At the NAB Show in New York, executives from a number of television station groups affirmed their support for the introduction of the ATSC 3.0 next-generation broadcast standard. It is expected to come into service from 2020, with the anticipated introduction of receivers supporting the new standard, which combines broadcast and internet technologies and is incompatible with existing transmissions.
The ATSC 3.0 digital television system is described as a suite of voluntary technical standards and recommended practices. It is capable of delivering ultra-high-definition channels, uses internet protocols for transport, and enables interactive services.
The participating broadcast groups represent an industry-wide effort for ATSC 3.0 deployment. They will continue to work collaboratively to determine how broadcasters can offer both ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0, and significantly expand the availability and footprint of the next-generation standard.
“One big challenge was whether the big owners of valuable spectrum could work together, commit resources, and stick to the game plan. Done, done and done,” Jack Abernethy, the chief executive at FOX Television Stations, said in a statement. The FOX group comprises 28 stations in 17 markets.
The president of NBCUniversal owned television stations described ATSC 3.0 as “something that as an industry we have to do”. He added: “The new standard will transform the way we deliver content to our audiences, including viewers who are consuming information in multiple languages and screens. ATSC 3.0 will also help us to better connect advertisers with the audiences they want to reach on any platform.” The NBCUniversal group includes 40 NBC and Telemundo local television stations serving 28 markets.
Vince Sadusky, the chief executive of Univision, said “As one of the largest TV spectrum holders in the US, we are eager to bring an enhanced audio and video experience to our audience, as well as new services and capabilities to our advertising partners.” Univision owns or operates 63 television stations in major Hispanic markets.
Peal TV is a business alliance of a number of media groups that operate more than 300 network-affiliated local stations across the country. “Pearl TV’s 300 local broadcasters, along with our network partners, are working together to deliver a national Next-Gen TV service by the end of 2020,” said Dave Lougee, the chief executive of Tegna, a member of the Pearl TV broadcast group.
Nextar Media Group owns, operates or supports 171 television stations in 100 markets. Together with Sinclair Broadcast it has founded SpectrumCo to build a new national distribution network using the ATSC 3.0 capacity of member stations.
Perry Sook, the chief executive of Nexstar, representing SpectrumCo, said: “SpectrumCo and Pearl TV consortium members are aligned in our commitment to the voluntary scaled adoption of the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard across the US.” He said that advancing the ATSC 3.0 standard is critical to facilitating future innovation in the local broadcast television industry. “With more than 350 SpectrumCo stations participating and additional new members in the pipeline, SpectrumCo broadcasters will add immense scale and depth to the collaborative industry wide rollout of ATSC 3.0.”
A pilot project in Pheonix, Arizona, was launched nearly a year previously and has offered a proving ground for broadcast equipment and new services. A survey conducted on behalf of the partners in the project suggested consumer interest in the new standard, with 42% of those interested saying they anticipate buying a new television to access the services.