KBS UHD Broadcasting

KBS will usher in an era of ultra-high-definition quality terrestrial broadcasting starting in May. The use of domestically developed new devices and technology has attracted keen international attention.

Trial broadcasts began last month ahead of the formal launch of an ultra-high-definition television service scheduled for this May. The drama “Descendants of the Sun” and special documentaries are airing on the UHD channels of KBS 1 and 2 TV. An international conference was held to introduce the UHD broadcasting industry to Korea’s technology at its center. Key U.S. broadcasting industry figures attended and showed great interest in Korea’s UHD terrestrial broadcasts.

Congressional Testimony: AWARN to Save Lives

Members of Congress heard all about AWARN’s benefits during the U.S. House Communications and Technology Subcommittee’s May 17 hearing on emergency alerting. NAB CTO Sam Matheny testified on behalf of the industry, and his compelling demonstration of  AWARN’s capabilities during the hearing was well received. Matheny highlighted how AWARN’s “public safety benefits of Next Gen TV and advanced emergency alerting can significantly improve the content, pervasiveness, accessibility and reliability of America’s emergency alerting systems and hopefully save lives.”

Download the full statement from Chief Technology Officer Sam Matheny

AWARN a ‘Rare Opportunity,’ Alliance Tells FCC

In comments filed May 9 with the Federal Communications Commission in response to the FCC’s Next Gen TV Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the AWARN Alliance “urges the Commission to adopt the proposed rules to allow the permissive use of the Next Generation broadcast television transmission standard and hasten the day when the American public can take full advantage of AWARN’s many benefits.”

 “AWARN presents a rare opportunity to dramatically improve America’s public safety communications capability. AWARN alerting can provide this public benefit by dual-use of the nation’s existing television broadcasting transmission capacity and the new technology of Next Gen TV,” states Executive Director John Lawson on behalf of the alliance.

Download the full AWARN Alliance Comments on the Next Gen TV NPRM below:

Advanced Emergency Alerts to be Unveiled at NAB Show 2017

AWARN Alliance Membership More than Doubles After One Year

Washington, D.C., April 18, 2017 – Marking its one-year anniversary, the AWARN Alliance will demonstrate what could become the future of emergency alerting in the United States and other countries at the NAB 2017 Show in Las Vegas next week.

The Advanced Warning and Response Network will leverage the powerful new features of the coming Next Generation Television technical standard, also known as ATSC 3.0, to dramatically upgrade the content, pervasiveness, and reliability of disaster warning and recovery information.

“Geo-targeted, rich media AWARN alerts will give people a whole new level of life-saving information, literally at their fingertips. AWARN has the ability to deliver not only text, but photos, surveillance video, storm tracks, plume models, evacuation routes, shelter-in-place instructions, hospital wait times, power outages, and many other forms of vital content,” said AWARN Alliance Executive Director John Lawson.

These capabilities will far exceed emergency systems available to the American public today, primarily the Emergency Alert System (EAS), rooted in the Cold War, with its familiar tones and bars for radio and television, and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) text messages, currently limited to 90 characters, distributed by wireless carriers. “Because of the flexibility of ATSC 3.0, AWARN can easily transmit multilingual and accessible media as well,” Lawson said.

AWARN will leverage other powerful features of Next Generation Television, including the ability to “wake up” devices, robust indoor and mobile reception, personalization, and integration with hybrid networks. AWARN alerts can also be delivered to mobile devices even if the cellular network is overloaded or the electric grid is down.

AWARN Alliance Expands

The AWARN Alliance is a coalition of commercial and public broadcasters, consumer electronics and broadcast technology companies, national trade groups, and service providers who have come together to develop and deploy AWARN. Membership in the Alliance has more than doubled since its founding just one year ago, adding public broadcasters, national groups, tech companies, and law firms.

