WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Pearl TV, a TV broadcast business organization comprised of eight companies that operate local TV stations, today welcomed Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SBGI) as the organization's ninth member, a move that boosts the reach of Pearl-member stations to nearly half of all broadcast television stations in the United States. Sinclair joins Cox Media Group, Graham Media Group, Gray Television, Hearst Television Inc., Meredith Local Media Group, Nexstar Media Group, the E.W. Scripps Company, and TEGNA, Inc. as a Pearl TV member, bringing the station count of Pearl membership to more than 750 stations.
"We are very pleased that Sinclair is joining Pearl TV in commercialization efforts to offer consumers the new NEXTGEN TV services across the country. The entire broadcast industry, including the TV networks and a large cross section of group owners, is committed to a successful roll out of ATSC 3.0. This remarkable new technology gives broadcasters the ability to deliver to viewers the compelling benefits of NEXTGEN TV – greatly enhanced video and audio that allows local stations to bring together over-the-air with over-the-top content," said Pearl TV Managing Director Anne Schelle. Pearl is coordinating 11 local broadcasters that are working together in Arizona's Phoenix Model Market, which is incubating the new TV services and testing with consumers.
NEXTGEN TV Models Coming Soon, Research Confirms Consumer Interest
Broadcasters working on the transition to NEXTGEN TV are very pleased with the plans announced last month by LG Electronics, Samsung, and Sony to launch 20 new NEXTGEN TV-enabled television models in 2020. These will be the first consumer NEXTGEN TV receivers to be introduced in the U.S. market, as broadcasters light up NEXTGEN TV signals in more and more cities.
The latest consumer research to come out of the Phoenix, Arizona Model Market confirms very high interest in the new TV technology as consumers look for the next big development that can deliver even better audio and video to the home. Magid research completed at the fourth quarter of 2019 shows key NEXTGEN TV features that strike a chord with consumers:
- Consistent audio – This normalizes audio levels to minimize the difference in volume between programs so viewers don't have to reach for the remote and manually adjust the volume.
- 4K HDR video – 4K technology provides sharper images, while high dynamic range (HDR) technology can provide a wider range of contrast between light and dark images on the screen. Together they create a more realistic experience to make viewers feel more immersed in the show they are watching.
- Immersive audio – This is "movie theater-like" surround sound through the TV or a soundbar (no additional speakers required) to bring greater realism to the soundtrack and place the listener inside the scene.
- Multiple audio tracks – Whether it's choosing the home or away team's feed, a comedic track, a different language, no commentary altogether for a sports game, or choosing dialogue options for children or adults for an educational show, this audio feature will allow consumers to choose between different audio tracks to best suit individual needs and preferences.
The launch of NEXTGEN TV, powered by ATSC 3.0, will greatly enhance over-the-air services for viewers, while bringing together broadcast and broadband functionality to give audiences more content and choice. NEXTGEN TV also provides groundbreaking opportunities for TV broadcasters interested in offering new features and serving new markets. Deployment of the new broadcast technology will provide information and entertainment to ATSC 3.0-equipped television receivers, to automobiles, and to other digital and mobile consumer devices.
Subject to final engineering and required approvals, consents and FCC license modifications, the participating broadcasters have identified the first stations that will convert to NEXTGEN TV service in this rollout. Primary broadcast programming currently broadcast on the stations slated for upgrade will be hosted by other stations in their respective markets.