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April 20, 2022

Enabling Technology Demo Could be First Step for 8K via ATSC 3.0

The ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard includes many new technologies for over-the-air broadcast. Among them is the ability to increase data rates within the 6 MHz broadcast channel using a technology called Multiple Input and Multiple Output (MIMO). Evoca TV demonstrated the broadcast of an 8K via ATSC 3.0 signal using MIMO. While the focus is not necessarily enabling an 8K broadcast, the technology can support this.

MIMO allows for both horizontally-polarized and vertically-polarized transmission and reception, potentially doubling the channel capacity. Evoca successfully transmitted television content using the cross-polarization functionality, a first-ever accomplishment in the U.S.

This capability can potentially transmit a single 8K channel, multiple or higher quality 4K/FHD channels, or a combination of channels and data. The MIMO cross-polarized TV broadcast is the culmination of many months of work. It is a collaborative project between Evoca and transmitter manufacturer Rohde & Schwarz, media software firm Enensys Technologies, broadcast array specialist Kathrein Broadcast, signal analysis company Avateq Corporation and receiving antenna manufacturer Televes.

Evoca TV, the Idaho-based television service now offering over-the-air and internet-delivered channels to subscribers in Idaho, Colorado, and Arizona, used their Channel 35 in Boise, Idaho, to perform the demonstration. An ATSC equipment upgrade is required to use the MIMO capability. Evoca TV controls both the transmitters and customer receivers, so it now plans to begin the development of receivers for customer use that include both MOMO reception and 5G reception.

The ability to transmit 8K content using MIMO has been demonstrated already by ETRI, a Korean research lab, as we reported last May (Can ATSC 3.0 Distribute 8K Content? The Answer is Yes).

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In the ETRI demo, they used two separate antennas.  The Evoca TV demo used a single newly-designed antenna developed by Kathrein Broadcast.

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