The Alliance, along with the Consumer Technology Association, the National Association of Broadcasters, and America’s Public Televisions Stations, is a signatory to the April 2016 “joint petition” to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting rules to allow broadcasters to begin transmitting in the ATSC 3.0 standard on a voluntary basis. The FCC approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for that purpose on February 23 of this year.

Advanced Alert Demonstrations Using Next Generation Television

A key goal of the Alliance is to develop models that can be adopted seamlessly as ATSC 3.0 is launched by early adopter stations in 2018. The Alliance is making steady progress toward that goal, including the demonstrations at the NAB Show in Las Vegas next week:

  • AMBER: With the support of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, WJLA in Arlington, Virginia, and LG Electronics and its Zenith affiliate, the Alliance has produced an advanced AMBER alert demo.
  • Tornado: With ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, Alabama and LG/Zenith, the Alliance has produced a tornado warning based on the real events of April 27, 2011, a ‘super outbreak’ that claimed more than 250 lives in the Birmingham-Tuscaloosa area of Alabama.
  • Chemical spill: And with WJLA, LG/Zenith, and Digital Alert Systems, the Alliance has produced a “HazMat” chemical spill alert, loosely based on the May 2016 CSX train derailment in Northeast Washington, DC.

Triveni Digital also supported production of each demo. Currently WRAL in Raleigh, North Carolina, with the support of UNC-TV in Chapel Hill, is producing an active shooter alert that includes encrypted content for first responders.

Demos and Meeting at NAB Show 2017

The three prototypes encoded by LG for ATSC 3.0 can be viewed at the Next-Gen TV Hub, booth L11, in the Grand Lobby of Central Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

To test and demonstrate broadcasters’ flexibility in implementing advanced alerting, NAB PILOT has re-encoded two of the alerts as HTML5 apps that can be broadcast through the ATSC 3.0 signal and received on tablets via a home gateway device. Those demos can be viewed at Futures Park in NAB PILOT booth N1838FP in North Hall.

The Alliance is also hosting an executive breakfast on Wednesday, April 26 from 8-9 am PT in Westgate Conference Rooms 1-2 that focuses on synergies between AWARN alerts and Next Gen TV business models. Contact AWARN Alliance Deputy Director Fiona James at [email protected] to register.

Members (Including Key Subsidiaries) of the AWARN Alliance, as of April 18, 2017

Advanced Emergency Alerting Implementation Team, Airwavz, America’s Public Television Stations, Arland Communications, Convergence Services, Inc., Capitol Broadcasting Company/WRAL, Digital Alert Systems, DigiCap USA, the Interactive Television Alliance, Kentucky Educational Television, KPBS/California State University-San Diego, LG Electronics, Lokita Solutions, MHz Networks, Monroe Electronics, National Association of Broadcasters, ONE Media, Pearl TV (joint venture of eight of the largest TV station groups), Sinclair Broadcast Group, Triveni Digital, UNC-TV, Vegas PBS, Wiley Rein LLP, WKAR/Michigan State University, WNET/Thirteen, and Zenith Electronics.

Advanced Alerting Advisory Committee Planned

The AWARN Alliance also is forming an Advanced Alerting Advisory Committee. “The Alliance has consulted extensively with public safety organizations in producing the first demonstration alerts. To convene more structured user groups as template design moves forward, we are in active discussions with multiple alert originator organizations to form the advisory committee,” said AWARN Alliance Deputy Director Fiona James.

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Contact: John Lawson
AWARN Alliance
Office +1 (703) 347-7070
Mobile +1 (202) 302-1654
[email protected]

Key AWARN Resource: Social Science Research From The National Academies Of Sciences

Key AWARN Resource: Social Science Research from the National Academies of Sciences

By John M. Lawson, AWARN Alliance Executive Director

Creating advanced alerting is not just about engineering and bandwidth. It’s also about social science. Ultimately, the most elegant technology is only effective if people understand and respond to messages and take action to minimize danger. Later this year, AWARN Alliance user groups will build on our alerting prototypes and create replicable templates and protocols. We hope to have social scientists at the table.

