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Cable Tech

Evoca takes on Charter, satellite TV players in Traverse City, Michigan

Evoca, a newcomer that's using a blend of IP-based ASTC 3.0 broadcast signals and traditional broadband streams to deliver pay-TV packages, will soon take on incumbent cable operator Charter Communications, along with Dish Network and DirecTV, in Traverse City, Michigan.

There, Evoca has teamed up with Heritage Broadcasting to launch a pay-TV package next month for the introductory price of $25 per month. The no-contract service, which will also grapple with virtual multichannel video programming distributors such as YouTube TV and FuboTV, features a lineup of more than 60 channels, including local broadcast TV feeds and Michigan Sports Now Plus, a network focused on local community sports.

Evoca recently connected with CommScope to deliver its pay-TV service via a new 'Pilot' receiver that is equipped with Android TV and dual, multimode ATSC 3.0 and ATSC 1.0 tuners. 
(Source: CommScope and Evoca)
Evoca recently connected with CommScope to deliver its pay-TV service via a new "Pilot" receiver that is equipped with Android TV and dual, multimode ATSC 3.0 and ATSC 1.0 tuners.
(Source: CommScope and Evoca)

Traverse City will mark Evoca's sixth US market launch. It builds on earlier debuts in Boise and Twin Falls, Idaho; Phoenix; and Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado. In Denver, Evoca became a new option to carry Altitude TV, a regional sports network carrying the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche that has yet to notch a new carriage deal with Comcast, the area's incumbent cable operator, and Dish Network.

ATSC 3.0 emerging as a new distribution channel

Evoca has emerged as a novel way to take advantage of ATSC 3.0, a new IP-based broadcast TV signaling standard that is being branded as "NextGen TV." Evoca's service uses a new class of receivers that capture both digital, over-the-air TV signals and Internet-delivered streams and then stitch them into a unified on-screen guide.

Todd Achilles, Evoca's president and CEO, has said that the service aspires to go national, previously identifying potential expansion targets such as Montana, Utah, Nevada, Texas and Oklahoma.

Evoca timed the launch announcement in Traverse City in line with this week's NAB Show in Las Vegas, where ATSC 3.0 has been a primary topic of discussion.

Local broadcasters are starting to turn to ATSC 3.0 as a new, more capable distribution path to deliver their primary broadcasts as well as ancillary content.

"We view this exciting partnership as a way to control our own distribution and not solely rely on partners that may or may not want to distribute our local content," Pete Iacobelli, CEO of Heritage Broadcasting, said in a statement, noting that "streaming is a key business strategy" for the broadcaster.

ATSC 3.0 also supports the 4K/HDR formats and enhanced audio. The use of software platforms, such as a recently released platform called RUN3TV, can be used to develop and deploy advanced/interactive advertising apps, weather widgets and on-demand video.

Pearl TV, a consortium of broadcasters that doesn't include Heritage, expects to extend ATSC 3.0 coverage to 82% of all US households by the end of 2022. About 70 TV models from Samsung, Sony and LG Electronics support ASTC 3.0 today, with Hisense also on board to build TV sets using the new standard. More than 100 TV models are expected to support ATSC 3.0 by later this year.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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