Cable Tech

Broadcasters place 'NextGen TV' bet in Las Vegas

Following a delay caused by the pandemic, a set of major US broadcasters have lit up ATSC 3.0-powered signals in Las Vegas as the industry pushes ahead with its self-branded "NextGen TV" initiative.

Those three broadcasters – Sinclair Broadcast Group, Nexstar Media Group and The E.W. Scripps Company – announced today that the following four affiliate stations have begun to broadcast on the new ATSC 3.0 standard: KSNV(Sinclair/NBC), KVCW (Sinclair/The CW), KLAS (Nexstar/CBS) and KTNV (Scripps/ABC).

The trio of broadcasters said the launch marks the nation's first full-power, multi-station commercial deployment of ATSC 3.0/NextGen TV. BitPath (formerly SpectrumCo) is developing the new data broadcasting services in Las Vegas and led the planning and coordination between Sinclair, Nexstar and Scripps.

"We look forward to cooperating with other broadcasters to roll out this new technology across the country," Perry Sook, chairman and CEO of Nexstar, said in a statement.

The launch of the IP-based standard in Las Vegas will also lay the foundation for a wide range of services and apps that can be delivered on ATSC 3.0-compatible TVs, including 4K TV and immersive audio, interactive TV, video-on-demand, targeted advertising and even multichannel pay-TV services.

Meanwhile, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr has billed ATSC 3.0 as a "broadcast Internet" platform that could support high-speed jome Internet service and play a role in areas such as autonomous vehicles, IoT, smart agriculture and telemedicine. The FCC is set to vote next month on new rules that could spur deployment of ATSC 3.0 by clarifying that old TV station ownership regulations would not apply to leasing arrangements between broadcasters and third parties for the provision of Broadcast Internet services.

At this stage of the game, three major TV makers – Samsung, LG Electronics and Sony Electronics – have ATSC 3.0-based products already launched or on the way. About 20 TV models from that set of manufactures bearing the NextGen TV logo are expected to hit the retail market this year. Because ATSC 3.0 is IP-based, the broader plan is to deliver those signals beyond the TV and reach a wide range of mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops.

In concert with the ATSC 3.0 launches in Las Vegas, the Advanced Television Systems Committee today released a Spring 2020 progress report on the new standard, noting that similar broadcasts are currently underway in markets such as Phoenix; Boise, Idaho; Santa Barbara, California; Dallas; and Orlando, Florida, with launches on tap for Portland, Oregon; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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