The AWARN Alliance was invited to make a presentation to the Committee on the Future of Emergency Alert and Warning Systems of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, which met on the campus of the University of California, San Diego. The committee of distinguished academics and industry and public safety professionals is completing a report funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate. They will be recommending future research directions, and I was honored to brief them on the Advanced Warning and Response Network and our research needs.

Building on a Foundation of Alerting Research

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A major focus of the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) committee has been the 90-character Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA). According to a 2015 study for NAS by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), longer messages, as well as messages that change the traditional order that content is presented, are more effective. The study also investigated additional elements that could be included in a WEA. For a 280-characater mock WEA, adding apps and hyperlinks appeared beneficial, whereas adding maps, did not. Both elements “merit additional research.”

START’s and other social science research has examined alerting in what might be called an environment of “scarcity,” where bandwidth, and therefore, message content is limited. The problem of “milling,” in which people delay taking action because information is insufficient or unverified, is a well-documented alerting shortfall. We believe that geo-targeted, rich-media, and personalized AWARN Alerts can mitigate the problem of milling and improve alerting at many levels.

Possible New Research Areas

In my presentation to the Committee, I outlined some possible research areas in an environment of what I call rich-media “abundance” that could help us create the most effective AWARN alerts:

  • Explore the social science of rich-media, interactive alerting,
  • Identify and inventory rich-media assets of alert originators,
  • Align alert originator assets with ATSC 3.0 capabilities, and
  • Drive latency out of the alerting chain to use AWARN for Earthquake Early Warnings.

We commend the NAS and their Committee on the Future of Emergency Alert and Warning Systems. It is encouraging for the AWARN Alliance to be invited to participate in their important dialogue. The past, current, and future work of this vital group will inform the work of the AWARN Alliance as we move beyond prototypes to the actual deployment of next-generation alerts.

 

AWARN Presents At APCO Emerging Tech Forum

AWARN Presents at APCO Emerging Tech Forum

The APCO Emerging Technology Forum in Raleigh NC.  The Association of Public Safety Communication Officials (APCO), held its Emerging Technology Forum in Raleigh NC, on February 28 – March 1, 2017. AWARN Alliance members, Pete Sockett of Capitol Broadcasting Company, Fred Engel and Adam Woodlief of UNC–TV, presented. Their presentation concentrated on ATSC 3.0 and AWARN’s Public and Public Safety facing capabilities.  The audience consisted of state and local public safety officials as well as on the ground personnel.  The presentation was well received and this presentation was used to illustrate at the Forum.

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Ex Parte Notice Authorizing Permissive Use Of The “Next Generation” Broadcast Television Standard

Ex Parte Notice Authorizing Permissive Use of the “Next Generation” Broadcast Television Standard

Via ECFS

March 7, 2017

Ms. Marlene H. Dortch Secretary
Federal Communications Commission 445 12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20554

 

Re: Ex Parte Notice: GN Docket No. 16-142, Authorizing Permissive Use of the “Next Generation” Broadcast Television Standard

 

Dear Ms. Dortch:

On March 6, 2017, the undersigned hosted members of the Commission’s Media Bureau at the ONE Media offices in Arlington, Virginia to demonstrate the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN) and other capabilities of the proposed ATSC 3.0, Next Generation (“Next Gen”), broadcast transmission standard. The pending rulemaking proceeding to approve use of the new standard was discussed as well. A list of those in attendance is attached.

Members of the AWARN Alliance were present to demonstrate the geo- targeting, rich media, and other capabilities made possible with the Next Gen standard. AMBER, chemical spill, and tornado warning prototypes were presented. These demonstrations showed how the Next Gen standard moves far beyond simple text messages on receive devices to display photos of missing children, kidnapping suspects, vehicle identity and location maps. Similarly, Doppler radar, evacuation routes, toxic cloud locations, specific shelter advice, and hospital wait times were shown to display dramatically the advantages of the Next Gen standard.

