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Advanced Television Systems Committee, Inc.1776 K Street, N.W., Suite 200

Washington, D.C. 20006

ATSC Digital Television Standard:Part 4 MPEG-2 Video System Characteristics

Document A/53 Part 4:2009, 7 August 2009

Advanced Television Systems Committee Document A/53 Part 4:2009

The Advanced Television Systems Committee, Inc., is an international, non-profit organizationdeveloping voluntary standards for digital television. The ATSC member organizations representthe broadcast, broadcast equipment, motion picture, consumer electronics, computer, cable,satellite, and semiconductor industries.

Specifically, ATSC is working to coordinate television standards among differentcommunications media focusing on digital television, interactive systems, and broadbandmultimedia communications. ATSC is also developing digital television implementationstrategies and presenting educational seminars on the ATSC standards.

ATSC was formed in 1982 by the member organizations of the Joint Committee onInterSociety Coordination (JCIC): the Electronic Industries Association (EIA), the Institute ofElectrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), theNational Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA), and the Society of Motion Picture andTelevision Engineers (SMPTE). Currently, there are approximately 140 members representing thebroadcast, broadcast equipment, motion picture, consumer electronics, computer, cable, satellite,and semiconductor industries.

ATSC Digital TV Standards include digital high definition television (HDTV), standarddefinition television (SDTV), data broadcasting, multichannel surround-sound audio, and satellitedirect-to-home broadcasting. Contact information is given below.

The revision history of this document is given below.

Mailing address Advanced Television Systems Commmittee, Inc.1776 K Street, N.W., Suite 1200Washington, D.C. 20006

Telephone 202-872-9160 (voice), 202-872-9161 (fax)

Web site, E-mail:

NOTE: The user's attention is called to the possibility that compliance with this standard mayrequire use of an invention covered by patent rights. By publication of this standard, no positionis taken with respect to the validity of this claim or of any patent rights in connection therewith.One or more patent holders have, however, filed a statement regarding the terms on which suchpatent holder(s) may be willing to grant a license under these rights to individuals or entitiesdesiring to obtain such a license. Details may be obtained from the ATSC Secretary and thepatent holder.

A/53 Part 4 Revision HistoryA/53 Part 4:2007 approved 3 January 2007

Amendment No. 1 approved 24 December 2007

A/53 Part 4:2009 approved 7 August 2009

Editorial correction to reference [17] 23 August 2011


MPEG-2 Video System Characteristics, Table of Contents 7 August 2009

Table of Contents

1. SCOPE 5


2.1 Normative References 52.2 Informative References 6


3.1 Treatment of Syntactic Elements 63.2 Symbols, Abbreviations, and Mathematical Operators 6




6.1 Constraints with Respect to ISO/IEC 13818-2 Main Profile 96.1.1 Sequence Header Constraints 96.1.2 Compression Format Constraints 96.1.3 Sequence Extension Constraints 106.1.4 Sequence Display Extension Constraints 106.1.5 Picture Header Constraints 106.1.6 Picture Coding Constraints 11

6.2 Bit Stream Specifications Beyond MPEG-2 116.2.1 Picture Extension and User Data Syntax 116.2.2 Picture User Data Syntax 116.2.3 ATSC Picture User Data Semantics 12 Captioning Data Bar Data 13 Recommended Receiver Response to Bar Data 156.2.4 Active Format Description Data 15 AFD Syntax AFD Semantics Recommended Receiver Response to AFD 17

6.2.5 Relationship Between Bar Data and AFD (Informative) 17


Advanced Television Systems Committee Document A/53 Part 4:2009

Index of Tables and Figures

Table 5.1 Standardized Video Input Formats 8Table 6.1 Sequence Header Constraints 9Table 6.2 Compression Format Constraints 9Table 6.3 Sequence Extension Constraints 10Table 6.4 Sequence Display Extension Constraints 10Table 6.5 Picture Extension and User Data Syntax (Informative) 11Table 6.6 Picture User Data Syntax 11Table 6.7 user_data_identifier Value Assignments 12Table 6.8 ATSC_user_data Syntax 12Table 6.9 user_data_type_code Value Assignments 12Table 6.10 Captioning Data Syntax 13Table 6.12 Line Number Designation 14Table 6.11 Bar Data Syntax 14Table 6.13 Active Format Description Syntax 16Table 6.14 Active Format 17

Figure 4.1 ITU-R digital terrestrial television broadcasting model. 7Figure 4.2 High level view of encoding equipment. 8


ATSC Digital Television Standard:Part 4 MPEG-2 Video System Characteristics


This Part describes the characteristics of the video subsystem of the Digital Television Standard.The input formats and bit stream characteristics are described in separate sections.


