Making the (Smooth) Transition to ATSC 3.0 with IP Link
November 2, 2022

Vislink’s IP Link 3.0 helps broadcasters deliver next-generation content experiences and unlock revenue generation opportunities. 

The trend among US television broadcasters to migrate to ‘next-generation TV’ (aka ultra-high definition ATSC 3.0) technology, which seems to have been predicted for years, has seen impressive acceleration since the pandemic abated. In a report issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this past summer, ATSC 3.0 stations had been licensed to operate in 68 markets, representing over 50% of US households. The coverage goal for ATSC 3.0 is 80%, and there is a good chance that figure will be reached by early 2023.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of broadcast television’s death may have been greatly exaggerated.

NextGen TV —a hybrid broadcast and IP-based delivery standard — packs a considerable technology punch, supporting features designed to enhance the content experience today’s audience crave. This includes crisp 4k resolution, HDR content, advanced Dolby audio, better signal reliability, as well as options for accessibility, personalization and interactivity.

For broadcasters, making the ATSC 3.0 transition adds value to their service platform by opening the door to new business models and revenue generation opportunities. To ease their migration from ATSC 1.0 to 3.0, Vislink designed the IP Link 3.0 advanced studio transmitter link system.

IPLINK3 NextGen TVIP Link 3.0 was engineered to facilitate the transformation to ATSC 3.0 by functioning as a future-proof, next-generation digital microwave system. This all-new IP-centric radio platform provides Ethernet connectivity for ATSC 3.0 while maintaining legacy ASI interfaces that broadcasters depend on for present-day ATSC 1.0 and ancillary digital transmissions. IP Link 3.0 allows broadcasters to easily upgrade to ATSC 3.0 and carry high quality IP video data out from the studio to transmitter sites over RF links. The IP Link system delivers ultra-high linear RF output performance, coupled with the reliability that LDPC forward error correction affords in mitigating errors in data transmissions over long or unreliable microwave paths.

With hundreds of successful deployments over the years, the IP Link product platform has been recognized as the industry’s premier broadcast microwave radio system — in no small part due to its ability to provide unparalleled performance and reliability. Vislink’s IPLink 3.0 offers the same features as its predecessor, with the addition of modulation rates to 1024QAM. 1024QAM provides higher data throughput and XPIC (Cross-Polarization Interference Cancellation) and allows operators to double data capacity all within the same RF channel bandwidth.

Vislink’s IP data over RF system provides a low-cost infrastructure deployment that delivers data access to often remote or hard-to-access transmitter locations. The IP Link 3.0’s use of high order modulations and strong FEC ensures stations can be confident of a robust RF link that requires minimal bandwidth allocations. With the Vislink IP Link 3.0 providing a low-cost infrastructure deployment, broadcast stations can focus on launching ATSC 3.0’s key features such as 4K UHD/HDR and immersive audio, as well as seeking new revenue streams through interactive services.

Vislink’s IP Link 3.0 coupled with ATSC 3.0 offers a variety of innovative benefits and solutions to meet the unique needs of today’s users. For instance, a public safety feature allows for the delivery of public alerts and mission-critical video and images to local and regional first responders during emergencies. In addition, the ability to deliver customized and targeted learning programs to rural and other underserved areas is a further key benefit.

Typical applications for IP Link 3.0 include:

  • Studio-to-Transmitter Links (STL)
  • Transmitter-to-Studio Links (TSL)
  • Inter-city Relay Backhaul (ICR)
  • Multi-hop Microwave Relay Systems
  • High-capacity IP Microwave Systems
  • ATSC 1.0/3.0 Lighthouse applications

Earlier this year, Vislink gained a noteworthy partner in promoting its NextGen TV solutions to broadcast organizations by signing an agreement with COMARK (Hitachi Kokusai Electric Comark) to be a reseller, integrator and service provider for the IP Link 3.0 system. COMARK, a manufacturer and supplier of DTV transmitters, encoding systems, and associated field services for 50 years, is a major supplier to the North American broadcast DTV market. COMARK has been heavily involved in assisting customers navigate their migration from ATSC 1.0 to ATSC 3.0, and the company operates a full laboratory for equipment testing, integration and customer demonstrations.

The addition of COMARK’s capabilities represents a significant new resource in Vislink’s efforts to address broadcasters’ connectivity requirements in both MFN (Multiple Frequency Networks) and SFN (Single Frequency Networks) ATSC 3.0 architectures. With viewers continuing to demand more immersive and engaging broadcast experiences, solutions like the Vislink IP Link 3.0 system offer a compelling option for broadcasters to realize business model efficiencies and monetization pathways that are being made available by ATSC 3.0.

Find more information about the Vislink IP Link here