Broadcasters Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS), Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) and Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) have launched the world’s first terrestrial ATSC 3.0 broadcast network in South Korea for free Ultra HD broadcasts.
The network includes a total of 31 Rohde & Schwarz transmitter systems at 11 locations, according to the German technology company. In the capital Seoul, regular operation began at the end of May 2017; other regions will follow.
Through the digital terrestrial television (DTT) network, viewers will be able to watch Ultra HD content in time for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
For phase one, covering Seoul, Rohde & Schwarz delivered its R&S THU9 liquid-cooled 5 kW and 2 kW transmitters to four SBS stations at the end of 2016. In December 2016, the Rohde & Schwarz transmitter at the Kwanak station broadcast the world’s first ATSC 3.0 transmission.
In phase two of the project, all three broadcasters will expand their networks to cover metropolitan areas and the Olympic region. Rohde & Schwarz will supply the operators with 5 kW and 2 kW transmitters in customised configurations.
Phase two consists of a total of 27 transmitter systems that will be put into operation by the end of 2017. South Korea’s transition to ATSC 3.0 with 90% coverage is scheduled to be completed by 2020.
ATSC is a digital television standard mainly deployed in countries where NTSC used to be the analogue broadcast system. Its major counterparts are the European DVB standard, Japanese standard ISDB and Chinese standard DTMB.