The AWARN demos were proceeded by a presentation by ONE Media focused on the inadequacies of the current DTV standard, including: lack of mobility, inability to connect with Internet-enabled devices, deficient emergency notifications, and the inability to hyper-localize programming or advertising. In contrast, the advances enabled by the Next Gen standard were highlighted within the broadcast one-to-many architecture supplemented with the change to an Internet Protocol distribution process and more robust modulation and compression technologies. Together, these elements help meet the evolving needs of both viewers and broadcasters.

 

The Next Gen capabilities were also discussed in the context of the questions posed by the Commission in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Specifically, it was noted that this limited technical proceeding should not be the vehicle to expand programming obligations or other rules not directly tied to the optional, voluntary use of the new standard. Only the “bootstrap” portion of the ATSC 3.0 “physical layer” is required for Commission approval, and the Commission should take all steps necessary to permit accelerated deployment so consumers can gain the significant advantages made possible by the new standard.

The demonstration also provided an example of consumer-facing devices using the new standard, which highlighted a variety of flexible options available to viewers. Those included multiple programming streams, video-on-demand options, personalized program choices, “hybrid” broadcast-broadband networks permitting interactivity, along with an example of a “home gateway” device to enable ATSC 1.0 devices through existing Wi-Fi distribution of a Next Gen signal.

Please contact the undersigned should you have any questions regarding this matter.

 

 

Sincerely,

/s/ 

John M. Lawson Executive Director

 

 

cc: Listed on attached

 

Demonstration attendees:

From the FCC:

Michelle Carey

Martha Heller

Steve Broeckaert

Kathy Berthot

Kim Matthews

Kevin Harding

Hossein Hashemzadeh

Evan Morris

Sean Yun

Sean Mirzadegan

From AWARN Alliance:

John Lawson Fiona James

From National Association of Broadcasters:

So Vang

Allison Neplokh

From Monroe Electronics:

Ed Czarnecki

From Sinclair Broadcast Group:

Rebecca Hanson Amanda Ota

From ONE Media, LLC:

Jerald Fritz

Statement by John M. Lawson Executive Director, AWARN Alliance on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for voluntary ATSC 3.0 transmission

“The AWARN Alliance applauds Chairman Pai and the Commission for releasing the text of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for voluntary ATSC 3.0 transmission.

“ATSC 3.0 is the world’s most advanced television transmission standard, and it will enable the world’s most advanced emergency alerting system, the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN).

“We commend Chairman Pai for recognizing ATSC 3.0’s life-saving potential during this time on the Commission. The diverse and growing membership of the AWARN Alliance looks forward to the coming rulemaking proceeding.”

SBE FORMS EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM ADVISORY GROUP

Complementing the advocacy work of the AWARN Alliance and the technical work of the ATSC Advanced Emergency Alerting Implementation Team, the Society of Broadcast Engineers (SBE) established a new advisory group on the Emergency Alert System (EAS).According to SBE President Jerry Massey, the purpose of their new EAS Advisory Group is to stay abreast of EAS developments in technology and policy and to communicate pertinent developments to SBE leadership and staff.The SBE has been actively involved with EAS since it was launched. As the system evolved to include new technologies and alerting partners, the SBE adapted to become an effective EAS implementation resource for broadcasters.

Working with various EAS partners, from stations to manufacturers to policymakers, the SBE is “broadcasters’ trusted source of EAS information,” Massey explains. The SBE EAS Advisory Group expands those efforts begun by previous SBE committees.

SBE EAS Advisory Group Chairman Larry Wilkins says the group will leverage expertise of its members and contacts at the FCC and FEMA to address origination or distribution issues of broadcast stations and state emergency communications committees.

For more information about the SBE, contact John L. Poray, CAE, executive director, at [email protected] or 317-846-9000, or visit the SBE website, www.sbe.org.

AWARN Advisory Council