Archived — Notice SMBR-002-97

Government Notice

Department of Industry

Radiocommunication Act

Notice No. SMBR-002-97

Adoption of Standard for Digital Television (DTV) Broadcasting in Canada

The purpose of this Notice is to propose the adoption of the modified "A/53" DTV Standard to replace the current NTSC standard used for analog terrestrial VHF and UHF digital television broadcasting in Canada. This modified standard was adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States, in MM Docket NO. 87-268, on December 24, 1996. Canada participated in the testing and evolution of the A/53 DTV Standard. This standard has also been recommended by the Task Force on the Implementation of Digital Television in Canada.

The Digital Television Standard describes a system designed to transmit high quality video and audio and ancillary data over a 6 MHz channel that can reliably provide about 19 Mbps of throughput using 8VSB RF modulation. The Digital Television Standard is based on the ISO/IEC MPEG-2 Video Standard, the Digital Audio Compression (Dolby AC-3) Standard, and the ISO/IEC MPEG-2 Systems Standard. The standard provides for the transmission of one High Definition Television program or several (four, five or more) Standard Definition Television programs; many CD-quality audio signals; and large amounts of data. It does not include requirements with respect to scanning formats, aspect ratios or lines of resolution.

By adopting the same standard for terrestrial digital television transmission as the United States, which is also anticipated to be adopted by Mexico, Canada would be assured of North-American compatibility in program transmission and production and of the availability of common consumer digital television receivers.

It is expected that the proposed system will meet the needs of the Canadian broadcasting system for a flexible and high-quality digital television service.

Public consultation on the DTV Allotment Plan and Broadcast Procedures and Rules will follow at a later date.

The DTV Standard is described in ATSC Doc. A/53 ("ATSC Digital Television Standard, 16 September 95"). As adopted by the FCC and proposed for adoption in Canada, the standard is modified by not including Section 5.1.2 ("Compression format constraints") or Table 3, "Compression Format Constraints," as contained in Annex A ("Video Systems Characteristics") or the references to that Table. The standard also incorporates ATSC Doc. A/52 ("ATSC Digital Audio Compression Standard (AC-3), 20 Dec. 95") in its entirety.

The A/53 and A/52 ATSC documents are available at the following Internet WWW addresses: for the English version and for the French version.

Interested parties may submit comments on this proposal to the Director General, Spectrum Engineering Branch, Department of Industry, 300 Slater Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0C8, or at the Internet address

Comments should be submitted no later than 60 days from the date of publication of this notice. Comments received will be made available on written request to the Director General.

Dated at Ottawa this 12th day of June 1997.

R.W. McCaughern

Interim Director General
Spectrum Engineering Branch

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