSIP metadata though a TV station's airchain)

A/79: "Conversion of ATSC Signals for Distribution to NTSC Viewers" (recommended practice, issued February 2009)

A/80: "Modulation and Coding Requirements for Digital TV (DTV) Applications Over Satellite" (ATSC-S)

A/81: "Direct-to-Home Satellite Broadcast Standard" (not yet implemented by any services)

A/82: "Automatic Transmitter Power Control (ATPC) Data Return Link (DRL) Standard"

A/85: "Techniques for Establishing and Maintaining Audio Loudness for Digital Television"

A/90: "Data Broadcast Standard" (for datacasting)

A/92: "Delivery of IP Multicast Sessions over Data Broadcast Standard" (for IP multicasting)

A/93: "Synchronized/Asynchronous Trigger Standard"

A/94: "ATSC Data Application Reference Model"

A/95: "Transport Stream File System Standard" (TSFS is a special file system for downloading computer files)

A/96: "ATSC Interaction Channel Protocols" (interactive TV)

A/97: "Software Data Download Service" (used by UpdateTV for upgrades and software patches in ATSC tuners)

A/98: "System Renewability Message Transport"

A/99: "Carriage Of Legacy TV Data Services" (for former analog supplemental services that used the vertical blanking interval lines, such as closed captioning and teletext)

A/100: "DTV Application Software Environment - Level 1" (DASE-1)

A/101: "Advanced Common Application Platform" (ACAP)

A/103:2014: "Non-Real-Time Delivery"

A/104: "ATSC 3D-TV Terrestrial Broadcasting"

A/105:2015: "Interactive Services Standard"

A/106:2015: "ATSC Security and Service Protection Standard"

A/107:2015: "ATSC 2.0 Standard"

A/110A: "Synchronization Standard for Distributed Transmission" (single-frequency networks)

A/112: E-VSB (Enhanced Vestigal Sideband)

A/153: ATSC-M/HIn 2004, the main ATSC standard was amended to support Enhanced ATSC (A/112); this transmission mode is backwardly compatible with the original 8-Bit Vestigal Sideband modulation scheme, but provides much better error correction.

ATSC-M/H for mobile TV has been approved and added to some stations, though it is known that it uses MPEG-4 instead of MPEG-2 for encoding, and behaves as an MPEG-4-encoded subchannel, inheriting 8VSB from the remainder of the channel.

MPEG-H 3D Audio

MPEG-H 3D Audio, specified as ISO/IEC 23008-3 (MPEG-H Part 3), is an audio coding standard developed by the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) to support coding audio as audio channels, audio objects, or higher order ambisonics (HOA). MPEG-H 3D Audio can support up to 64 loudspeaker channels and 128 codec core channels.

Objects may be used alone or in combination with channels or HOA components. The use of audio objects allows for interactivity or personalization of a program by adjusting the gain or position of the objects during rendering in the MPEG-H decoder.

Channels, objects, and HOA components may be used to transmit immersive sound as well as mono, stereo, or surround sound. The MPEG-H 3D Audio decoder renders the bitstream to a number of standard speaker configurations as well as to misplaced speakers. Binaural rendering of sound for headphone listening is also supported.

Mobile Emergency Alert System

The Mobile Emergency Alert System (M-EAS) is an information distribution system that utilizes existing digital television spectrum and towers to provide information in emergency situations using rich media. The system can push text, web pages, and video to compatible equipment, such as mobile DTV devices. M-EAS is different than existing 90-character Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) available to cellphones, as it allows video, audio, photos and graphics, too.

Proponents of the technology point to modern reliance on mobile communication technologies and failures of the cellular network due to overload, power outage or other emergency-related damage. M-EAS does not rely on the network of cellular towers, instead making use of existing digital television broadcast equipment.

M-EAS is being standardized by the Advanced Television Systems Committee as part of ATSC-M/H, the mobile digital TV standard. WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina, was the first commercial broadcaster in the United States to demonstrate the system in 2012.A similar system in Japan is credited with saving many lives ahead of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.


Phase Alternating Line (PAL) is a colour encoding system for analogue television used in broadcast television systems in most countries broadcasting at 625-line / 50 field (25 frame) per second (576i). Other common colour encoding systems are NTSC National Television Standards Committee, ATSC Advanced Television Systems Committee, and SECAM.

All the countries using PAL are currently in process of conversion or have already converted standards to DVB, ISDB or DTMB.

This page primarily discusses the PAL colour encoding system. The articles on broadcast television systems and analogue television further describe frame rates, image resolution and audio modulation.

Program and System Information Protocol

The Program and System Information Protocol (PSIP) is the MPEG (a video and audio industry group) and privately defined program-specific information originally defined by General Instrument for the DigiCipher 2 system and later extended for the ATSC digital television system for carrying metadata about each channel in the broadcast MPEG transport stream of a television station and for publishing information about television programs so that viewers can select what to watch by title and description.

Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) (, rarely ), founded in 1916 as the Society of Motion Picture Engineers or SMPE, is a global professional association, of engineers, technologists, and executives working in the media and entertainment industry. An internationally recognized standards organization, SMPTE has more than 800 Standards, Recommended Practices, and Engineering Guidelines for broadcast, filmmaking, digital cinema, audio recording, information technology (IT), and medical imaging. In addition to development and publication of technical standards documents, SMPTE publishes the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal, provides networking opportunities for its members, produces academic conferences and exhibitions, and performs other industry-related functions.

