INBUILT CONVERGENCE: A Review of Emerging 3GPP and ATSC 3.x Terrestrial Broadcast Offerings

The wireless industry is experiencing a rebirth in design methodology that places renewed emphasis on examination of the underlying service needs, in terms of the required throughput, coverage area, mobility, band allocation, and addressable bandwidth, to dimension an eventual, increasingly parameterized system specification. In recent years, the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) approved ATSC 3.0 [1]-[2]. The ATSC 3.x physical layer specification represents a major step forward in terrestrial broadcast capability, given vastly improved efficiency and configurability to address a wide range of fixed and mobile reception needs, coupled with provisions for ongoing extensibility in an integrated PHY transport. Beyond Rel-17, 3GPP is expected to revisit multicast-broadcast capabilities as an integral extension of the newly revised physical layer transport introduced with 5G-NR. 5G multicast-broadcast (5MBS) is expected to depart in measured ways from the further evolved multimedia broadcast multicast service (FeMBMS),intended as part of LTE-Advanced to improve transport efficiency, expand payload allocation for broadcast services, and address extended inter-site distances (ISD) encountered in single-frequency network (SFN) deployments [3].

This paper examines the extent to which the 3GPP offerings and ATSC 3.x are interrelated as shaped by the intended service capabilities, and explores the ways in which the respective transport systems can be harmonized in pursuit of a common multicast-broadcast service objective.

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