WKAR Hosts ‘The Future of Television and Data Delivery’ with ATSC 3.0

(L-R) Dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences Prabu David and WKAR’s Director of Broadcasting and General Manager Susi Elkins at the start of NextGen TV Day.

On September 19, WKAR Public Media and MSU ComArtSci hosted a NextGen TV Day at their East Lansing studios.  The long session featured ATSC 3.0 demos, with presentations from partners working with WKAR’s experimental ATSC 3.0 television station.

Gaian Solutions Founder/CEO Chandra Kotaru discussed ATSC 3.0’s ability to provide rich media in education for those without cable or who may live in rural areas.  ATSC 3.0 allows providers to deliver targeted content, not just video.  He also covered emergency alerting in the ATSC 3.0 and that it can target alerts to specific audiences.  As an example, it can deliver traffic alerts to people in cars in specific locations.  There was a demonstration of a weather alert popup on the television monitor, again delivered to a specific geographical location.  Kotaru also stated that automobile manufacturers are waiting for broadcasters to begin using this new technology that they can incorporate it into their vehicles.  He also showed slides of highway signage fed by a ATSC 3.0 data stream, including speed limit signs that can be changed on demand when weather conditions and/or traffic require.

Fred Engel, Chief Technology Officer of UNC-TV Public Media in North Carolina discussed his group’s work with the public safety opportunities that will be available with ATSC 3.0.  In one demonstration, he showed that in today’s world, it may take up to 67 seconds once a 911 call is made for a dispatcher to alert fire fighters of an emergency, going through analog channels.  But with ATSC it can happen in as little as 1 second.  He also said that in today’s environment, multiple emergency alerts can stack up on analog channels, whereas with ATSC 3.0, they can all be immediately sent.

ATSC 3.0 weather alert popup delivered to television set.

Mark Corl, Sr. VP Emergent Technology Development of Triveni Digital discussed his work with WKAR on the station’s Curious Crew series and the experiments going on that can make the program more interactive with its viewers.

Later in the day there was a demo of the ComArtSci Virtual Reality Lab, a ribbon-cutting for the Media Innovation Lab created by MSU and WKAR, with MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr.  This was followed by a tour of the MSU Spartan Mobility Park.  Its purpose is to drive mobility research and development to advance smart-vehicle technology and better understand the human element.