SMPTE Membership is open to any individual or organization with interest in the subject matter.

SMPTE standards documents are copyrighted and may be purchased from the SMPTE website, or other distributors of technical standards. Standards documents may be purchased by the general public. Significant standards promulgated by SMPTE include:

All film and television transmission formats and media, including digital.

Physical interfaces for transmission of television signals and related data (such as SMPTE time code and the Serial Digital Interface) (SDI)

SMPTE color bars

Test card patterns and other diagnostic tools

The Material eXchange Format, or MXF

SMPTE ST 2110SMPTE's educational and professional development activities include technical presentations at regular meetings of its local Sections, annual and biennial conferences in the US and Australia and the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal. The society sponsors many awards, the oldest of which are the SMPTE Progress Medal, the Samuel Warner Memorial Medal, and the David Sarnoff Medal. SMPTE also has a number of Student Chapters and sponsors scholarships for college students in the motion imaging disciplines.

SMPTE is a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization.

Related organizations include

Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC)

Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG)

Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG)

ITU Radiocommunication Sector (formerly known as the CCIR)

ITU Telecommunication Sector (formerly known as the CCITT)

Digital Video Broadcasting

BBC Research Department

European Broadcasting Union (EBU)

Terrestrial television

Terrestrial television is a type of television broadcasting in which the television signal is transmitted by radio waves from the terrestrial (Earth-based) transmitter of a television station to a TV receiver having an antenna. The term terrestrial is more common in Europe and Latin America, while in the United States it is called broadcast or over-the-air television (OTA). The term "terrestrial" is used to distinguish this type from the newer technologies of satellite television (direct broadcast satellite or DBS television), in which the television signal is transmitted to the receiver from an overhead satellite, and cable television, in which the signal is carried to the receiver through a cable.

Terrestrial television was the first technology used for television broadcasting, with the first public television broadcast from Schenectady, NY, in January, 1928. The BBC began broadcasting in 1929 and by 1930 many radio stations had a regular schedule of experimental television programmes. However, these early experimental systems had insufficient picture quality to attract the public, due to their mechanical scan technology, and television did not become widespread until after World War II with the advent of electronic scan television technology. The television broadcasting business followed the model of radio networks, with local television stations in cities and towns affiliated with television networks, either commercial (in the US) or government-controlled (in Europe), which provided content. Television broadcasts were in black and white until the transition to color television in the 1950s and 60s.There was no other method of television delivery until the 1950s with the beginnings of cable television and community antenna television (CATV). CATV was, initially, only a re-broadcast of over-the-air signals. With the widespread adoption of cable across the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, viewing of terrestrial television broadcasts has been in decline; in 2013, it was estimated that about 7% of US households used an antenna. A slight increase in use began after the 2009 final conversion to digital terrestrial television broadcasts, which offer HDTV image quality as an alternative to CATV for cord cutters.

Video calibration software

Video calibration software is software used to improve the quality of commercial video reproduction.

Organizations such as the Society for Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), the Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage (CIE), the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have established standards for the proper transmission and display of video signals. Commercially available televisions do not generally conform to those standards, but often possess controls that allow those with the proper training and equipment to greatly improve the quality of image reproduction.

The Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) has promoted the value of good video reproduction and certifies candidates as ISF-trained calibrators in the techniques necessary to bring video displays in line with established broadcast, DVD, and Blu-ray standards. ISF calibrators rely upon three tools to accomplish this goal:

Color analyzer: hardware that connects to a computer that measures the light and color produced by the display device.

Test patterns: standard video test patterns that test the display’s ability to perform as expected.

Video calibration software: software that receives the signals from the color analyzer and displays the data in numerical format which is interpreted in a human interface in the form of real-time charts and graphs. Calibrators use this information to guide decisions about how to properly adjust the displays.Though the ISF popularized the value of professional video calibration, in recent years the equipment necessary to carry out the necessary tasks has become inexpensive enough that enthusiasts and prosumers have been empowered to calibrate their own displays.

There are three products that are currently available in a price range that consumers can afford.

Color HCFR


CalManColor HCFR is a freeware program developed by enthusiasts in France. It was released in 2006. ChromaPure is a commercial product that was released in 2009. It was developed by a partnership between an American ISF calibrator and a programmer. CalMAN is a commercial product that was originally released as a Microsoft Excel-based program in 2002. In 2007 it was redesigned as a standalone Windows program based around a new Calibration Optimization and Reporting Environment (CORE) engine. Written exclusively using 64-bit double-precision floating point math, the CORE engine outperforms even popular spreadsheet applications for calculation accuracy because it never has to drop to single-precision or integer operations for convenience or speed purposes. It was developed by a partnership between an American video engineer and a programmer with a goal to make video calibration increasingly accessible and more powerful.

All video calibration software interfaces with a color analyzer that reads the luminance and the color from a commercial display. The software then interprets that data, usually in xyY format, and then displays it on a laptop PC. That data allows a calibrator to correct any errors in

White point


Color gamut

Peak output (the display's output at 100% stimulus)

Black level


WDPM-DT is a Daystar owned-and-operated television station located in Mobile, Alabama, United States. It broadcasts a standard definition digital signal on UHF channel 23 from a transmitter near Robertsdale.

Digital television in North America
Satellite TV
Technical issues
SMPTE standards
Related articles
Related standards organizations

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