At the time of publication, the editions indicated were valid. All standards are subject to revision,and parties to agreement based on this standard are encouraged to investigate the possibility ofapplying the most recent editions of the documents listed below.

2.1 Normative References

The following documents contain provisions which, through reference in this text, constituteprovisions of this standard.

[1] CEA: Digital Television (DTV) Closed Captioning, Doc. CEA-708-D, ConsumerElectronics Association, Arlington, VA, August 2008.

[2] ISO: ISO/IEC IS 13818-1:2000 (E), International Standard, Information technology Generic coding of moving pictures and associated audio information: systems.

[3] ISO: ISO/IEC IS 13818-2:2000 (E), International Standard, Information technology Generic coding of moving pictures and associated audio information: video.

[4] SMPTE: Standard for TelevisionComponent Video Signal 4:2:2, Bit-Parallel DigitalInterface, Doc. SMPTE 125M (1995), Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers,White Plains, N.Y., 1995.

[5] SMPTE: Standard for TelevisionComposite Analog Video Signal, NTSC for StudioApplications, Doc. SMPTE 170M (2004), Society of Motion Picture and TelevisionEngineers, White Plains, N.Y., 2004.

[6] SMPTE: Standard for TelevisionBit-Parallel Digital Interface, Component Video Signal4:2:2 16 x 9 Aspect Ratio, Doc. SMPTE 267M (1995), Society of Motion Picture andTelevision Engineers, White Plains, N.Y., 1995.

[7] SMPTE: Standard for Television1920 x 1080 Scanning and Analog and Parallel DigitalInterfaces for Multiple Picture Rates, Doc. SMPTE 274M (2005), Society of MotionPicture and Television Engineers, White Plains, N.Y., 2005.

[8] SMPTE: Standard for Television720 x 483 Active Line at 59.94-Hz Progressive ScanProduction, Digital Representation, Doc. SMPTE 293M (2003), Society of Motion Pictureand Television Engineers, White Plains, N.Y., 2003.

[9] SMPTE: Standard for Television1280 x 720 Progressive Image Sample Structure,Analog and Digital Representation and Analog Interface, Doc. SMPTE 296M (2001),Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, White Plains, N.Y., 2001.

Page 5

Advanced Television Systems Committee Document A/53 Part 4:2009

[10] ETSI: Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB): Implementation Guidelines for the use ofMPEG-2 Systems, Video and Audio in Satellite, Cable and Terrestrial BroadcastingApplications, Doc. ETSI TS 101 154 V1.7.1, Annex B, June 2005.

2.2 Informative References

[11] Digital TV Group: Digital Receiver Implementation Guidelines and RecommendedReceiver Reaction to Aspect Ratio Signaling in Digital Video Broadcasting, Issue 1.2.1,February 2001.

[12] ITU: Encoding Parameters of Digital Television for Studios, Doc. ITU-R BT.601-5(1994).

[13] ITU: Parameter values for the HDTV Standards for Production and InternationalProgramme Exchange, Doc. ITU-R BT. 709-5 (2002).

[14] SCTE: Standard for Carriage of NTSC VBI Data in Cable Digital Transport Streams, Doc.ANSI/SCTE 21 2001R2006, Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, Exton, PA,2006.

[15] CEA: Active Format Description (AFD) & Bar Data Recommended Practice, Doc. CEA-CEB16, Consumer Electronics Association, Arlington, VA, 31 July 2006.

[16] SMPTE: Standard for TelevisionFormat for Active Format Description and Bar Data,Doc. SMPTE 2016-1 (2007), Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, WhitePlains, N.Y.

[17] ATSC: Digital Television Standard, Part 1 Digital Television System, Doc. A/53, Part1:2009, Advanced Television Systems Committee, Washington, D.C., 7 August 2009.

[18] SMPTE Registration Authority:


As used in this document, shall denotes a mandatory provision of the standard. Shoulddenotes a provision that is recommended but not mandatory. May denotes a feature whosepresence does not preclude compliance, that may or may not be present at the option of theimplementor.

3.1 Treatment of Syntactic Elements

This document contains symbolic references to syntactic elements used in the audio, video, andtransport coding subsystems. These references are typographically distinguished by the use of adifferent font (e.g., restricted), may contain the underscore character (e.g., sequence_end_code) andmay consist of character strings that are not English words (


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