NBCU tunes in 'NextGenTV'

NBCUniversal is placing a big bet on ATSC 3.0, the new broadcast signaling standard known as 'NextGenTV.' NBCU is using the platform to roll out 'personalized' apps, including weather alerts and a way to restart shows in progress.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

April 16, 2024

2 Min Read
NBC restart capability on an ATSC 3.0 signal.
NBCU's ATSC 3.0-based features include an app that enables viewers to restart select programs already in progress. (Source: NBCU)

NBCUniversal has taken the wraps off of a new "personalized" TV experience that rides ATSC 3.0, the IP-based, next-generation broadcast signaling standard that has quickly become a major theme at this week's NAB show in Las Vegas.

NBCU's new capabilities will initially launch via NBC and Telemundo-owned over-the-air TV stations in four markets: New York (NBC 4/WNBC and Telemundo 47/WNJU); Los Angeles (NBC4/KNBC); Philadelphia (NBC 5/WCAU); and Miami (NBC6/WTVJ and Telemundo 51/WSCV).

Additional NBC- and Telemundo-owned stations will deploy the new ATSC 3.0-powered applications "soon" in several major media markets, NBCU said.

Launched in partnership with Fincons, East Live (part of Evertz) and Pearl TV (a consortium of US broadcast station groups), NBCU's new NextGenTV offerings will include the ability to restart some programs already in progress, localized elements from NBC's "Today" show and access to personalized weather information (including radar, forecasts and meteorologist reports) and public safety alerts from FEMA Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and The Weather Channel.

(Source: NBCU) NBC Today Weather page delivered on an ATSC 3.0 signal.

NBCU's new offering, delivered free over-the-air, will also provide on-demand access to video clips, full episodes and "alternative" programming from NBC's and Telemundo's local and national news, sports and entertainment shows and events.

Moving beyond ATSC 1.0

NBCU added that the deployment will also provide near real-time access to viewer and program metrics, a capability that is not supported by legacy broadcast signals.

NBCU's deployment arrives as US broadcasters continue to gravitate to ATSC 3.0, a successor to ATSC 1.0, enabling new features and capabilities such as 4K, enhanced audio and advanced advertising.

Some broadcasters, including Sinclair, are also tapping into the ATSC 3.0 platform to underpin datacasting services that aim to reduce the stress on traditional Internet and mobile networks. Additionally, broadcasters tied into the Pearl TV consortium have teamed with ROXi to roll out interactive music and news channels. Pearl TV's members include Cox Media Group, Graham Media Group, Gray Television, Hearst Television Inc., Nexstar Media Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group, the E.W. Scripps Company and TEGNA Inc.

The broader strategic thrust of ATSC 3.0/NextGen TV is to help broadcasters stay relevant in the streaming era by delivering enhanced, IP-based content to televisions, set-tops, mobile devices and even connected cars outfitted with ATSC 3.0 receivers. The move is also intended to help broadcasters supplement a challenged broadcast TV advertising market with connected TV ad models.

US broadcasters estimate that ATSC 3.0 has been rolled out to more than 70 markets and about 75% of US TV households.

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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